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A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.
-Mary Sarton

Twelve of Twelvetide

It strikes me as distinctly odd that we pack away Christmas on Epiphany as though a film director shouts: “That’s it, the Kings have arrived. Cut. It’s a wrap”. 1  Surely instead there should be twelve drummers drumming, an announcement and a lingering over the import of the visitation from such august company?   Time for the visitors to refresh themselves, give gifts and narrate the events of their incredible journeying from the Orient.  Eliot imaginatively captures the cold, discomforts and doubts that accompany the Magi:

“…A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly…”

nativity three kings This nativity scene adorns the window frontage of a Bloomsbury funeral director. Superstitiously I hesitate to linger here for fear that Death might mistake me for a volunteer though I’m drawn to gaze and ponder on this scene. And thus the Magi continue their narrative:

“…were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death,
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here” 2

We mourn the old, the past, the known just as we welcome the youthful future and its promises. My major resolutions had already been made, coincidental with the Jewish New Year in September when circumstances meant I was longer able to tend the garden here and when I also decided to stop smoking. In their place I’ve sought other outlets and thus the emphasis for 2012 is (drum roll please…)


I’m adding this as a new category on the blog to feature my latest hobby of running/jogging round the Bloomsbury squares as well as the volunteering work I’ve started with the London Wildlife trust. 3 It will be tied in with walks and other healthy outlets and still with an eye for plants and gardening.

Arts & Crafts

canon printerCrafts are tagged on to my Arts category since  I can now do my own desktop publishing of photos, cards, calendars etc. This Ferrari of printers was a Christmas gift from my children/granddaughter and I love them for it…and for all they are and do :)
12 days of christmas card


None of these abilities are any use without the glue of perseverance. True I’m a bit of a butterfly but in this Chinese year of the dragon, my 60th too, I shall muster strength and determination. Posting every day of this Twelvetide has been a trifle taxing but entertaining and as a result here is a Christmas card in the making for next year!

Thank you each and every one who stopped by this twelvetide, to Janet@planticrunotes  for the Liebster award and especially to Diana for leaping my blog into her 10 choices and for hosting these Twelve Days of Christmas.

1. the Eastern Orthodoxy of Russians, Serbians and Armenians start Christmas celebration on 6th Jan because they are following their own star as it were in the form of the old Julian calendar as opposed to the Western Gregorian one
2.T.S. Eliot The Journey of the Magi
3. London Wildlife Trust ‘Budding Together’
©Copyright 2011 Laura Thomas.
All rights reserved. Content created by Laura Thomas @PatioPatch

21 comments to Twelve of Twelvetide

  • Congrats on your twelve days. I never could find to do it. I was amazed at those doing 30 days. I have that printer, if it is the same Canon, it is very testy. I set it up to be wireless and it really is picky about when it wants to work. Hope yours is purring like a kitten. I hope too that your resolutions work out. It is always hardest to keep them going through a year. I really like the mosaic you made with the twelve day images. It looks like a poster.
    Donna read my post..Welcome to the Aerial BalletMy Profile

  • Laura, it’s been a fascinating 12 day journey with you. I’m impressed that you’re going running and unless you’re going to wear blinkers I’ll bet you will keep stopping to look at things.
    Looks as if your new printer is very swish. Will it burst into song too? here’s to the Chinese Year of the Dragon. We’ll be able to get new Tai Chi t-shirts with a dragon on them…
    Janet at Planticru Notes read my post..Texture and pattern…….My Profile

  • Eagerly awaiting the first instalment of the London Wildlife Trust! 30 days in November would put me off blogging for ever, but 12, that was a rewarding challenge. Thanks for being my comrade on this marathon!
    Elephant’s Eye read my post..The Twelfth Day of ChristmasMy Profile

  • A lovely series. Very impressed at your running (I just don’t seem to have the rhythm!), and pleased that you have so many new outlets to explore for your creativity.
    S x
    hillwards read my post..All The Small ThingsMy Profile

  • I struggle to blog twice a week and think i’m already lagging behind this year! Loved your twelvtide, you must be ready for a rest now…time to play with your new, much deserved, Christmas present!
    Catherine read my post..New Year AwakeningMy Profile

  • I’ve really enjoyed your take on these 12 days. I hadn’t thought about us cutting off Christmas a bit too early, but you’re absolutely correct! Good luck with all your new resolutions! Love your pic of the Nativity scene. Funny that you were afraid to stand there too long!
    HolleyGarden read my post..A Big AnnouncementMy Profile

  • We don’t take our tree down until the end of January at the earliest. It was fresh cut and stays beautiful and green. It brings people to the living room to sit by the fire and play games or read. Have you ever read The Story of the Other Wiseman by Henry Van Dyke in i896? It questions whether the three wisemen really represent the values of Christmas and introduces a fourth. I have always found it very moving.
    Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens read my post..Cutting Back HelleboresMy Profile

  • Laura I have enjoyed the 12 Days of Christmas…I do not put my decorations away until I feel it is time…not time yet…but I also have some up all yr like many Santas. Great emphasis for 2012…I can’t wait to tune in for updates on activities and arts!!
    Donna@Gardens Eye View read my post..Gardens Eye Verse-JanuaryMy Profile

  • Laura – I have thoroughly enjoyed your Twelvetide. Your nativity photo is mesmerising. I thought you had done something fancy in photoshop, until I read it was a reflection in a window.

    Jogging was my last year’s resolution. I recommend “parkruns” – slogging along with others helps. Unfortunately, I missed it one week, lost momentum then stopped. My body is proof that muscle turns to fat (or something floppy) if not excercised.
    b-a-g read my post..New Beginnings (01 JAN 2012)My Profile

  • Hi Laura,you have been so busy whilst I have been doing very little. Stopped smoking, started running is there no end to it. Keep up the good work, I knew you wouldn’t be down for long, have a great year, alistair.
    Alistair read my post..Buphthalmum salicifoliumMy Profile

  • Well done Laura for completing this marathon task….perhaps it will be a different kind of marathon next year :)
    Love the Wildlife Trust….I am a member of the Kent branch. They do some wonderful work.
    I visited Hothfield bog last week and saw the cattle working the land……..I believe they are an old breed. They introduce them each winter…it is all to do with restoration of the site. Fascinating.

    I turned 60 last year….it is only a number, it is how you feel that is important.

  • Impressed with the running. I had a go last year but the fact that you can’t run without going very steeply uphill, in one direction or the other, was a real killer. I am walking instead.
    welshhillsagain read my post..End of month view for December and what is in flower on 2nd JanuaryMy Profile

  • 2 times usually optimum for me Catherine, especially now I have my new toy ;)
    - think we should extend to twentytide then perhaps Holley & even more of a daily post challenge
    - assumed we all packed Christmas away. The tree lure sounds like an invite to your house Carolyn!
    - another Christmasy extender Donna. Is it only in the USA I wonder?
    - photo straight from camera for a change b-a-g. Put on your running shoes again and ditch the excess baggage!
    - thanks for the good wishes Alistair. I was down but not quite out
    - round the squares feels like a marathon at mo Cheryl but who knows what turning 60 will do. Keep you posted re the LWT
    - I’d walk in Wales too WHA!

  • Love that Nativity it reminds me so much of childhood. Can’t wait to hear how the printing projects go, am considering getting one myself…….would add another dimension. What a great series too!
    Foxglove Lane read my post..On a grey January day dreaming of an old Irish poemMy Profile

  • I took my decorations down gradually this year over three days to soften the blow. The house looks so bare when they are packed away and there are no tree lights brightening the corner up.

    Looking forward to hearing about your work with the Wildlife Trust and I’m very impressed with your running. I’m sticking to walking and swimming though. I’ve flirted with running and my knees hurt too much!
    wellywoman read my post..Back on the PlotMy Profile

  • Running? Not gardening that garden? Throwing in nativity scenes and scraps of Elliot? Wish I had sent you picture of knitted nativity from a fram window aaaaaaah next time. Love your printer what a present but also loved that fat envelope.tanti tanti auguri xx
    catharinehoward read my post..Plantaholic POST:My Profile

  • - your images deserve printing FL
    - my knees hurt running or Tai chiing WW.
    - knitted nativity next year Catharine ? And you could be getting the 12 days :)