Silence falls

For the last two weeks the house and the cottage have been full of people.  Younger son's dog (possibly the best behaved and gentlest black lab in the world until you tell me different) has been lying on the rug by the fire.  Elder daughter's baby has spent the fifth and sixth weeks of his life being passed around his various adoring aunts, uncles and grandparents.  There has always been someone to walk around singing to him when he got cranky and to sit with him sleeping on their chest.  He has been fascinated by the pattern of the beams on the ceilings in both the kitchen and the sitting room of the farmhouse, staring up wide eyed at the lines of the brown oak against the white paint.

Much food has been made in the battered kitchen, with first younger son and daughter in law, and then as younger daughter arrived and they left, younger daughter, working with me, sometimes taking over completely, sometimes being the vegetable peeler or the gravy maker, working away companionably.  We like food in our family, like growing it, cooking it, thinking about it, talking about it, eating it.  Much wine has been drunk too, though in a pretty moderate sort of a way, and much chocolate eaten.  We have walked the dog and crunched about in the snow.

And today everyone has gone although we have visitors coming to the holiday cottage tonight.  The silence, after all the noise and laughter and coming and going, is profound.  All I can hear is the sound of the logs burning in the stove and faintly, from Ian's study, the clatter of the keyboard as he uses the computer.   On New Year's Eve we had a fire out in the field.  It was a full moon, once in a blue moon, and the moonlight on the snow was eerily bright, a silver gray world glowing and gleaming like a great frosted bowl.  It is not as bright as that tonight but the world still glows faintly white with the moon on snow.  I am torn between my usual pleasure at having the place to myself and the tug of yearning to have my family back.  By tomorrow I will be used to it again and it will be good to have some time just the two of us but tonight I am missing the laughter of the girls, the feel of the baby settled against my chest, the sound of my husband and son in law talking from the kitchen, the easy going presence of the dog, curled by the fire.

It has been a good couple of weeks stolen from the world.

Here is the peacock, remarkably tolerant of the snow, making his contribution.


  1. Your header picture is beautiful - and it looks as if you have had a similar amount of snow to us.

    We've had a busy Christmas - lovely to see our visitors and spend companionable days and evenings putting the world to rights - but it is also quite pleasant to have our own space again.

  2. Isn't it the ebb and flow of life that makes it so good?

  3. Sounds like a perfect Christmas to me and how nicely written. I love the peacock, I had always thought they were delicate birds!

  4. I'm glad the peacock has survived the cold weather. And I'd give anything for a woodburner with a dog curled up in front of it....

  5. So glad the peacock is still there - looks like he has adopted you now. We said goodbye to two little visitors this afternoon that had been staying up here in the REAL SNOW - so exciting - now its just so quiet.....zzzzzzzzzz

  6. Yes, so glad you've shown us the peacock again. I discovered two fat frogs in the garden yesterday but I'd have preferred a peacock. But they said you'd cornered the market - in wandering peacocks, I mean. And you have infinitely more snow.

  7. We had wandering peacocks once, who came and sat on the ridge of the roof at dawn. Wasn't best pleased at that hour and anyway they soon went home!
    A lovely account of visitors. I love them coming and love it after they have gone!
    Your account is so evocative of fires and dogs and babies at their best...

  8. A young baby and a black labrador - two of the very best sorts of company to hang out with!

    You certainly had a lovely Christmas. And what a view!

  9. You put it very well, that feeling of loss that comes when they leave, just before the feeling of satisfaction in your own company and your own space. We still have a houseful, and will until the 6th.
    Beautiful view of your hills in the snow - perhaps I'll be able to aim The Great Dane towards the UK this year.

  10. Oh the sheer pleasure and delight of Grandbubs, I love it...breathe it all in. Teresa x

  11. I love, love, love that header picture. And the baby! How beautiful. I am looking forward to a return to normal on Monday. Perhaps because my children are all still mostly at home? I cannot image them all grown and gone.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday season.

  12. If they were there all the time you'd be longing for the peace and tranquility to return. I do know what you mean though -about the silence and emptiness being a bit of a shock to the system.

    Happy new year to my Tweeting friend


  13. Your Christmas sounds like it was wonderful and I am ever so envious of it. It was all in my plans once, but it was not meant to be. I'm glad you enjoyed yours so much. It is a joy to hear about it.

  14. Those lovely moments when you've got them all under one roof . To be treasured . And even better when there's a baby in a Christmas jumper .

  15. Oh, what a sweet baby! I think Sue is right - it is the ebb and flow that makes it good. I do love seeing everyone but I'm also happy to have time to think again. Lovely post again, Elizabeth.

  16. Sounds like a perfect Christmas!!
    Roll on the next one...but you'll have lots of family reunions between to enjoy first.
    Lovely to see Denbighshire in the snow.

  17. I love the ebbing and flowing too, although I'm going through a stage in life when everyone is basically here all the time. Such a gorgeous baby and what a lucky chap to have so many adoring aunts, uncles and grandparents. I'm hoping to find a quiet moment when all I can hear is the logs in the stove - maybe later!

  18. Mountainear - yes, I am liking it again today, just a bit of a shock yesterday!
    Sue - one without the other would not be the same.
    Kath - the peacock is quite hardy. Odd isn't it, when he looks so exotic?
    Mrs Jones - sadly the dog has gone away back to her owners. I am missing her too!
    Sbs - we still have quite a lot of real snow. Loved your last blog btw.
    Fennie - yes, wandering peacocks a speciality up here. Glad he has not yet chosen to wander off again!
    Withy - I am the same. I love both bits of a crowd of visitors, the arrival and the peace after they have gone, as long as they come back soon!

  19. Rachel - the view is quite something isn't it, winter or summer!
    Pondside - Oh yes, you and the Great Dane would be very welcome indeed.
    Knittings nice - you are right, the smell of a new baby is quite different from anything else.
    Kim - there is a pleasure in the returning to normal too. Now they have gone I am beginning to feel ready to re-engage with the world.
    FF - as you say, we need to contrast for the world to go right!
    GSW - I hope you enjoyed your own different Christmas and happy new year for 2010.
    S&S - you noticed the Christmas jumper for the baby! It was a present from his aunt - it is lovely isn't it?

  20. what a lyrical description of a wonderful, magical world. You have a remarkable capacity for involving the reader in your life, letting the reader feel and smell and be part of you peaceful, domestic environment.
    Enviable, all of it.

    Happy new Year, EM; yours is one of the blogs I blame for continuing to blog myself.

  21. Happy New Year. We had snow in Pembrokeshire too - first time in 15 years.

  22. Goodness, I so loved reading about your Christmas Elizabeth - what lovely words. How wonderful it must have been to have a new little person with you. Many many congratulations and a very happy new year to you x

  23. Christmas and families, families and Christmas - they're made for each other and now a new addition -gorgeous little chap. Happy New Year to all your family xx

  24. Wow! The hills look lovely under the snows whiteness. But Mr. Peacock looks cold, brave, but cold. brr! That was a wonderful post. I could smell the food cooking, hear the voices, the happiness of family gathered. You are one heck of a writer,Thank you so much for sharing your world.
    Happy New Year to you!

  25. Oooh, that peacock looks cold! Sounds like a perfect family Christmas with everything as it should be. Lovely new baby, too.

    Happy new year. xx

    PS New year's res to come and visit.

  26. Friko - I will take pleasure in some credit for your continuing to blog, blame does not come into it!
    Mark - I am still feeling half in love with the snow. I suspect this feeling is connected with not having to go to work, as we now call not being employed!
    silverpebble - thanks and happy new year to you too! It is rather wonderful having a new baby around, especially as I don't have to be awake all night.
    molly - Happy New Year and thanks for reading my blog.
    FK - you are right, the peacock does look cold but he seems ok, wandering around the field and sitting under the bird feeders. I do give him corn too but the sight of snow on his back was a bit disconcerting.
    LBD - what a great New Year's resolution! I couldn't be more pleased (except for the immediate adolescent leap of anxiety that you might not like me, do we ever grow up?)

  27. it is amazing to see a peacock in the snow.


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