The last time I wrote to you we weren’t in lockdown, Donald Trump was still President of the USA and I had a washing machine that worked… Whether change is for the good or just necessary for us to move forward, it can be difficult to accept or understand. I’m not a political animal, and fully appreciate everyone has their own views on the world and the way it’s managed, but I’m just praying that all lockdown restrictions will only run until the 2nd December so that as many folk as possible can have Christmas with their loved ones. I was lucky to have seen Lucy and Honey just the week before when we spent a sunny afternoon on a Pumpkin Trail. I know, I wasn’t at all sure what that was initially, but a number of households in the village had used pumpkins and other props to create the titles of popular children’s books and then displayed them in their front gardens and windows. We had a map so we knew where the houses were and we had to write down each of the book titles as we guessed them. The sun shone, the rain held off and the displays were very impressive – I never knew just how versatile a pumpkin could be! 🙂
We also had a visit from Sam and his lovely girlfriend Elise. They’d spent the weekend in Salisbury off roading in his Land Rover, and came to us for Sunday lunch. We’d not seen them for a while since meeting Elise’s parents for dinner at their home. We had hoped to return the compliment, but will have to hang fire on that for a while. As I was working that weekend, Colin made the roast beef dinner which was delicious, but I made dessert. Do you remember Angel Delight? It was Sam’s favourite as a child and a great way of getting milk into him. He may be 31 years old now, but he still loves it, especially butterscotch flavour and decorated with sultanas. You’re never too old… Sadly I’ve not been able to see my youngest Jack, but we do talk regularly and FaceTime and hope to sort something out once lockdown is over.
My sister Jenny came over for a few days, and along with a wonderful trip to Wisley Gardens, she did an amazing job of sorting out my airing cupboard for me. She is the queen of organization and has also done wonders with my wardrobe, encouraging me to recycle my clothes and get rid of things I’ve had for over five years! I bought some amazing Periea Storage Boxes from QVC a while back and so we utilized those along with the brilliant Space Bags – all my remaining summer clothes are now neatly stowed away in the top of the wardrobe and I’ve got room to hang my jumpers up! Small pleasures.
Unfortunately, our visit to Dorset to see our lovely friends Roz and Chris has had to be postponed, along with a weekend’s stay with Joe in Norfolk, but I know how lucky we’ve been to be able to work around the restrictions and safely see family and friends throughout the summer. Reading your comments on the blog, it’s very clear that not everyone has been as fortunate and I hope very much that the end of this year will see these limitations lifted and give everyone a chance to be with the people they’ve missed the most.
There’s been a fair bit of clearing up in the garden going on here, and I managed to re-pot three of my roses and split my calla lily bulbs so they could be divided into two pots. I’m keeping everything crossed they’ll be okay in their new homes and I won’t have killed them off. I’ve also had to re-creosote all the garden furniture I renovated in the summer. I was a bit surprised that the two coats I’d spent hours applying earlier in the year had faded quite so quickly, but hopefully this latest application will protect them over the winter. We’ve also had a huge pair of wooden gates delivered that Colin has hung and so I creosoted those as well! I love the smell of creosote – it reminds me of my Grandad Timms and Great Aunt Ivy. They were both avid gardeners and as a child I spent a lot of time exploring and playing outside in their gardens. I have also harvested our first crop of olives!
You may remember the photos I posted of the two olive trees in our back garden – the oldest bought for us as a wedding present five years ago by Roz and Chris. While we were in Kos, we spoke to a chap who made fabulous things out of olive wood and he told me how to ‘brine’ olives. The newer tree has a huge number of olives but they’re all far too small to pick, but these look perfect. I have to change the salt water each week, but hopefully they’ll be ready in time for Christmas.
Talking of which, if you love chocolate, you’ll definitely want our Today’s Special Value from Hotel Chocolat that’s already available on pre-sell. Item number 809948 will get you a 130 Piece Luxury Chocolate Selection in a Gift Box and bags. You won’t know yourself when you see the incredible collection that includes Salted Caramel, Rocky Road and Peanut Butter flavours along with many more premium and original options. There are 22 individually packaged selections, plus a huge gift box too so you can separate them out as presents if you like. The three Easy Pay interest-free instalments mean just £14.99 per month, plus P&P – a big saving on the recommended price of £69.
And from food to fragrance, I wanted to give you a heads up on a fabulous collection of Shay & Blue perfumes that will be available on Wednesday the 18th November. Dom de Vetta has put together an incredible mix of magical fragrances for under £50 – some of your favourites in there too, so I hope you’ll be able to join me for the launch on Wednesday at 9 p.m.
Dom de Vetta, who founded Shay & Blue in 2012, creates the most stunning fine and contemporary fragrances. This luxurious four piece collection features a 100ml Eau de Parfum in either bright English Cherry Blossom, feminine and elegant Black Tulip or Autumnal and rich Blackberry Woods. In addition, there is a complimentary shower oil, a moisturising body & hand lotion and a 10ml size of the fabulous new and exclusive Tallulah’s Camelia Eau de Parfum too! Directly from the company they would cost £122, but with our price of £48.96 plus P&P, you’re saving £69.09! I’m certain this is going to be an immensely popular gift idea for many of us and I’m delighted to tell you it will also be available on Auto Delivery, so that you can receive the same collection once again in 90 days time!
Well, that’s pretty much all my news for now, except to recommend a couple of brilliant TV dramas that Colin and I have enjoyed over the last few weeks and one we’re currently watching. ‘Road Kill’ starring Hugh Laurie is a very clever yet disturbing political thriller on BBC 1, and ‘Life’, again on BBC 1. Written by the genius Mike Bartlett, ‘Life’ is a look into the life of four groups of people who live in flats in the same building. Alison Steadman is superb as Gail Reynolds, Henry’s 70-year-old wife who has been bullied and put down for most of her marriage, and she’s just one of the cleverly crafted characters. I highly recommend it – the acting is incredible. The series we’re currently stuck into is on Sky Atlantic and stars Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman and is called ‘The Undoing’ – sheer brilliance! Great thing is it’s not being streamed, so we have to wait to see it each week, so it gives me plenty of time to try and guess whodunit! I hope there’s something in these that you will enjoy.
Thanks as always for keeping in touch with me here, and for your comments and also for continuing to support Ali’s Story Time on Instagram and Facebook at the weekends. Stay safe, stay well, try to stay sane, and I’ll see you soon.
With my love,