27.12.09

Turning pennies into cheese

Despite needing an initial defrosting, our little pot tree looked very pretty when he was dressed. He comes in every Christmas Eve and goes back outside on January the 1st. We like to keep our quiet celebrations short and special.
I bought him fourteen years ago, when he was a scruffy 10 inch urchin, and against the odds, he's thrived. Now he has finally burst his pot in a bid for freedom.
Here he is on Christmas morning, being looked after by Oscar, my latest needle felt piece.
This year he is proudly displaying some beautiful gingerbread people, made by an old friend with whom we have recently re-made contact. Each one is delightfully hand painted and the room smells sweetly of spicy goodness.
The three of us trained together to be illustrators way back in the early 1990's. Now she makes
wonderfully decorated cakes and cookies, I make felt toys and Andy wears his fingers to the bone as a supermarket manager supporting us. Which just goes to show how life takes unexpected turns.
Every week before Christmas, I count the pennies in my penny pot. Usually it is spent on nice cheese and this year it was spent on very select cheese indeed. One piece, to be precise. Although we only have two shops in the village, one of them is an excellent deli, which specialises in local cheeses. There were only two of these '
Cerney Pyramids' left - unpasteurised goat's cheeses covered with ash and seasalt, from the village of North Cerney, just over the border in Gloucestershire. Being a premium product, they are not cheap. But the kind shopowner generously gave me a little discount as he knows that I am a hardcore gourmet cheese lover with very shallow pockets. Now it waits, like the rest of the world, for New Year's Eve, when it will be eaten with reverence.

25 comments:

frayedattheedge said...

I love your little pot tree - and the decorations are lovely! We have an artificial one that comes out the loft every year (bought before it was a crime against the environment to have a fake tree!) Enjoy your cheese - we have just had some Northumberland Nettle cheese, given to us by Malcolm's sister - delicious!

the casbah kitten said...

What a wonderful tree! And a wonderful idea. I had never thought of growing a Christmas tree in a pot. LOVE the ornaments...and the new elephant. And saving your pennies for a special treat....

Frances said...

PG, there is so much upon which to comment here.

That tree of your will soon need to be put on some sort of wheeled trolley for its week indoors! The decorations are a marvelous collection, each one carrying a unique personality.

Oscar definitely deserves his glowing crown. He's a very fine addition to the wondrous crew.

Love the idea of the pennies for cheese. Let us know how the Cerney is after New Year's.

And...isn't it often good to reconnect with folks from years past? It is fascinating how our paths wander during our lives.

May I send a huge toast to Andy, from one shop manager to another? I definitely have an idea of what he faces day by day!

Best wishes to you as we take our tiny steps towards that beckoning 2010. xo

Julia Guthrie said...

Cheese is food of the gods you know! lol
I love the stuff...

I like your tree decorations too, it's time I re-vamped ours!

xxxx

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Oscar is fantastic! such fun and movement. Ah, yes our Christmas tree is a over ten years old and is a Ficus...Your friend's work is gorgeous, I went to the link and watched the slideshow. But poor Andy, I'd no idea he was trained as an illustrator as well.... Gosh yes, life does take unexpectedly turns a truer set of words were never spoken. Enjoy that cheese! Raw Goat sounds great, we can get raw sheep here that is quite nice. Cheers.

BumbleVee said...

We like our quiet little celebrations too. No big deal.. .. just us ... the tree ... and enjoying a little chicken dinner on the day...


I have saved some of the more beautiful cards over the years to place in bare areas in the tree... I love to make some little origami ornies and some little walnut mice as well... I usually just give them to folks...but, also make a few for our own tree... have to keep a few for "templates", seeing as how I usually forget how to make them each year...lol...

Twiglet said...

Love that little tree and perfect little Oscar. hope you had a good Christmas and best wishes for 2010!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Such a marvelous idea to have a year-round tree. It is as though he waits all year to play his part in the family celebration. Wonderful.

And such a handsome elephant.

I can think of few better things to spend one's pennies on than cheese.

Over the Garden Wall said...

What a perfect little country mouse
tree, packed with such original treasures. Very best wishes for the New Year.

Sue said...

Love the little window into your Christmas days... like you I always prefer to be last in with the tree, first out, although this year I have been outnumbered and voted Scrooge so have relented and we are having it for three whole weeks!

janet said...

your tree is magical and I must say the lovely bird perched at the top is the crowning touch. Happy New Year Gretel and Andy...enjoy your cheese!

MaureenHume said...

Your tree is beautiful and it's kind of special that you grew it yourself.
I'm completely intrigued by your fabulous looking bookshelf behind your tree. It looks just like a well loved bookshelf should look.
Maureen. www.thepizzagang.com

Soozcat said...

Loving Oscar's knobbly knees (and coveting the Cerney cheese!)

Yarrow said...

That cheese sure looks interesting and I hope you enjoy it :) Your tree looks so sweet, and it's a good idea to use one every year.
Have fun,
k.x

Suze said...

I love that your Christmas tree is so special to you, having grown with you both, and such a lovely gift of spicy gingerbread from your friend...such friendships are special too.

Oscar is wonderful...those knees are adorable...

Oh, now that cheese sounds gorgeous...you've hit one of my favourite types...unpasturised goats cheese.

I hope you've had a wonderful time...and wish you best wishes for 2010...

Natasha said...

Happy Christmas to you both. Love your tree but I feel maybe you're lacking in books in your home!
I was at my Mums over Christmas and Andys' picture is on the landing,I was passed it so many times and each time being grateful for a rekindled friendship! Ahhh the power of the net!
xxx

Frances Tyrrell said...

What a perfect little tree, like something out of a book, especially with those pretty gingerbread folk. I went straight to your friend's Etsy shop, and indeed her work is beautiful.
Oscar is charming, love the knees!
Wishing you a merry, cosy Christmas time, and very happy, healthy, wealthy New Year,
Blessings,
F
(part mouse myself, having cheese-envy here)

Mlle Miracle said...

Hi Gretel, it's been a while since I comment last time. I'm glad you're back with your everyday stories, it's always so nice to hear from you. I think it's a great idea to save pennies (in my case it will be cents) for something to eat in New Year's Eve. I think I'll copy this for next year, but maybe for a nice bottle of wine, mmmmm!
I hope you'll have a happy, funny and creative new year (extend this wish to Andy, too, please, he deserves it!!!)!!

Menopausal musing said...

I think that stuff bought with pennies from the penny jar tastes that much better! My penny jar gets used similarly and also I find that if it is used to buy yarn or thread then the finished article has more value somehow. Enjoy that cheese!!!!!!!! :O)

rossichka said...

I find it lovely to have your own Christmas tree and to take care of it year after year... It's already a member of the family, isn't it? Besides, a very special one!
I like very much the idea of buying something that brings you pleasure with the pennies you've gathered up so far. I'll discuss it with my husband and son and I'm sure we'll buy something special for us!
Happy New Year, Gretel! Let it bring health, joy, love, inspiration and happiness to you and your family!

GooseBreeder said...

Ah!Cheese!What would life be without it? My best discovery this year; a glass of chilled Moscato with some soft goats' cheese after a hard day when the sun has gone down and all are safely abed.Or even if not a hard day and all are safely abed.
Enjoy every crumb of that Cerney if indeed it is of the crumbing sort.

Decadent Housewife said...

Sorry, but that cheese doesn't look a whole lot better than the mackerel. Bet it tastes better though.

lettuce said...

beautiful little tree
we had one in a pot for some years too, it felt a bit like an extra family member

Wishing you best of everything in 2010

Suzanne said...

As a cheese lover myself I can appreciate the anticipation of enjoying such a delicacy - that you bought it with all your saved up pennies makes it that much more special! Happy New Year indeed!

K said...

I find myself lost. There are no dates on anything, so I don't know if this was written in the present, or in the dark and chilly past. I don't know how I found myself here. I think perhaps I followed one of your dogs home and was caught by your header. The Cotswolds. I have always heard of it, but never been. My one trip to Britain had to please too many people in too short a time. And I dragged my feet in Wales, not wishing to leave it

I feel - odd, I suppose. Having found this place, fishing through it, down stream and up. The story of your birthday took me a bit by the heart. But the story of your imagination leaves me blinking. And in all of it, I am only a stranger. I suppose that these journals we write make it fine to trespass. But some are more home-like than others. And I feel a little like I've wandered into one of your sheds, and am watching you work from closer than I've a right to.

But again. I'm not sure that this is today and not some past date, that you're writing now and not then. I envy. Oh, I envy you your sense of shape and color and your gifts. You are added to a collection of human beings who I suspect of being more than usual gifts to the rest of us.

So I guess this is admitting that I've been here and seen your woods and your work. And wish you were my neighbor.