It has been a bit like the house of the undead here this week. Tom kept to his annual ironic tradition of returning from the conference of immunologists with an evil infection, and has been very ill all week with flu. I have not been much better myself (delirium actually set in at one point), but had perked up enough by Friday to be able to take on duties as principal tea-maker etc. The weather has made things a little tricky for us too, as the recent freeze / thaw / freeze pattern has made it much more difficult for me to get about (the pavements are largely clear, which means that I can’t wear my crampons, but smaller footpaths are strewn with deadly patches of ice upon which my left leg is liable to give way at any moment). While the rest of the UK seems heartily sick of the snow, I was actually grateful for a fresh fall today, as it meant I could at last put on my spikes and get out for a decent walk. Bruce’s affection for the snow also continues unabated.

It felt very good for the sick zombies to get outside with their enthusiastic dog. Tom actually celebrates his birthday today, so our walk ended up in our local, for a taste of festive ale. This was Bruce’s first introduction to World of Pub, and I am happy to say that he behaved himself admirably – only emerging from under the table when a Jack Russell dropped by to say hello.

The promised Hogmanay entertainment seemed singularly appropriate for two convalescing invalids.

After raising a modest glass or two, we returned home to decorate our tree. One of my favourite things of the many lovely (and moving) items I received while I was in hospital was a nativity scene, knitted by Sister Winifred and the other nuns of Kersal Hill convent, Salford. (The scene’s donkey has his own entry in my correspondence archive here). Though we do not celebrate the season in a religious way at all, I am incredibly proud to have Sister Winifred’s knitted nativity in my living room this Christmas.

I think Shepherd number 1 is my favourite figure. . .

. . . though I am also very fond of Balthazar

The whole scene is a thing of knitted JOY, and you must see it. (When we get some decent light, I’ll take some more photographs and show you). In the meantime, it’s back to the sofa with me. Hopefully the coming week will see us feeling better and fired up with festive VIM. Till then . . .

50 thoughts on “Winterreise

  1. The Poor Clares (enclosed religious community) in North Wales have the most amazing crib made out of found objects – everything from twigs to fibre optics. It’s not just a nativity but all sorts of scenes from both old and new testaments. I’ve never seen it for real – would love to – but from the footage of it on You Tube it seems to combine Blue Peter makes with the spirit of Rachel Whiteread’s dollshouses.

    Said that I would never moan about London’s relatively clement weather when we moved down here from Edinburgh but today I am moaning!


  2. Best of wishes hoping you both feel better soon. Take care of yourself Kate…the pic with you and Bruce is so warm and loving…and makes me want to curl up on the couch so whoever took it captured the feelings. I do not have that right compared to you, so take it and enjoy every blessed minute and hope you get on your feet again soon. Glad you saw the funny side on the message board in the pub. I love the knitted nativity scene and the fact it was knitted especially for you with lots of love must make it even more special. Thanks for sharing, I have never seen anything like it. Hope it snows a blizzard or completely clears, one way or the other so you can get out and about with a bit of confidence. I so enjoy your blog.

  3. That’s a lovely picture of Bruce in the snow! May your convalescences (if you can have a plural of this) continue unabated and may the two of you and Bruce have a very happy Christmas.

  4. Happy Birthday Tom!

    Bruce makes me smile so much. He’s a lot like our dog, obsessed with the snow. And good in pubs and restaurants too! Love it.

    I hope you feel better soon, and happy holidays to you!

  5. Hi Kate, so nice to see you snuggled up with Bruce, wearing your owls sweater. I’ve often wondered if you wear it much now it’s so famous!
    I hope you and Tom feel better soon and have a wonderful Christmas together.

  6. Hope you all feel better soon! Happy Birthday to Tom and a big scritch to Bruce, my favorite dog. May you have good, cheering days of special food and drink! The days will soon be getting longer, we can celebrate that around here!

  7. The nativity is very nice. Yes, the donkey is cute. Dogs are the best “pills.” When I’m sick in bed, I tell my husband I need dog pills–that’s the cue for the collie to hop in bed and snuggle.

  8. So sorry to hear you have been poorly. Snow is a joy when it is on ground where you can walk – less so when it metamorposes into ice and lies in wait to catch you out!

    Hope you are well enough to Christmas – religious or not it is a festival of love and friendship. The knitted nativity is lovely

  9. happy birthday to the noble partner, i hope he feels better soon.
    i can’t wait for more pix of the knitted nativity, which i have envied since you got it. and pix of bruce flying through the snow have a very special beauty. i’m glad he was a good boy at the pub, it means you two can get drunk away from home more often.
    merry christmas.

  10. Can’t wait to see the nativity set in all its glory. Such a labor of love is a true blessing. May you both be well and whole for Christmas.

  11. Happy birthday, Tom and may this next year be happy and boring. I always think boring means life is settling down after illness.
    I can’t wait to see the photos of the nativity scene. What a wonderful present.

  12. Get well soon, both of you! And I can imagine you being uneasy about walking on ice and snow. A few years ago, I had a rupture of my Achilles tendon, had to learn to walk again after six months, etc… And although my foot has gone back to normal, I’ve become a lot more cautious and anxious to fall in this weather.
    But I do love the snow!
    And your pictures and knitting are wonderful!

  13. – hope the next week will see both of you feeling better — happy birthday to TOM

    -BRUCE is so amazingly cute — love to see him romp in the snow — what a well behaved pup visiting the pub


    best —pat

  14. You can have some of my festive vim – I have it to spare this year, as I’m on holiday in New Zealand and it seems rather unnecessary. It’s so strange that the Christmas signs here are all so traditional – holly, fir trees, etc, although they do seem to draw the line at snow! We have seen pōhutukawa, which I was quite pleased at: it has bright red flowers (mostly) at this time of year, and is known as the New Zealand Christmas tree.

  15. I love Balthazar and his amazing head-wear. HUZZAH for Sister Winifred and the nuns of Kersal Hill convent.

    That photo of you and big Bruce is just gorgeous and I am glad you and Tom are recovering from the ironic flu enough to enjoy some Hogmanay cheer and ALEZ. X

  16. Hope you both feel better soon, and Happy Birthday to Tom!
    The little nativity creche is beautiful, I do like Balthazar.
    And I, like you, was very pleased to see the snow, it does make it so much easier to get about, even if you don’t have a wobbly leg.(as well as looking very festive).

  17. Your dog makes me smile! Ours has a similar joy in snow and was causing havoc yesterday as our neighbours attempted to clear 300 yards of 18-inch deep snow to get their car out. He was convinced it was all a big game and that they were trying to bury him with snow – we had to haul him home before they DID! Get well soon!

  18. Happy belated birthday to Tom!

    Your snow is lovely. We have none yet, and it’s making my children itchy, particularly the eight year old, who is longing to go sledding. Fabulous photo of Bruce romping; I have a similar shot of our lab bouncing through a Fall wood several years ago … labs are such exuberant dogs. Your Bruce is a very handsome boy, indeed.

  19. That knitted nativity is quite touching; what a kind gesture. The donkey is especially charming. The reports we hear from the UK make your weather sound catastrophic, but your lovely photos tell a different story and, as we are still snow-deprived in my part of New England, make me feel rather envious!

  20. hugging one’s doggie always does the heart good. hope you both get rest & feel even better soon.

    also–I’m amazed that you’re allowed to bring dogs into pubs. Where I live (Spain) that’s unheard of. We can hardly take our dogs anywhere with us–a real pity.

  21. The knitted nativity looks amazing!! What a treasure. My father in law has one at his church as well, and I contribute a little creature to it each year. this year was the donkey.

  22. I don’t like dogs in general, but I adore that first picture of Bruce running through the snow. He looks positively gleeful. Many warm wishes during this festive season.

  23. Hi – thanks you for sharing your life experience with us for the last year. I have spread your address to more friends. It has been very interesting an educational… and touching. My mother had a stroke a few month earlier. Unfortunately she never recovered, but reading about your experiences and thoughts helped me understand her situation a bit better.. many juletide greetings from Denmark.
    ps – glad to see that you are not decorating the tree till now :-) – never understood why people in UK put it up dec. 1. Then it’s dusty and dry when you finally get to christmas.

  24. I love the photo of Bruce in the snow (and you look quite cute cuddled up with him!!) Your Nativity is super – I must check my Alan Dart patterns, I’m assuming it is one of his ……. although I don’t know that I have the patience to sew up all those tiny fiddly bits, it was bad enough sewing up the Gnome brothers and sisters last year (I was going to do more gnomes as Christmas presents, but I couldn’t face it, I made quilts instead! Hope you are both on the mend and birthday wishes to Tom.

  25. Wishing you a very happy birthday Tom! Hope both of you continue to feel better and enjoy more treats of the season. It always makes me smile to see Bruce retrieving a stick!

  26. My mum and sister and I made that nativity a few years ago – that was what got me knitting again, I did the shepherds and the donkey!

    Hope you all have a happy and peaceful Christmas, and a better 2011.

  27. I hope you’re both feeling better! I think this my be my first time commenting on your blog but I’ve had the enjoyment of reading it for a while now. I wanted to ask how you were able to bring Bruce into the pub? I live in the US and I just got a pup myself so I was wondering if you have different laws regulating dogs in places with food? Personally, I’ve been trying to take my pup with me everywhere I can so I’m jealous of being able to sit down and enjoy yourself at the pub with your dog! Also, I love the nativity scene! Happy holidays!

  28. Hello, The picture of you and Bruce is gorgeous, he has gotten so big! Merry Christmas and well done on a very hard year. With Love, James, Nicole, Rachel and Kate

  29. That is one happy, lucky, beautiful dog you’ve got! Love the snow photo– pure dog joy. On another note, I just finished my own owl sweater… okay almost finished… armpits are not done, and I haven’t done any actual finishing, but the knitting is done and it fits, woo hoo! I can’t wait to wear it. Thanks for a great pattern.

  30. Belated birthday greetings to Tom, and I do hope you are both feeling better by now.

    love the knitted Nativity scene, love that Balthaza too. The donkey looks very cute.
    Lovely little outfits and intricate work from Sister Winifred and the nuns of Kersal Hill; what a beautiful gift to you.

    This time 40yrs ago I spent Xmas in hospital having my first baby. Time is so short really, seems like only yesterday, and so much has changed now.
    So Enjoy a Merry Merry Christmas! together Kate and Tom, and your precious pets.

  31. Recovery from a cold is always easier when one can snuggle with such a lovely dog.

    Love the “flying dog” photo – I have a few in that genre myself.

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)