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What with a suspect ankle (eldest) and the early sunsets (two minutes past four today - about as early as it's going to get) we've been enjoying the indoors a lot lately.

The carols books are out and being banged out on the piano and blasted out of recorders and sung loudly (shouted even).

The piano is played more in December than the rest of the year.  It's old and battered (the eldest ran his toys up and down it a couple of times when he was little) and it really needs tuning and some repairs, but I love it anyway.

I don't often have time, but sometimes I play a few pieces, and when I do, I really enjoy it.

A couple of houseplants have snuck into our home lately.  A little rooted hoya leaf from Ikea.  I couldn't resist it, I'm dying to see what it's going to do.   (It's the heart-shaped leaf in the red pot).  And secondly a tillandsia that I rescued from B&Q.  It was sat all alone and slightly battered on the reduced shelf.  Nobody wanted it.  Sometimes I just can't help myself.  I only went to B&Q for a bathroom lightbulb, but while I was there I thought I'd just have a quick look at the plants.  Just a look.  I used to have dozens of houseplants Before Children, and I can feel them sneaking back in now that the little people are (theoretically) old enough not to dig around in the earth.

Last week I picked a few pretty things from the back lane - ivy, rosehips and what must surely be the last of the blackberries.  They're still brightening up my mantelpiece.  My favourite kind of arrangement - locally grown, chemical free, no flower miles, native wildlife friendly plants and free.

The biggest boy made me laugh the other day.  I looked into the living room and saw all three of them seated at the table together playing a game.  Together!  Nicely!!  On silent feet I went to find my camera to capture this moment of brotherly bliss.  It lives on the hall table, and as I took it out of the case I heard the eldest say, "Just to warn you, mum's coming in to take a photo in a minute".  I asked him after if he'd heard the velcro on the case when I opened it.  He said, "No.  We were all sat together playing.  I knew you'd come and take a picture."  Oh my.  Am I that predictable?  I fear I am.  But I do have nice photo.  The game they were playing is Whot! which is a vintage game from the 1930's.  It's fantastic, I played it when I was little, and I was thrilled to find it in a charity shop a couple of years ago so that I could play it with my little people.  It's a fantastic introduction to card games, and the five-year-old and the ten-year-old both like playing it.

Tonight was the littlest boy's nativity play.  He was a sheep.  It was of course utterly adorable and slightly chaotic.  The singing was in turn angelic and shouty.  It was moving and funny in equal measure.  Sheep, cows, donkeys, angels and kings milled around on the stage and mumbled their lines.  I sat about three feet away from my little man, who was rubbing his tummy and hissing, "Mummy, I'm hungry", in a stage whisper.  (I did give him his tea before we went.  Obviously not enough).  But oh how wonderful it was.  These are moments to treasure.  Although I am finding his mask slightly unnerving.  Maybe I just watch too much crime fiction...  (I should probably mention that during the play he had it perched on the top of his head, he wasn't required to stumble blindly across the stage.)

Once the little people are in bed I'm doing a little crochet with some lovely wool I found in the local wool shop.  It's somewhere I'm happy to support whenever I can.

I'm making a sleeping bag for a hedgehog, if you can believe that.  The littlest boy is still very fond of soft toys, and I believe that FC may be bringing him a hedgehog.  Hence a blanket or sleeping bag will of course be required (the littlest likes to tuck them up when it's time for bed).  So I'm crocheting as fast as I can whenever I have a moment.  Slightly worried about the lack of days until Christmas.  So that's what I'm off to do now.  Light a couple of candles, watch Marple and crochet like the devil.

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