This weekend we finally managed to “Christmas” Emma after the washout that was last Sunday, when we got down to the New Forest for New Year. We had roast beef dinner to see out the old year and then settled down to an evening of cribbage, scrabble and Call My Bluff – such fun when you find the words yourselves in the dictionaries and then make up the false definitions to try and confuse the oppose team.

Our words:


  • a grey clay of Jurassic origin
  • a plant of the daisy family
  • the orignial name of one of the lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream


  • a ten-sided biscuit (18th century)
  • to garland with tinsel or ribbons
  • a belt in a paper-making machine


  • sound made by an Asian owl
  • to snatch or move something quickly (Scottish)
  • a small brass shim used in clock-making


  • a killer of hares
  • an old, seldom used word to describe people with leprosy who committed suicide
  • rabbit poison


  • belonging to the deer family
  • obsequious behaviour
  • of or pertaining to beer


  • a kind of footstool, padded with carved feet
  • old word for a harelip
  • common woodlouse

And our dinner…

After the endless rain that was yesterday afternoon and evening, this morning was bright, sunny, a little bit cold and crisp and utterly, utterly beautiful. So we had a good walk out on the forest before heading back home at lunchtime to where 7 cats were to found standing shamefaced around a spilt tub of (Arthur’s diet) food, and very full tummies.

This afternoon I have mostly been reading, and finishing, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. It’s brilliant. I love the simple concept of a baby, orphaned by an unknown killer, escaping into the graveyard to be brought up by the ghosts who ‘live’ inside. I’m really glad that we visited Highgate Cemetery last year, and slightly amazed that we had the same idea about the place as Neil Gaiman – that of these tombs on these streets, and how you can easily imagine the dead, once left alone by the living, coming out of their front doors and meeting and talking, discussing the people who had walked through that day. And here, in this book, Neil Gaiman has written about them.