The day after Boxing Day, Jim G dropped by to give us two braces of Pheasant. The next day I breasted the Pheasant (simple do do, and let’s be frank, there is not much more on a Pheasant than the breasts). The remains were then cast out into the field for the Red Kites. Of course the Kites were no where to be seen. Some interest was initially shown by some Magpies and Rooks who gave the pheasants some exploratory pecks.
Eventually the Red Kites discovered them, and we had three different ones flying around. A Buzzard also found the Pheasant quite late on. (Only when I was looking at the pictures did I realise there was this interloper.) The Magpies and Rooks attempted to steal from the Buzzard and Kites. In one selection of photos you can see a Rook pulling the tail of a Kite, and then being chased off. The Rooks were a little more respectful of the Buzzard. Beautiful birds all of them, even the Rooks.
Phil and Selina came over for cheese fondue with pickles on Christmas Eve. Yes, tradition is still running. I can’t remember a time in the last 35 years when we have not had a cheese fondue for Christmas Eve. (Rosemary says the reason that we have it, is cos I had a fondue set when we first met and she thought it needed using, so we do, once a year). Very heavy rain overnight.
Christmas Day, Phil collected Julian for stockings, presents and Turkey Christmas lunch, followed by Turkey sandwiches in the evening. Julian won at Triominos.
The practice shoot was pretty well set up by Brian by the time I arrived. Being the last before Christmas we had mincepies and cake at the interval. Mincepies warmed in a microwave powered by a generator. Unfortunately, the rain came down for the second half of the shoot which was a three person flurry.
The ex-Walkerites met at John and Carol’s for a late lunch, Chicken liver pate, cheese stuffed Pepperdews, followed by BBQed turkey and rounded off with Bread & Butter pudding . For the record there were, John & Carol, Steve & Rosemary, Peter & Janet, Chris & Ann, Nigel & Barbara, Robin & Tessa plus Stuart & Greta. Goodness, not even Christmas yet & already feeling full!
I was up early to help load the traps for the League shoot, I also had to transport the batteries to the shoot. I immediately became stuck in the snow as I tried to get out of the garage. The combination of loose stone and snow was too much for the car. I phoned Jennifer to ask if her father Jim, could come by and pick up me and the batteries. I was told the shoot had been cancelled. So instead, I walked across the fields in a blizzard to pick up the newspapers. There was a lot of snow, very wet snow, which snapped several of the trees in KarIn’s and Duncan’s garden and hedge. Keith was soon on the job with his chain saw. We even had to shake the wet snow off the Bay Tree which was bending under the weight of the snow.
The path to the village shop was difficult to navigate, there is a section with trees that lean over it. This section was difficult to pass, so the trees were bent so much lower, I had to really stoop low to get through.
Some pictures of snow in our field and in the pub car park. This is really the only significant snow fall we have had since Christmas 2010.
Our annual Kingswood village Christmas dinner was again hosted by Ian and Julie. How they manage to quietly cater for 30 plus of us with no signs of stress is beyond me. It was a lovely evening out with the various friends in the village. The weather was cold walking there and back, but dry. Snow forecast for tonight.
Instead of visiting Waddesdon for a Christmas spectacle, we decided to visit Mottisfont. There was a special Kaffe Fassett display on, so Rosemary was interested in going. We would also get to see the house dressed for Christmas.
We arrived and headed straight to the house to see the exhibition and house dressing. Not quite to the scale of Waddesdon Manor, but still very good to look at. The Kaffe Fassett show covered four rooms and had a lovely embroidered chair, pullovers and lots of patchwork quilts. Incredible work, though you could see the work was done at speed and not always finished neatly.
We stopped for lunch in the stables, and then we went on a guided wetlands nature walk. It takes you through wetland woods areas where you are not allowed on your own . We learned that peat was dug here, and that lakes and navigation were also built to get the stone close to the construction site of the original Mottisfont abbey.
There was not much to be seen in the gloom of a cloudy dismal winter day, excepting that two kingfishers were spotted flying along the dykes.
We also learnt that the river fishing rights were owned by the National Trust, and that this is one of the most expensive trout fishing river in the UK, the River Test. The art of the dry fly tying was realised here. We saw some trout who became very active when some food was fed to them.