Monday, December 19, 2011

One Midwinter Day

These dark Winter mornings have been keeping us in bed later each day.  When the light begins to creep round the edges of the blinds, the morning is  already well underway.  Time to dig out the alarm clock and try to get a bit of an earlier start made to the day.  James usually creeps through at some point in the night and is cosily snuggled between us, deeply asleep. I creep out from under the warm duvet and pad through to the dark kitchen.

I wait sleepily for the kettle to boil for that first magical restorative cup of tea-  I have left the oats to soak overnight for our breakfast porridge, so they will cook quickly when we are ready.

Enjoying the warmth from the cup in my hands, I make my way to the living room, and nestle on the couch, drinking my tea and thinking about the day ahead.  I make a list of tasks for the week, and decide which ones I will attempt to achieve today.  I never get through these list, but I like to write them anyway.  It does help bring some focus to the day.

The moon is still shining brightly in the Western sky. I stand at the door for a moment, feeling the frost creeping through my pyjamas and marvel once again at it's silver beauty.

Then the rest of the family awaken, and the house begins to come to life.

The dawn breaks at around 9.15 am, flooding the sky with a golden light.  

In these short days, the sun stays close to the horizon, and the sea-loch reflects the pink of the sky, bathing everything in a rosy glow.

This morning, I have a ham to cure and some cooking to be done for later. James is at a Christmas party in a village some way up the coast with the Croileagan - they have gone in the local mini-bus.  I have lots of time to myself then - what else can I cross off that list?  As the morning wears on, though,  and the dishes pile up in the sink, the call of the outdoors begins to whisper and then shout.  It is a glorious blue Midwinter's day...

Abandoning the dirty dishes and the unswept floor, I head off to pick James up at the end of the party.  A rainbow is reflected in the loch as I drive along.

James is having a good time at the party.  I arrive just as he is receiving his gift from "Santa", who besides his traditional red suit also seems to be wearing some very dark sunglasses. James confides that it is not the real Santa, but only someone dressed up. (One of the fathers or grandfathers perhaps - hence the dark glasses?) I suggest a picnic lunch, instead of a trip home on the bus, and he readily agrees.

We stop on the way down at this wonderful little deli, based on one of the crofts. Real food can be found in some surprising places.  We order sandwiches cut from a boule of onion seed bread. I have smoked venison and carmelised onion, and James opts for ham and roasted tomato relish. All home produced and local.  A hot tea for me, water for J and a chocolate and raspberry cake and we are good to go. 
 We are heading.... the beach! 

 And - breathe. 

This is one of James's favourite beaches, as he likes the shiny shells he sometimes finds here.  No shells today, but lots of  pebbles.  After our delicious lunch, he starts off, looking for the most beautiful stones he can find - and he finds lots - each one more fabulous than the last, and all are exclaimed over and examined in great detail, before being carefully placed in the empty tea carton.

Time slips away and we stay for longer than we meant to.  We are cold, but so happy and refreshed as we bundle back into the car and wend our way home.

Already the light is beginning to fade, as the sun slips lower.

And it is time to feed the pigs before dark and begin those evening chores. Oh, yes - and the washing up is still there.  Well - it always is.  xx


  1. What a beautiful post...your posts never fail to make me smile..we went to the christmas concert at sgoil an rhuba tonight and it filled my heart with the magic of christmas!!..only 6 sleeps till santa!! we get a countdown first thing evey morning now!! its darker, and colder..but at the same time, with the fire roaring and family snuggled up the frost outside passes as quickly as it arrives :) ...lots of love for you and your family at christmas xxxxxx

  2. Oh thank you so much for painting your day out so artfully , indeed it is a window for us to peer into ! Here in California we are clueless to that decadent and nourishing northern light.

  3. what a lovely day.... and stunning photos as always!!

  4. What a joy it was to spend the day with you, I enjoyed it!
    Our sun is rising about 7:00 now and I am finding it harder and harder to crawl out of bed at 5:00.
    I love seeing your beach and really need to head to ours soon and breathe in that wonderful air.
    I hope James had a lovely time at the party!

  5. I love how you fit so much into your short daylight hours. Washing up is always there, even when it is done, someone suddenly finds a cup that needs washing, so good call going out for the day :)

    Love the reflected rainbow picture.

  6. Utterly gorgeous pictures, really moving and emotional. How very similar and very different your landscape is to ours here in Orkney. Enjoy the next few weeks. X

  7. Love your photos and glimpses of your day! Your list looks way longer than my list :)

  8. I'm very excited about finding your blog. I hope you will take a look at mine. It has been up and running for about 5 weeks. My farm is located on 10 acres in Texas, USA.
    Meggie Mac

  9. How lovely. My Sunday was spent ignoring the 'should's and instead hiking in the nearly winter woods. It was time well spent.

  10. beautiful.....

    I was headed to bed and decided to stop by and visit you (what's another 10-15minutes at this point..haha) I am just so glad I did. Something, parts...okay, everything about this post had a calming effect on me tonight. THANK YOU! You are such a you! Barefoot Mama

  11. oh my goodness jacqui, what a fantastic post. it is stunninly beautiful where you live, and i've enjoyed so much coming along with you today. and with a view like yours, i think i wouldn't mind doing the dishes at all.
    thank you very much for sharing.
    xox :)

  12. What a beautiful place you live in! And the "dawn" photo is amazing... I wish we had dawns like that, but we seem to be having only icy rain for weeks now.

  13. was so nice to spend a day with you, and with such a beautiful place to explore who cares if the washing up is left till the end of your mid-winter day.
    lily x

  14. So beautiful Jacqui. Thanks for sharing. Have you noticed how many blogs have giveaways just now and not much else, so boring. Its lovely to see some real life.

  15. Ah, how lovely to see all those sights and places which my heart is missing right now. The rest of the family are all up visiting the Island and my nana and papa just now, but not me. And I'm missing it. Thank you mama for sharing these, they make my heart happy.

    Naomi x

  16. Yes as you are in mid winter we are approaching mid summer though you would hardly notice. It is very unseasonal weather we are having here at the moment. Not that I mind too much as I am dreading the hot summers that we have had over the past few years,It sounds like a beautiful day you had.

  17. What a lovely day you had. James looks so cosy under the covers. And I love your jug cover. That has been my fall 2011 crochet project - jug covers.

  18. Jacqui,your photos take my breath away. I can feel the cold wind on my cheeks, and the warmth of the midday sun on my back. And the coziness of the covers of your bed! Lovely!

  19. What a beautiful day-ful!

    Looking forward to the Turn of the Year here, on the 22nd this year.
    Blessings Be
    x gz

  20. Your photos and words of your day are wonderful. I love having these peeks into your world, it looks fabulous to me. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  21. That was beautiful.
    The fist cup of tea is always the best isn't it.
    What a great idea to take James to the beach after the Christmas party...the picnic sounds amazing.
    Much love xxx

  22. your post moved me to almost breathlessness at times. the pictures of the sun coming up and going down are amazing but most of all, I love your philosophy of life. seize the moment and the dishes will wait. you are an inspiration! this has to be one of my favorite posts all year.

  23. Just beautiful, sitting at my desk at work I feel as though I have had a little holiday as I drink MY first cuppa of the day. My motto during these dark winter days is, if a job can be done in the dark, do it in the dark! These precious daylight hours are just too valuable...but it looks like you already know that. Thank you so much for sharing.

  24. What a lovely post! Thank you for taking us through your day. The photographs are stunning - especially the rainbow reflected in the loch. I'd say James is a VERY lucky boy to have such a childhood!

    Nollaig Chridheil dhuibh!

  25. Thank you for sharing, I loved it , like a beautiful Christmas card.

  26. That's quite a view from your kitchen window!!

  27. this looks like a pure dream to me.

    is the 40 degrees shop open every day? we are visiting Lewis and Harris next summer and its useful to know these things!?

  28. Hello peter Rabbit. It is open everyday apart from Sundays. Hope you enjoy your visit.

  29. many thanks, im sure we will; i have been twice before.

  30. A bit puzzled here as you said you drove to get your son but then suggested a picnic instead of a ride home on the bus!
    Are you making this up as you go along perhaps?

  31. Hi Anon - whoever you are. Not making it up, just maybe not explaining it well. The Croileagan children had gone to the party in a "big school bus" which was quite exciting for them. I drove up later to see Santa''s entrance and to hear the song they had been practicing, and asked him if he wanted to come back with me and we would stop for a picnic on the way instead of going back on the bus. The issue for me was that it was such a beautiful day I felt it was important to enjoy it as much as we could. Hope that answers your question - sorry for any confusion caused.


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