Weeks 15 and 15a
Sorry to go AWOL, I've been a bit busy.
To begin at the beginning. Week 15 turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. The lecture we were expecting was cancelled, but as the essay really was finished, printed, bound and ready to hand in, I couldn't take advantage of the extra time for last minute revisions. So I handed it in, both paper and electronic versions (that was the challenging bit), drank coffee, and grabbed a quick tutorial/feedback on the crits. I found it demoralising at the time, but when I'd calmed down a bit, got a good night's sleep, and reread the comments, they weren't too bad. I am less sure of what I'm doing than I was a month ago, but I think the staff would think that was a good thing...
By that time, however, we were bracing ourselves for The Visit. It was Mr & Mrs Cheese Minor's 10th wedding anniversary, and they celebrated with a couple of nights in Berlin. Which meant that the little guys celebrated by coming to stay with us.
I'd spotted that Winchester City Mill, which is one of the VHC's favourite places, was having a milling day, so we went to have a look. This might not have been a good idea on the Sunday before Christmas, but the local buses were remarkably quiet, unlike the park and ride. We bought flour at the mill, and made bread the next day, before heading to Mottisfont for their Nutcracker trail.
As we expected, the little guys loved the trail, especially the automata - and the ice cream (!) in the outdoor cafe. (Wensleydale and I opted for tea and cake.)
And on the third day, we headed for the Winchester Science Centre. Unfortunately their Christmas show in the Plantetarium had finished, but the little guys were quite happy with the usual one, plus plenty of time to explore the science exhibits. The cafe is good too - some of the best sandwiches I've had, and very generously filled.
You may be surprised to see no mention of Manor Farm in this itinerary. We had planned a visit, but Babybel didn't want to go!
After the little guys went home we needed time to recover, so we were glad to have no more social engagements till the 26th, when Babybel ran her first Boxing Day race with her mum and dad - 3 km in 20 minutes 'without stopping'! She wasn't first, but she wasn't last either, and she was so proud of herself!
The quiet time allowed plenty of time for sampling trees/hands/branches. (Second left is the beginning of a branch, whatever you think it looks like!) I've also been researching some artists recommended by my tutor, who seems to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of contemporary art.
I also made some Christmas ornaments. I came across this lovely idea too late for this year, but I worked out if I started straight away and made two ornaments a month, we could have our own Advent Bough next year. So next year the fortnightly ornament will replace the weekly book - I just hope it doesn't fizzle out like the books did. This is the last book, a variation on the palm leaf book I made earlier.
For the ornaments, I chose a colour scheme of red, rust, yellow, dark blue and cream - which is not a good idea when you want to make Christmas trees like this. As it turned out, I didn't have enough suitable green buttons, and barely enough cream ones, which is why my tree is an odd shape. I have a lot of buttons, but I was surprised how many of them were shank buttons, which wouldn't work.
I made a couple more ornaments, as you can see, from ideas here and here. My intention is that they will all be different, more or less.
We have a few more quiet days now until New Years Eve when the soon-to-be Spanish branch of the family ( that is, soon-to-be family, they are already Spanish...) are coming over for a few days. Then we hit the ground running again when term starts again. Must get more rest!