Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas chez Di

That's all my chickens flown again. It was lovely having everybody here and the time went all too fast. Charlie was the first to go back to work first thing Boxing Day, then Michael onto night shift last night. Paul left for Norway this morning and Rob left for work at the same time. But it was a good Christmas in every way and now I have to make Christmas soup and somehow sort out all the leftovers so we don't end up throwing things away.

The dogs remembered about Christmas too and Jonny doggedly (sorry!) unwrapped his toy and his pig's ear while Jess went completely crazy and didn't know what to do first and ended up losing her pig's ear to Hamish who nipped in when she was distracted. They gorged themselves on leftovers - alas some sprouts were included - and the house smells appallingly of doggy indigestion.

Paul brought a Wii - which is a sort of computer game where you mimic the movements of the various sports. It was such fun and we were all so involved in a game of 'tennis' on Christmas Eve that we almost forgot to go to Midnight Mass and as it was I was so knackered after leaping around the room batting imaginary balls that I was unable to sing much more than a cheep for the first two carols. However, the incense cleared the tubes and by Hark the Herald at the end as we stood round the crib (the rector had to scurry back to the altar for Baby Jesus) and lit the little candle, I was able to screech the descant not too horribly.

All in all it was most satisfactory :)

Friday, December 21, 2007


The Christmas preparations are going suspiciously well. I even checked the gas-tank to make sure we have enough LPG to see us through the holiday - we usually run out about January 1st - and it's almost full. At this time, I always fret until all my chickens are in the nest and under my wing, which is scheduled to be on Christmas Eve when Paul arrives from Nottingham, although his idea of early afternoon tends to be around midnight. Charlie will be working Christmas day - people still need cared for - but he finishes at 3pm, so he'll be a late chicken.

Speaking of chickens, we'll be eating one on Christmas day. Admittedly it's the size of a small ostrich, but turkey is a terrible price this year thanks to the bird-flu, and as some of the brood don't eat it anyway, I decided to go with a lovely free-range chicken and a nice joint of Aberdeen Angus. Now, of course, I don't know whether to do Yorkshire puddings or bread sauce.

Of course it's still Advent and yesterday I had to doctor the Advent wreath up at the church because it's in danger of going up in flames. The purple berries had to be replaced with fresh ones (isn't it useful that such berries grow in the rectory garden? Our rector is a stickler for the proper colours of advent, so not a red berry in sight until Christmas day) and candle number one had to be replaced with candle two, which was replaced with candle four from last year. This will only make sense to those of you who are advent-wreath-savvy, by the way, sorry. I was reminded of our niece, Eilidh's, christening when the advent wreath under the pulpit suddenly caught fire during Rob's father's sermon and for a moment it seemed he was going to disappear in a column of fire like Elijah. Brave Rob beat out the flames and he lived to preach again.

Happy Christmas to all my friends.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Smoke

Well, that's how the other half live! A weekend in the world of the well-heeled has convinced me that I could get used to it. If you discount the eight hours spent in a white van - admittedly full of art and good wine - my sojourn in London was about as far away from real life as I've been for a while. Rob's friend Bill has a new pad overlooking Chelsea's football pitch (which isn't in Chelsea, but in Fulham and is called Stamford Bridge). He reckons he got it cheap because of the location, but for someone who enjoys footie, having a grandstand view of the pitch from your living room is a bonus and the place formerly belonged to the club director so it's not exactly a rat-hole. Apparently if it was a few hundred yards up the road - in Chelsea - it'd be worth six million. As it is, you insert your special key into the ninth floor button of the lift and it takes you right into the flat. Cool huh?

I spent Saturday on a shop-crawl round Harvey Nick's and Harrods and all manner of designer shops in Knightsbridge, which were all within walking distance. All good fun, although I didn't buy much except for a gold-plated bagel (costing £9!!) for lunch. The hotel was the sort of place that turns down your bed for you in the evening and leaves a half bottle of champagne as a welcome (I brought it home) and a chocolate on the pillow. Lucky for me I'd recently bought a good coat so I didn't feel too much of a scruff. We dined in gastro-pubs and bistros along with half the population - does nobody eat in down there?

Bill showed me how to solve the super-fiendish sudoku too. He has a formidable talent for such things, which is probably why he's such a good bridge player, which is why he lives in a posh pad and collects art and puts up his guests in a luxury to which they are not accustomed (but could become so!). Oh well, it was nice to come home to the doggies and the messy house. I think this is more my style after all.