Last night's opening episode of Downton Abbey's season 3 was soooo satisfying. I'll say no more in case you haven't seen it yet.
There was a promo for a special to air on Tuesday night, but the video is available on the PBS website now (or later) if you want to watch - a behind the scenes look at Highclere Castle, the setting for the fictional Downton Abbey. If you need a Downton fix to tide you over until episode 2 airs, this might help.
One of my splurges in early December: a $10 "just kitchy enough" teapot, which turned out to have such a large spout that it was hard to control the tea pouring. We had a minor tea spillage incident, so no picture of the sideboard with teapot and cups. Next year this teapot will be used solely for seasonal decoration - unless someone knows how to retrofit it so it will pour in a civilized manner.
Last year, on New Year's Eve Day, I gave a tea with my friend C for ourselves, Gerrit, and one of our part time caregivers. It was fun to put on, and I decided to expand on that this year.
The Sunday after Christmas seemed a good time to do it, to take advantage of the house being decorated for Christmas and to keep my spirits up during this first Christmas season without Gerrit. I invited the women of the choir plus a few additional lovely women, including my mom.
I forgot to take a before picture, but this tells me that the most popular sandwiches were the cucumber and green onion with cream cheese on white, followed by egg salad on wheat, and salmon with fresh dill on wheat.
Planning the tea was a great distraction; I'm so glad I did it. And having these wonderful women over was such a pleasure. They are good company in all situations, and they have been such a comfort to me these last months.
Our house turned 100 years old in 2012, and I thought it would be fitting to mark that milestone, as well as the 25 year anniversary since I purchased the house in 1987, with something festive before the year ended. My guests weren't told about the milestones; it was something that I wanted to acknowledge in my own mind. To honor the house for all the years it has sheltered us and previous families, for all the love and laughter and sadness and life passages that have happened under its roof. For the hopes and dreams and struggles of all the people who made their homes here. I'm happy I could do that.