Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

PPP's Winter Mixture

Last weekend Cliff and I found ourselves in Lichfield where we had an overnight stopover to break a long journey home. We stayed in The George Hotel, in a room high in the eaves with William Morris curtains and a view out over the tiled roofs and narrow lanes. After a drink in the cosy bar (a Stone's Ginger Wine for me please!) we had a very good dinner at a Nepalese restaurant and in the morning we bought a game pie from the Christmas Market and looked around the town (sadly the most tempting shops weren't open as it was Sunday), but the sun was shining so we waited in the Cathedral Close listening to the thunderous organ music accompanied by the 'chack-chack' calls of the Jackdaws flying around the steeples, until the service finished and we could have a quick look around inside the Cathedral, which was beautifully decorated for Advent with evergreens, seedheads and purple ribbons.

One shop that was open was a little traditional sweet shop, so we popped in to admire the rows of big glass jars. I remembered my Grandparents always seemed to have a bag of 'Winter Mixture' boiled sweets and wondered if they would have some . . . and they did :-) not quite as I remembered as these are individually wrapped in cellophane twists, but the smell - mmmmmm the smell :-) that brings back so many memories of winter, sweet spice and herbs, licquorice and peppermint, cloves and anise.

So, inspired by my paper bag of old fashioned sweeties, I'm decking out my blog with a festive cornucopia . . .

Yes, this morning it snowed - just a little bit -
but enough to give a festive frosting to the rooftops
and the trees. The north-east wind will blow
and we will
have snow - more coming along before the week's end.

There's something special about bringing branches from the
garden inside to decorate the house. I suppose it's one
of our Christmas traditions that is far far older than the
commercial Christmas or even the Church festival.

Here is the box of Yew, Bay, Holly and Ivy
I cut from the garden, all ready for me to make into
a Christmas Wreath for the front door.

Bubble & Squeak
After trudging around the garden in the icy cold,
I fancied something warming for lunch - and what could
be more yummy than Bubble & Squeak topped off with an egg?
Mmmmmm, feeling more festive already!

Sweetie, anyone?

Oi! I didn't mean you you!

And, I almost forgot - Sophie, whose blog Flatlanders is a wonderful
roundup of design, art, culture and food that is to be found in
East Anglia, interviewed me about art and blogging - so you can
read a little bit more about me here, and while you're visiting
Flatlanders have a little browse around and see what a
special corner of the England we live in.

More of PPP's Winter Mixture coming soon . . .


  1. sweets in a paper bag interest most people ;) lovely collection for a wreath. chilly here, but the snow is almost melted. not much look-out for a white christmas.

  2. I just adore the smell of winter mixture - there's nothing like it!

  3. Lichfield was one of my stomping grounds in what now seems like a pervious life! I love that tiny city,and thank you for the memories it evoked,especially of the Cathedral which are very strong at this time of year ;-)

  4. Yes, it's the ancient traditions that ring my bells.And the tropical climate just doesn't "do" it.
    And three cheers for Chester!

  5. Great interview and another lovely blog to read!

  6. So I did blow some snow your way! It's hard to find good hard candy - but the thought of making it myself is way too intimidating. I got as far as buying a candy thermometer...

  7. Make mine an aniseed flavoured one please! And hold onto a little snow if you can-Christmas in Cambridge for us!

  8. What a lovely post! we stayed in the George for a wedding years ago - it's a lovely hotel, but I'd forgotten all about it till I read this!

  9. Lovely post... love the wintery bouquet! Looking forward to the next 'mix'. :)

  10. Hello from New York Celia. This post immediately triggered the memory of a favorite book, The Road to Litchfield, by Penelope Lively.

    I doubt that I will ever actually be in Litchfield myself, but your post has caused me to make a mental note.

    It was delightful to read the other post about you and your work, and how where you live contributes so much to the mix.

    I could run on for quite a bit more, but will refrain, just letting you know again how fortunate I feel to have found your site ... think it might have via Valerie.


  11. What an interesting post! I look forward to seeing your door ring.

  12. Hi Petoskystone - it looked like we'd have a White Christmas and we almost did!

    Hi Sarah and Jon - I haven't had Winter Mixture for years, these weren't the best but were pretty good.

    Hi MECG - Yes Lichfield is lovely, especially near Christmas.

    Thank you Dinahmow - no stunt cats were involved in the photography of this blog post.

    Hi Gina - Flatlanders is a mine of info about good things in East Anglia.

    HI Terry - I've never made my own boiled sweets - hot sugar is scary!

    Hi Threadspider - hope you saw Cambridge in the snow, I've saved you an aniseed sweet - I love the clove ones best.

    Hi Dottycookie - there was a big party at the hotel when we were there - it's a very traditional place to stay.

    Hi Artslice - I was amazed at the variety of leaves I found in the garden.

    Hi Frances - I wasn't aware of that book. Lichfield is a very attractive little 'city'.

    Thank you Veg Heaven, hope you enjoy the next helping...



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