The Light Of Christmas

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny, then a ha’penny will do;
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God Bless you.

Children sing cheerfully and grown-ups count down the days excitedly as snow falls softly from the skies, twinkling like starlight as it settles prettily, sprinkled like icing sugar upon the hard-frost ground. Good citizens stop to greet one another on the street with a smile and good wishes to you and your family, and God Bless You, so merry and bright.

Brighton At Christmas 2015 (1) Edited

Stop right there and slam on the breaks (ooops – been there, done that).  If this is what your run-up to Christmas is like, then I say, like the song, God Bless You, but mine is nothing like it.

For starters, never mind a goose, I’ve yet to make the mad dash to a certain supermarket this weekend to find the freshest, plumpest, free-range turkey I can grab find before they are sold out by noon.

And this is as unnerving as it is unnatural: forget the snow, what we have here in these tropical climes of south-west England are daffodils.  Yes, hundreds of them blooming in all their spring glory along verges as far as the eye can see.  This looks beautiful – in March.  But in early December? It’s wrong and I’m worried…

For some, it’s all a bit too much ~

Brighton At Christmas 2015 (4)

And as for people greeting one another happily, I’m all for wishing anyone a ‘Happy Christmas’, but if the postman knocks on my door (note: I didn’t say ‘knocks me up’) at the crack of dawn once more,  he can forget about getting any hint of a tip on Boxing Day.

Ahh…but I jest.  I love Christmas, I really do.  What keeps me going is that in all the craziness, I know that by Christmas Eve, what hasn’t been bought, wrapped, baked, decorated, signed, delivered, collected and thrown in the freezer is no longer my concern.

So long as by then I have my family gathered and a glass of bubbly in hand, then I’m happy and more than a little grateful.  What better gift can be bought?  None, absolutely none.

Maisy would agree ~

(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

As would Eddie, I’m sure (so long as he has plenty of treats) ~

(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

But I know this isn’t how it turns out for a lot of people; I know that Christmas can be a dark and lonely time for some.  I’ve had my share of ‘bad’ Christmases, and I know how lonely it can be when your family is thousands of miles away, but I don’t know what it’s like to be homeless at any time, and especially at Christmas.

It’s comforting and humbling to know that charities like Crisis At Christmas exist, which, with a small donation, give so much to so many.

Whether it is the light of human kindness or that of the pale, winter’s sun warming up a stone wall in a church yard, a message of hope and beauty prevails:

(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

And whether the soft glow of candlelight flickering against the honey-coloured stone of a tiny village church at an evening carol service or the twinkling lights adorning the tallest of Christmas trees in an Abbey, their light shines for peace and calm.

Sherborne Abbey Dec 2014 (18)

A few days ago, already dark by four in the afternoon and traipsing back to my car loaded down with shopping bags containing exciting things like one or two presents and loo roll, bleach and foil (because what would Christmas be without plenty of foil?), it was the pretty street lights that cheered me and reminded of the reason for my manic and repeated trawls into town, which, at the best of times, I dislike.  Putting it mildy.

Last year,  I visited a Christmas Tree Festival and did so again last weekend.  The call of Christmas trees bedecked in shimmering fairy lights beckoned, and I was glad to snap a photo which also happened to include a bench or two for Jude for her December Bench Series challenge ~

Cheap Street Church, Sherborne, Dorset (c) Sherri Matthews 2015

Cheap Street Church, Sherborne, Dorset (c) Sherri Matthews 2015

Although this bench at Forde Abbey is more unusual and thought I’d add it in for good measure ~

(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

Each tree at the festival bears decorations hand-made by local community groups with donations from visitors going to a chosen charity, which this year is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).  Countless souls have been rescued by the many volunteers in the RNLI who brave the wild seas surrounding these British Isles; more than a few have tragically lost their lives in return.

One look inside this delightful little church at Christmas time makes any dark day shine a little brighter ~

Christmas Tree Festival Sherborne 2015 (11) Edited

Speaking of Christmas trees, having discovered that they, as well as pumpkins, grow at the Pumpkin Farm , I returned with hubby and Aspie D to collect ours, freshly cut, a couple of weeks ago.

Things looked a bit different this time, all the pumpkins long gone, the seasons transitioning one to another ~

Christmas Tree Farm Nov 2015 (14)

But just behind the now empty patch, rows and rows of beautiful Christmas trees, ready and waiting for eager families to take home and decorate.  For every tree cut down, six more are planted ~

Here’s hubby tagging ours back in November ~

Christmas Tree Farm Nov 2015 (3)

And here it is now, all dressed up ~

Christmas Tree

For as long as I can remember, we’ve always put a star on top of our tree, and this year, I’m sharing this photo as part of Hugh’s Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge for which he hopes to raise £250 for The Dogs Trust.

This is my last post for 2015, but I’ll be hovering for the next couple of days and then I’ll disappear until January. Meanwhile, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a New Year bringing hope, joy and peace.

A time to celebrate, a time to look up into the skies for a shining star that tells the story of the true Light of Christmas.

(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

Happy Christmas and see you in 2016!  Love Sherri xxx

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Bench Photos, Christmas, Family Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

111 Responses to The Light Of Christmas

  1. Amy says:

    I love your Christmas post, Sherri! Beautiful Christmas and ornaments. The candle display is festival. Happy Christmas to you, too. See you in 2016. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Beautiful post, Sherri. I hope you’re able to slow down and enjoy the holiday season. This year, I made a choice not to get stressed out and caught up in trying to do it all. It’s been wonderful so far.
    Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family. I do plan to respond to your email before 2016! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherri says:

      You’ve made the right decision Jill, that’s the way it should be, as the run up to Christmas should be a time of joy, not getting all stressed out. I’ve had some cold-panic moments, I’ll admit, but like you, I’m determined not to let that steal all that’s so wonderful about this beautiful season 🙂 Thank you so much and a very Merry Christmas to you and DFD…and no worries on the email, we’ll be in touch, this year and next! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    • I did, too, Jill. 🙂 I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a lot of relaxation!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. rgemom says:

    Beautiful post, beautiful photos!! Love your tree – so pretty! Happy Christmas to you and yours!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Beautiful post Sherri, beautiful photos reminding me of Christmas in your part of the world. I would go to the 2pm Christmas Eve service at Canterbury Cathedral [just for the singing really] and come out to darkness an hour later, the shops still brightly lit but closing for the duration…… Last night I went for a twilight walk at 10 with Siddy – balmy air and a quiet pace to enjoy the evening air. Such different experiences ❤ Happy Christmas, see you on the other side 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherri says:

      There’s something quite magical about the kind of Christmas Eve you describe Pauline, and your twilight walk also sounds so calming and peaceful; different experiences indeed. Yes, see you on the other side, phew! Thank you so much, and a very Happy Christmas to you, Siddy and Orlando 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wonderful post, Sherri. Your tree looks really stunning and I love the star. Hubby did a grand job. All your photos made me smile, especially your two adorable cats. It’s a long time since I did a Christmas at home. We always seem to be away with family, and when we were in South Africa, my sister like to have it at her house. It seems strange not to be making fancy desserts every couple of weeks to take with us for Sunday lunch. 😕 I feel so sad for people who are lonely at Christmas. ‘Crisis at Christmas’ must perform such a great service. Bless them. Love the community Christmas trees in aid of RNLI. So pretty and for such a worthy cause. Your table centre piece is beautiful. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family, and I’m sure the New Year is going to bring many exciting times for you. *hugs* xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, what a lovely comment, thank you so much dear Sylvia, you are so kind. I really struggled to get this post out before signing off as I’m barely keeping my head above water, but actually it helped me take a deep breath and gain some measure of calm again, determined not to let all the ‘stress’ of the preparations ruin the joy of the season. Things change though don’t they? I understand so well your feelings, I missed my English family so much when I lived in CA. My in-laws came up from LA late Christmas Eve and then drove back at the crack of dawn on Boxing Day as I called it. It was all over and done with and I felt quite bereft as I was used to that long stretch between Christmas and New Year’s with family visits, back and forth with those desserts you mention, and I never got used to that, although we made our own traditions, one of which was I used to drive the kids down to the coast at Cambria to see the elephant seals on the beach and then have hot chocolate at the Lodge 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful time here when you arrive, a Christmas to remember 🙂 Happy Christmas to you and your family and yes, I hope that you’re right about the New Year…! Safe, happy travels to you Sylvia, and I look forward very much to catching up with all your adventures and wonderful photos in 2016. Big hugs back 🙂 xx

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Here in Canada we are also experiencing unusually mild weather for this time of year. No snow and it looks like a green Christmas according to the forecast.

    Beautiful tree Sherri and it’s great that you still pick out a fresh tree. I gave in and purchased an imitation tree a few years ago, but seeing yours brings back “pleasant” memories of freezing our hands and faces while we searched for the “right” tree. Wishing you and yours a Joyous Christmas!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherri says:

      It’s so wierd isn’t it? Everything is upside down…all my spring bulbs are already coming up 😦 No sign of a ‘proper’ cold winter, which I know a lot of people like, but it doesn’t seem right does it? Haha…yes, those were the days, ha!! So glad this brought back those happy tree-hunting memories for you! I had an imitation tree for some years, but went back to ‘real’ a few years ago, although in many ways, imitation is so much easier! Thank you Bev, and you too, have a truly wonderful Christmas and New Year and see you in 2016 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. dgkaye says:

    Thanks for this little Christmas journal Sherri. The tree is lovely, and I wish you a very happy and healthy new year and joyous holiday season. xo

    Liked by 3 people

  8. That was a lovely post Sherri. I can relate to the rushing around trying to get everything done before Christmas Eve! Your church looks absolutely stunning, both inside and out. You tree and decorations look beautiful too, I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas xxxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you so much Judy, I do love Christmas so much, despite all the mad rushing about beforehand! I hope you are on the downturn now, my lists have become sub and sub-sub lists, so that now I only have one…but even that leaves me panicking if I’m not careful!! And the very same to you and yours too, wishing you a very Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year…here’s to a prosperous writing-filled 2016 🙂 xxxx

      Liked by 2 people

  9. jennypellett says:

    Ah, Merry Christmas to you and your family, Sherri. I love that you go and choose your tree early and tag it – what a good idea – I don’t know anywhere around here that does that. I have bought mine – it’s a tiddler but in a nice red pot and waiting on the patio to be brought in this weekend and dressed.
    And what is it with the daffodils, eh? I saw a load of them dancing in the breeze in Guildford last weekend. Our seasons are getting very blurred – 16 degrees yesterday here – very weird.
    Here’s hoping for a bit of seasonal weather afore too long (although not, please, on Christmas Day as we are out in the car!
    Have a great holiday and see you in the New Year. Bye for now xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      You know Jenny, this was the first time we’ve tagged a tree since we moved back from California, I had no idea either until we discovered the pumpkin farm, it was such a thrill! Your sweet tree will be beautiful 🙂 I too hope that the turns more seasonal, at the appropriate time of course, this warm December weather is freaking me out 😮 Ah, thank you my friend, and happy safe travels to you and a wonderful Christmas and New year…looking forward to catching with you next year, if not before 🙂 xxx

      Like

  10. Annika Perry says:

    Hi Sherri, What a wonderful Christmas post, carrying us from the full mad Christmas panic, to its serene peace of lights, to your sweet cats, to the loneliness some endure at Christmas. I love your tree and I must admit this was the first year I have heard of beads on trees. My son’s friend asked me where the beads were (we don’t have any) and I asked what they meant. Now I can see for myself on your tree and I love them!! Absolutely brilliant that you can go and choose your own earlier in the year.

    I wish you a truly wonderful Christmas, filled with joy and peace. Once you’ve nabbed the turkey, got the rest of the shopping, enjoy the quiet and serenity of your home – or rather the joyful excited voices of your family. Warm wishes and hugs xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ah, thank you Annika, how lovely of you. I am still glowing from the heart-warming bask of your delightful post 🙂 Now that’s so interesting about the beads, as I have had mine since my days of living in California. We stopped putting tinsel on the tree (which was very 70s Britain!) long ago because of our cats who try to eat it – not good! I first learned of stringing popcorn and cranberries and gingerbread men on Christmas trees from an American friend, and I loved the look, very Americana, so I thought the beads were the next best thing! I didn’t realise that they had become popular here as your son’s friend suggests, shows how much attention I pay to such things! I’m sure your tree is just beautiful with or without them 🙂 Have a wonderful, joyful, peaceful Christmas too Annika, you and your lovely family. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some snow, but only when everyone is safely together. I’m so glad we met here, and I very much look forward to catching up with you in the New Year, but meanwhile, I send you the very same warm wishes and hugs right back 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Norah says:

    Hi Sherri, What a beautiful heartfelt post. It may feel like spring over there, but the snowflakes gently falling on your blog make it feel like a white Christmas to me.
    How I love the Christmas Tree Festival. I remember you sharing photos of your visit there last year. Was it really a year ago? It seems like last week. Your own Christmas tree looks amazing. I am envious of your living tree. I have often thought I would like a living tree but haven’t done so. I was thinking more of one in a pot to use each year, but I have no doubt that with my rusty thumb it wouldn’t last long enough to see more than one Christmas. When I was a child my dad used to go to the bush down the road and cut down a gum tree sapling. I love the smell of gum trees. It still reminds me of Christmas.
    Good on you for taking a break over the holiday season. I wish you a wonderful family time and hope to see you, refreshed, in 2016. I have very much enjoyed our chats throughout the year and look forward to more next year. Take care. Hugs and best wishes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ah Norah, how lovely of you, thank you! I do like the blog snow, I admit, makes me feel all wintery and Christmassy, even if the daffodils are already blooming…yikes!! Yes, I remember our chats about the Christmas Tree Festival from last year, and I was thinking about them as I wrote this post, I can’t believe where the time’s gone either. I love your story about the gum tree. I’m not sure what the smell would be like, for me it is the smell of pine, but yes, such smells are so evocative. We had a living tree for years and then went to imitation and now back to a fresh tree. It’s better now that we get a Nordmann Fir which has very little needle drop, which is what was always a hassle. One year though we had a tree which was brown and bare by Christmas Day…not good! I will be over to read your ‘Jolly Christmas Post’ as soon as I can, but thank you so much for your lovely Christmas wishes, and I wish the very same to you. It’s been lovely chatting with you, blogging side by side, and I so look forward to carrying on where we left off in 2016…you take too my friend, sending hugs and the very best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a New Year filled with every good thing 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        Thank you, Sherri. I don’t like the sound of a brown Christmas tree. It’s it supposed to signify the beginning, not the end, of life! 🙂
        Enjoy your lovely fresh Christmas tree this year. What a story you have about it. Best wishes. xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Yes, not nice to think about, and I don’t even like the idea of cutting down a live tree at all, but in this case, since it’s a ‘green’ industry that keeps giving back to the environment with the old one recycled to make compost for the new, it’s a good thing 🙂 Thank you again Norah, with Christmas just around the corner and my last catch up here for a while (and heading over to you), very best wishes to you once again 🙂 xx

        Like

  12. TanGental says:

    sherborne is looking mighty fine this year. The church especially jolly. And the garden is blooming as you say which feels cute and rather worrisome at the same time. We are resisting the urge to splurge this year having banned stuff in the present area, and insisted on sponsorships – hedgehogs and toilet twinning, that sort of thing – this year. And until the kids arrive, one this Friday the other next week, we will resist temptation for decorations and trees so we can do them all together. Have a lovely time of it, don’t under indulge and see you soon, no doubt a little closer to the planet’s surface than before the eating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      I love Sherborne, it’s perfect at Christmas time…even more if we had snow, or even a bit of frost…just a bit? What will happen to the blooms if we get a freeze? Strange weather for sure. Ahh…that sounds like a lovely idea. I’ve done similar…shhhh, don’t tell…sponsorship through the Dorset Wildlife Trust and Secret World (which does the fox, otter, badger, hedgehog and owl thing). What a great thing toilet twinning. Thanks Geoff, I’m sure you’ll hear the thud when I land, all bubbles dissipated and the turkey disappeared (although I do like to make a rather tasty ‘bone soup’ as the kids call it). I’ll think of you and your lovely family decorating together…wishing you a very Happy Christmas and New Year, and look forward to catching up with you soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. mvschulze says:

    You must have spent time of this beautiful piece, so much thought, and pondering before the big feast; Thank you so much for the view from abroad, and with these many comments, you deserve a award. Merry Christmas Sherri, your wanton to see, to you and as much to your sweet famillee>
    M 🙂 PS: I’ve never done poertry for obvious good reason , but will think of this post though this warm Christmas season. See you in 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Marty, thank you so much for your lovely comment and Christmas wishes, you’ve given me a huge smile 🙂 And I also send you and your lovely family a very Happy Christmas and New Year and I look forward to catching up with you in 2016, and taking in more of your wonderful travels and photos. Take care 🙂

      Like

  14. Heyjude says:

    What a lovely Christmassy post Sherri, love the church (with the benches) and the trees, that must be so nice to go and see. I haven’t had a tree for years now, but I remember with joy decorating them with the children once they had finished school for Christmas. And the smell of pine! Maybe next year I shall have room for one again (though I have given all the family traditional baubles etc to my daughter). Perhaps a driftwood tree may be more appropriate?
    Have fun with the family, eat, drink and be merry and I shall see you in 2016 🙂
    Jude xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Jude, I’m so glad you enjoyed the bench photos, I thought of you when I took that photo 🙂 The little church is really a delight, Sherborne itself is a lovely place to visit, you’d love it, especially at Christmas. Ahh…those wonderful family memories, so precious…and I think a driftwood tree sounds deligthful, you can start a new tradition, with the smell of the sea instead 🙂 Thank you Jude, that is indeed the plan, ha!, and I send the very same wishes to you my friend, for a very Happy Christmas and New Year and look forward to catching up next year 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Merry Christmas to you and your family Sherri! I chuckled when I read about your “manic visits into town” because I often feel the same way this time of year. I would avoid the shopping mall like the plague if I could afford to. I agree that it’s the little moments of serenity that center us and bring us back into the moment. Your Christmas Tree Festival looked like a wonderful event, how fun! Your tree is beautiful and I hope that you enjoy Christmas gathered around it with the ones that you love 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Heather, and a very Merry Christmas to you too! Not long now…and I hope you’ve managed to keep well away from the malls with all your shopping complete. Mine is, just the wrapping to do, and then all the food prep. Have a wonderful time with your lovely hubby and family, sending joy-filled and peaceful wishes to you for Christmas and the New Year, and I’ll see you soon in 2016 🙂

      Like

  16. restlessjo says:

    Ah, Sherri- you say it all so beautifully! I don’t feel the need to write a Christmas post now. I can just re-read yours and imagine you sitting beside that tree with your boys. Sadly there will be people for whom Christmas is a time to be endured. Let’s treasure ours. I know you will!
    Wishing peace and joy to you and yours, Sherri. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ah, thanks Jo! I need to quickly head over to you though before signing off, this is the first time I’ve been able to get to my blog since last Thursday…hence the very late replies. It is so sad for some, and we have so very much to be thankful for. Bless you Jo, peace and joy to you and your family for a very Happy Christmas and New Year. See you in 2016! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Tom Merriman says:

    Merry Christmas, Sherri, and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family. 🎄🎁❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Foil comes in handy if you run out of wrapping paper….Thanks, Sherrie for all your support over the years. Wishing you a wonderful end to 2015 and the Happiest of New Years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…it certainly does! Ah…thank you so much my friend, and I would say the very same to you. You’ve taken me on some wonderftul travels and I look forward to many more. Happy Christmas and New Year wishes to you too, and see you in 2016! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Lovely post Sherri. Glad you have put out a reminder that not all Christmas’s are the fun family occasion and I’ll have to check out the charity Xmas Tree topper challenge. I didn’t put a star at the top of my tree this year but perhaps that can be changed. I know what you mean about the rushing round but you are right – come Xmas Eve sit back and just enjoy. I hope you have a nice break and that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, A very happy new year and look forward to our walks again in January. HAPPY XMAS! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Luanne says:

    Christmas trees and church. haha. I am the one looking at how cute the kitty cats are!!! Turkeys, really? I had no idea that turkeys were so commonplace in England. I thought they were kind of an American bird. And then a classmate when I was in the writing classes wrote about trying to create a Thanksgiving meal in, I think it was, Belgium, and it was as if she was creating it on the moon, so I got the idea that Europe doesn’t really do turkey (or cranberries). What gives?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…of course! I did think of you with the kitty pics, can’t think why LOL 😀 Ha, that’s funny, turkey is the British tradition for Christmas Day, always has been, with cold turkey and ham the next day, Boxing Day. It might be different on the continent (we do things differently in Britain than in the rest of Europe, different traditions, food etc.) Maybe they do beef or ham. And we do cranberry sauce too, I’ve even made my own now and then..but not this year 😉 Interesting though isn’t it the things we pick up and then are left wondering about…what gives indeed! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year Luanne, see you in 2016… xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne says:

        Wait, I’ve read Dickens. I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to be having Christmas goose!!! Cranberry sauce, too? That is amazing. I thought that was such an American meal. Yikes. Enjoy your Christmas and New Year and i hope you have your family around you!! xoxo

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Ah, now that’s an excellent point! I was sure that Scrooge got a turkey for the Cratchet family, so I googled it, ha! And yes, we’re both right, goose was for poorer families, hence the song at the start of this post, and turkey for the wealthier set, but for some generations it’s been the bird of choice here for Christmas. It’s funny as goose is still available but it’s not cheap anymore! Neither is turkey, thinking of it, yikes! I think we had goose once when I was growing up, but it was so full of fat and such little meat for the price that we never did it again. Another traditional side dish we have here is bread sauce, essentially breadcrumbs, cream, cloves and fresh nutmeg, served hot. Yummy! Thanks Luanne, I will indeed and hope you do too! xoxo

        Like

  22. I loved everything about this post, Sherri, but I’m still laughing at one thing.
    When I was almost 20, as a college English major (and English Lit.) I traveled to England for a class. I was worn out with jet lag when I went to check in at a little inn, and there was a quarreling couple ahead of me, arguing about the view from their room. I was nearly asleep on my feet when it was finally my turn to sign in. This charming young man behind the desk handed me my key and asked pleasantly, “And what time would you like to be knocked up?”
    I was standing there, stunned, trying to think of an answer, when the lady behind me whispered that he was asking what time I wanted something to knock on my door and awaken me the next morning. I didn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…oh I love this story Marylin! I’m so glad the lady behind you was able to explain what he meant…giving you time to decide what to say, yikes!!! 😉 Wishing you and your lovely family a truly wonderful Christmas and New Year filled with the brightest of blessings…and I’ll be letting you know how the Eggs A’la Goldenrod turn out, I plan to serve them on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas…can’t wait!! 🙂

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  23. Hi Sherri, thank you very much for participating in my Christmas Tree Topper challenge in aid of The Dogs Trust. By participating in the challenge you have helped us get nearer our target and have helped give a homeless dog a meal. It may even help us give some of the homeless dogs new loving homes.

    Your Christmas tree looks spectacular. It is so very well decorated and your shining star has pride of place. I love the Christmas Tree Festival and think it a wonderful idea. I’ve not seen one myself, but it has given me an idea for next year 🎄

    I’ve still got a few more things to do before Christmas (like taking advantage of the early sales) but by the time Christmas Eve comes I’ll hope also to be sat with the family with a glass of bubbly (or two) in hand.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas
    Seasons greeting from Wales
    Hugh 🎅
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Hugh, I am at last getting a chance to reply to you, I’ve been away from blogging since Thursday, although I’m not complaining at the mad social whirl of late, but it all came at once, ha!! I’m delighted to take part, thank you so much for running such a wonderful donation opportunity for such a worthy cause. Ah…thanks about the tree, most of the decorations I’ve had for many years since the kids were small, some home made, others with special meaning behind them, some shop bought, others collectibles over the years. I wonder sometimes if I need to change and give the tree a whole new makeover, but somehow that wouldn’t feel right 😉 I hope that by now you are well caught up with everything, I’m on my way, still a fair bit to do, but looking forward to that Christmas Eve gathering and glass of bubbly…we can share a cheer when that moment comes 🙂 Thank you for your lovely wishes, and likewise I send you from me and mine in Somerset to you and yours in Wales a very Happy Christmas and New Year with the brightest of wishes, and look forward to seeing you in 2016 🙂 ⭐ 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Dearest Sherri, what a lovely post. I’m afraid I haven’t put up any decorations or done anything much about Christmas yet. But as I said to one of my friends on Facebook this morning, humans weren’t born with tails, so why spend their time chasing a tail they don’t have! That being said, I booked my grocery order with Ocado back in November, so my plump free-range turkey should be arriving on Tuesday without me having to fight any crowds.
    Will email you soon. Hope the card I sent you arrived okay. xxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Dearest Sarah, I so appreciate you taking the time to even read this post and leave your lovely message, as I know how much you have to do. I love your analogy, so very true, and I shall remember that!!! Like now, ha, after feeling like a headless chicken 😉 You are so wise with ordering your turkey, I’ve not used Ocado before but have seriously considered it several times. I think you’ve just pursuaded me!!! Will have to bend your ear on that, as with so many things! Don’t worry about emailing, I’ve send you a quick one just to apologise for my awful delay and absence of late…so you do what you need to do and we’ll be in touch over Christmas one way or another. At least by tomorrow we’ll both have nice plump turkeys ready to go! xxxxxxx

      Like

      • Dearest Sherri, your card arrived today. Thank you 🙂 I’ve tried home delivery from all the supermarkets, but Ocado is way the best with their wideness of product choice, plus their efficiency. Their stuff is always fresh as it comes straight from their warehouse to the door, cutting out the middle man. And they have one-hour delivery slots. And yes, we’ll be in touch over Christmas. My to-do list this week is shorter than last week but still may not be do-able. My singing voice is crud still and I have my cough back, which isn’t helpful. Thankfully, I’m not feeling ill. Not doing enough book promotion but have made quite a few sales without. Lots of love to you xxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Lovely post and lovely photos, Sherri, for such a lovely time of year. I wish you and your loved ones a beautiful Christmas too. See you in 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Pingback: Bench series #51 | TRAVEL WORDS

  27. Annecdotist says:

    A lovely multifaceted post, Sherri. Here’s wishing you a lovely Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Anne, and very best wishes to you too for Christmas and the New Year. I look forward to catching up with you properly over at your pad once I’m up and running again…meanwhile, take care and again, thank you so much for your wonderful guest post and fantastic discussion, it’s been great!

      Like

  28. Beautiful Christmas preparations.
    Merry Christmas to YOU and ALL at Home.
    Shiva

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Aw, Sherri it is so wonderful to see your beautiful face and to read your always lovely words! Daffodils in December is so wrong! I want snow dammit! Your decorations are beautiful, but I would expect nothing less from you. I truly miss you, but I have to stay in my “book writing world” until it’s done. I popped in for my annual Angelversary post. I just had to stop by to wish you a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year to you and yours, my dear. One day we will share a glass of bubbly! ❤ Love you! ~Karen~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ah, dear Karen, how wonderful to hear from you, what a lovely early Christmas present, I’ve missed you too! I took a six week break in the summer to complete my first draft (three years to that point, with long gaps inbetween) and am now editing and revising, but have had to put it aside these past few weeks…all that to say, I understand your ‘book writing world’ completely, and I do hope your writing is going well. I need to re-enter that world and plan to in the new year. Thank you so much for your lovely Christmas and New Year wishes, and I wish you the very same. Sending love, hugs, peace and joy and here’s to that long-promised sharing of bubbly, sharing in celebration of the completion of our books 🙂 And let’s hope for snow…I don’t want to see another Daffodil until the spring!!!! 😮 😉 ❤

      Like

  30. Lovely thoughts you have here, Sherri, as well as wonderful photos! I hope you have a very nice Christmas with your family. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Sherri this was beautiful, from your descriptive words to all the photos, simply lovely! You brought Christmas to life for us in our little motel room in the Sierra foothills. There has been 6″ of rain since we’ve been here and snow expected for Christmas Eve and Christmas! So many smiling faces here in drought stricken California. Love and miss you as much as ever! Merry Christmas to you and yours my friend. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh dearest Diane, you make my heart sing! I love that you can read this from your Sierra Foothills…ahh, such happy memories for us both. And snow for you..wow! That’s fantastic for the rain too, we’ve had a deluge of it here but still so mild…I wonder if we’ll even get a frost!! But so happy for your smiles, it’s just what you need there, an end to the drought I so hope. Love and miss you as much as always…and thinking of you especially today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!! Messages winding their way to you dear friend…meet you there! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

  32. Pat says:

    Sherri — by now you’re probably really settling in with a glass of bubbly and getting cozy for your home Christmas celebrations. I hope the weather has turned more festive and you’re getting a little snow like we are here in the Colorado Rockies.

    The photos are lovely and capture the spirit of Christmas in the holly, churches, candles and your Christmas tree.

    May you and your family have a blessed Christmas full of love and joy and may the New Year bring new excitement, adventures and anticipation. God bless you. Hugs and love xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Dear Pat, I just wanted to quickly drop in to the Summerhouse to reply to your lovely message before setting down cozily, with still some last minute baking yet to do but almost there! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, and how wonderful for your snow…at least I have blog snow, ha! Still wet and stormy here, some sunshine, but no sign of even a frost. I hope so soon even though some would prefer not! I can just picture you in your beautiful home, so perfect for the season. Thank you so much, I send you and your family the happiest of Christmas and New Year wishes, with joy and peace and love and laughter and blessings in abundance. Love & hugs to you, and meanwhile, see you over on FB 🙂 ❤ xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pat says:

        Thank you, Sherri, and doing some last minute things here, too (painting pine cones for the girls).

        I’ve done a lot of my baking except for a couple of pumpkin rolls for our daughters the day after Christmas.

        Got some housecleaning and tidying up, hopefully, before the grandsons come up for a couple of days. It’s all good and, somehow, it magically gets done..

        Love and hugs to you, my friend, and may God bless you and your family this Christmas and for the New Year. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  33. Ste J says:

    Ah, sorry I missed you my friend, in cas you are reading this, I hope you have a very awesome Christmas and New Years and that all your days are happy and lazy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Ste, I just dropped by to read your lovely message! Thank you so much for your lovely wishes, and a very Happy Christmas and New Year to you too…happy and lazy sounds wonderful, I hope you enjoy just the same! I raise a glass and bring Christmas cheer to you my friend and look forward to catching up with you in 2016! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Ali Isaac says:

    A beautiful, thoughtful, humorous, sensitive thought provoking post, as always, Sherri. I hope you have a really lovely Christmas break. And your special tree looks lovely! 😊 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ah, thank you so much Ali, yours is beautiful too! Have a very Happy Christmas and wonderfully relaxing, joy-filled time with your lovely family, and here’s to a New Year filled with every good thing…see you in 2016! xxx

      Like

  35. Charli Mills says:

    Oh, I just love the Abbey photos and your bedecked tree! Funny that your website provides the falling snow missing in England right now. We have snow but it’s barely cold enough to do so, just on the verge of rain. I spied a red fox on your tree! I love all the reds and beads you use. You nd the Hubby picked a beautiful tree. Enjoy your family and bubbly! Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…yes, no snow on the ground but at least I have blog snow! I love it, makes it more seasonal 🙂 I wonder if we are both in for a cold snap any time soon…but at least you have some of the white stuff, not too much of a problem for you though I hope. I need to get over my romantic notion of snow! Yes, that is indeed a red fox! I have robins, an owl a bird’s nest, a hedgehog and a red squirrel too. Not that I like woodland creatures or anything, LOL 😀 Ahh…thanks, I’ve decorated our tree the same way for years, I do like the tradition of it all and getting out all the old homemade decs…most from the kids 🙂 I’ll raise a glass of bubbly to you this evening my dear friend…cheers and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours, with lots of love and big Christmas hugs! ❤ xo

      Like

  36. Luanne says:

    Sherri, so much to comment on here. More than this overfull brain can handle right now haha! But that bespoke tailors photo. hahahaha Omigoodness. I can’t get it out of my mind.
    And might I just elaborate a bit on the “not goose” bit. I TOLD YOU. Yes, goose is English. Right, I am an American telling an English girl that goose is American. But I have read many many English novels and they always enjoy a nice goose at Christmas hahaha. And in the morning a “rasher of bacon,” which for the longest time I thought meant a whole platter of bacon ;). Oh my, reading has brought me a universe full of stereotypes!!! Your tree and decorations are beautiful. I wish I could pop in and give you a Christmas hug. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Denise says:

    I remember the Christmas tree festival from last year! You take such memorable photos, and here is another set today.
    Also some very worthwhile sentiments. I am very conscious of seeing so many more homeless people on the streets over the last year or so, and feel bad every time I walk past one, so it is good to be reminded of Crisis At Christmas, which I have just made a donation to.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Denise, I hope you and your LDs had the most wonderful Christmas! I’m popping in to the Summerhouse briefly before returning ‘proper’, and what a lovely treat to read your message. I’m glad you remembered the Christmas Tree Festival and enjoyed a few from this year too 🙂 Yes, I know what you mean, last time in Brighton walking past the theatre it was sobering to see a custom-painted Jag worth hundreds of thousands of pounds parked by the road while a group of homeless people slept, curled up in dirty blankets on the ground only a few feet away, and nobody battering an eyelid. Thank God for organisations like Crisis At Christmas… ❤

      Like

  38. Lovely snow pictures 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Maxima says:

    Wishing you a Happy New Year with the hope that you will have many blessings in the year to come!!!With love Maxima

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Maxima, how lovely to return to the Summerhouse only to read your lovely message, thank you so much! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you too a Happy New Year filled with every blessing. Love right back to you! 🙂

      Like

  40. Happy New Year Sherri…and I want to thank you especially for introducing Hugh Roberts of http://www.hughsviewsandnews.wordpress.com to my blog. Hugh invited me to be his guest blogger for the month of January! And I have you to thank for it! You are an angel! Happy New Year…may you experience abundance in all areas of your life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Happy New Year Bev! How lovely to return to the Summerhouse and read your great message, I’m so thrilled that Hugh invited you as his guest blogger for January, I’ll head over there now. I’m slow in getting started since Christmas (have yet to post for the new year…yikes…) but I will be doing my best to get in the swing of things asap. Thank you so much for your support of my blog this past year, it’s a pleasure knowing you. I hope 2016 brings you nothing but the best of everything. Hugs 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Lovely post Sherri! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy a Blessed and and Inspiring New Year! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I was a bit like a Christmas character this year–Scrooge–bah humbug. LOL. Tired, overscheduled, stressed–I didn’t do the huge tree I normally erect, but ordered a grouping of Alpines and tossed on some lights and birds–no ornaments being dragged out of storage. Trying to center myself for the new year and new opportunities. Wow. Bet you’re glad I stopped by to leave a bright and cheery comment. Yikes. Happy New Year Sherri. Hope it is super fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Renee, I understand, really I do, I know that feel so much. I was very stressed in the run up to Christmas and look, here I am it’s January 5th and still I haven’t put up a new year post. I’m so slow in trying to get back on track. Sometimes we can only do what we can and your grouping of Alpines sounds delightful 🙂 All the Christmas decorations are now back in the loft and like you, I’m trying to gear up for the new year as I return to the revisions on my memoir, while getting behind the scenes ‘stuff’ sorted out. The lists continue! Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope to get more up to date here shortly, haha!! Happy New Year to you too Renee, may it be a wonderful one for us both. I’ll catch up with asap…take care, big hugs… ❤ xoxo

      Like

  43. Pingback: Hugh’s Christmas Tree Topper Challenge In Aid Of The Dogs Trust #Charity – The Results | Hugh's Views & News

  44. In my addled mind I had commented on this post but obviously not! I did enjoy it so very much in December and glancing back through it again gives me pleasure. Our hectic, crazy and beloved Christmas! I am like a broken record but will say it again, I love all the photos. They capture so much of what you write and convey to us your readers! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  45. We’re done with Easter, heading towards summer and I’m just getting to your Christmas post lost in the shuffle. It was a lovely post and is putting me in the mood to get cracking on my next years gifts and projects. I swear someone put the universal time on race. Your post and photos of your holiday were so lovely I might go back to it next year for a refresher. Giant hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Aww…that’s so sweet of you Marlene, thank you! I feel like since Christmas I’ve been chasing my tail and then with my mother’s stroke thank goodness…but she is recovering well and I am now able to recover too, getting back into the flow of blogging and writing, albeit it very s.l.o.w.l.y. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post…you made me smile to think that it’s got you in the mood for your Christmas projects! Never too soon to start with those 🙂 I hope all is well with you , I’ll be over to catch up this week. Phew..what a time of it. Love & giant hugs right back to you my friend… xo

      Liked by 1 person

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