(dawn on mead mountain)

To say this was the most exciting Christmas morning I’ve had since I was around six years old is no exaggeration. We arose at first light and walked all the way across Edinburgh — to ascend Mead Mountain. The streets were quiet, the air was still, and the whole city felt hushed with anticipation. After reaching the summit, we located where we had buried our treat with no problems, and Tom began to dig. There was a brief worried moment when we wondered whether the mead would actually still be there but then, as Tom dug just a little deeper, we uncovered the lovely bottle, still safe in the ground. BINGO!


We cleaned that baby up and then . . .


. . . it was time to taste it!


This picture cannot suggest to you just how bloody good the mead is. This is the first time we’d tasted it, and we were both seriously impressed. This stuff is not sweet or syrupy or any of the things you imagine mead to be. It is dry, fizzy, and fragrant. Containing raspberries, ginger, and lemongrass, it tastes like a sort of light botanical champagne! We really, really enjoyed it.

Now, you’d think things couldn’t get much better than a belly full of home-brewed mead and a heart full of seasonal good cheer — but then they did!


The Mule recently bought Tom some floating balloon-lanterns for his birthday. It being an unusually still and mild morning, we decided to fire one up. We lit the wick, the thing expanded rapidly and then it went . . .
UP . . .


Up . . .

. . . and away!


It was a truly beautiful sight to see our wee balloon floating gracefully high above the city.


For a while, we thought it might make it all the way across to Fife!

(crappy digital zoom)

But then we saw that the flame had gone out, and the balloon started to descend somewhere over Leith. Perhaps it was trying to get home. So we followed it back on foot, to see if we could find it. We didn’t, unfortunately, but as these balloons are flimsy, and biodegradable tissue paper things, I don’t feel too bad about it.
Thanks for the lanterns, Mule!

I’m going to take a break now until after the New Year, and I wanted to thank all of you who have stopped by during 2008. I always enjoy your comments, and have been blown away by the debates, exchanges and, in some instances, friendships, that have arisen from conversations here. I also particularly want to thank those of you who sent us messages of support after Belle’s death and Tom’s accident — it really meant a lot to us. Seasonal joy to you all. And a very happy new year.

31 thoughts on “meadwinter

  1. Happy new year! I hope 2009 brings you peace and health. And while I’m here I may as well ask… will you ever send the pattern for ‘owls’ into the open? Mind you, it wouldn’t bring *me* peace as I am such a nervous knitter but I can always hope…! All the best,



  2. Thank you for sharing and inspiring. I look forward to watching more unfold in the future. Enjoy the last days of 2008, and may 2009 start (and end) with peace, creativity and plenty of tasty brews. (we’re a week or two away from starting on some bottle-conditioned bitter)


  3. Your photos reflected the magic of the moment. I really appreciated the photos you’ve share with us (your viewing audience). It’s always a treat to see another land.


  4. So happy to hear what happened to the mead and the special celebration.

    Thanks for your inspiring posts which have led to such a treasure of discovery this year. And, of course, very best wishes for 2009.


  5. I was as excited as you about finding the mead – I only live an hour away but really miss Edinburgh and your photos stirred up some lovely memories. Best wishes to you and Tom for 2009. I look forward to your exploits – always interesting, thought-provoking and highly entertaining. Have fun!


  6. What a great way to spend Christmas morning. I, too, had a walk in the stillness of Christmas morning and thoroughly enjoyed it. Sadly, there was no mead at the end….


  7. Happy Christmas to you and Mr Tom. Hope you have a great rest – I love the mead mountain start to christmas morning. Fabbo. One of my most favourite christmas ever involved flying kites, something so cheering in something flying overhead while most people stay indoors! Lara xx


  8. What a wonderful Christmas morning! I loved reading it and could easily imagine myself being there enjoying the silent, beautiful morning and the lovely mead.
    Thanks for such a wonderful blog! I’m so happy to have found it!


  9. Sounds like a magical start to Christmas, I hope you have a fantastic day and a happy New Year! I am very excited about getting the Owls pattern, I just came back (to New Zealand) from two weeks in the UK, but not before securing enough British Sheep Breeds Suffolk to recreate it. Best wishes x


  10. My friend was just telling me about how they got one of those wish lanterns today. In Chinese they are called water lanterns because we release them over a body of water… Otherwise there’s the danger that they can descend while still flickering and set something on fire :)

    I’m sure yours was ok though. Looked like it was over the Firth of Forth… :)


  11. This is beautiful. If you haven’t already done so read Roald Dahl’s ‘Danny Champion of the World’ for an equally magical floating balloon lantern episode.


  12. Kate: This was a pure delight to read (My wife (Susan)-David Mc Dade’s mum) often looks at your website and encourages me to do likewise. Having both seen the latest today, we have to tell you that we feel very envious of you and Tom doing these things: we wish we had done similar things when we were young(er) and (more) carefree! “Things” which you remember many years later when the more pedestrian matters have long faded.

    Good luck to you both and a very Happy Christmas.


  13. Merry christmas – I’m so glad the mead was still there! Sounds wonderful. Hannah’s going to be so envious, those balloons are exactly what she spent weeks trying (without success) to make!


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