Here is a late-Victorian image of Father Christmas/Saint Nicholas. I like his chest full of old-fashioned toys that he is emptying out. Remember when people were satisfied with simpler items and found pleasure in simpler activities? Now, it's all about blinking lights, bells, and whistles -- Blackberries, I-Phones, I-Pods, Tivo, mobile phones, FaceBook, and MySpace. Or so it seems. My, how times have changed.
I think that one of the unstated (and perhaps unrealized) little tragedies of our age, and I'm guilty of this myself to some extent, is that many of us, regardless of our age, have lost the ability to find pleasure in simple things. For example, sitting quietly with a book, or a walk in the country/park. Well, I hope the coming holiday period will see many of you Stollen regulars being able to do just that. Or perhaps playing a game of toy soldiers with other enthusiasts. Or maybe a few productive afternoons or evenings of painting? Or just a nice conversation with your spouse, partner, or a friend over a cup of coffee or tea. You know, the simple things.
As you can see from these two photographs, we had quite an ice storm in the night, which brought down a number of large limbs from our Sycamore trees (Plane Trees I think is what people in the U.K. and Commonwealth countries call them). This happened up and down the street. So, the Grand Duchess and I will have to brave the ice later this afternoon and clear up the front yard a bit. Fortunately, nothing actually hit the house when it fell. Last June, a large branch fell on the corner of a house in the next street and cause quite a bit of damage, so we feel lucky there.
You can see how much of a mess we have in our front yard at the moment. Looks like our work is cut out for us. Whew! Nothing that a cup of coffee and a slice or two of stollen won't cure afterwards though. ;-) Now, wasn't there a game of soldiers going on here recently?