December

Christmas Special

Joy

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At Christmas, there are so many delicious delicacies covering the tables of families around the country. For many, the Christmas season is an excuse to eat rich and extravagant food and enjoy the treats of the season. Sultanas, Walnuts and Dates grace tables as a sign of by-gone extravagance. Warming and comforting spices waft through the air, creating a festive atmosphere, evoking the Three Kings and their precious gifts. I love Christmas baking. It is a joy to use ingredients that aren't used throughout the rest of the year and put them together into one cake. Bejewelled fruit and exotic spices evoke mysterious magic like that of the Arabian Nights and using unusual and expensive makes the celebrations extra special. As baking is a time-consuming and labour intensive activity, it shows you really care to those you are baking for and makes them feel loved and spoilt. Here is photo of my Christmas cake from a couple of years ago...

Hope

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As another year comes to close, we are all anxious to make good resolutions and plans for the new year. It is difficult to find a quiet corner to clear your head and reflect on hopes for the year ahead. However, for me, spending a couple of moments of a busy day in a peaceful church, gives me the strength to face the challenges ahead. Walking into a church is like taking a long drink of water when you're thirsty. The beauty and comfort surrounds you as you walk in. Candles burn in memory of loved ones and bring a warm glow to the cold stone structures. Sitting in peace brings inner solace to the soul and gives you clarity of mind. This feeling comes particularly from churches that have been there for centuries, giving solace to people throughout the ages. I am going finish the year of photography in the way I started - in Towcester. In the middle of a field, is a tiny chapel-like church. Looking closer on the church walls, there are ancient etchings of religious stories which although faded remind us of the history of our faith. I took this photo on a crisp afternoon last year. The icy ground reflected the light into the church and shone through the latticed windows. As we look forward we can have hope in what the new year will bring and what things we can get done and enjoy. New Year, New Life and New Hope!

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