Monday, 31 December 2012

Room For Improvement

I've got a lamentable record as far as keeping New Year Resolutions , so this year I've rethought the whole thing .
I've decided just to concentrate on a couple of things where there is room for improvement ( yes , I know there are several areas that could be tweaked ... but to have any chance of success it's better to be realistic ) . So here goes ....
1 ) Remember this at all times , flossing with fervour every night , even when on holiday 

2 ) Play that wretched Pilates DVD at least once and remember that a lady never slouches

3 ) Surprise family and friends with unusual vegetables

Oh yes , and
4 ) Read even more vintage cookery books . These illustrations , from Economical , Easy & Tasty Fish Recipes and Countess Morphy's veg book , came in a packet of four such treasures from Smitonius and Partner , beautifully wrapped for Christmas .
Meanwhile , A Happy New Year to you all from Smitonius and me ! I hope 2013 is kind to us all .

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas 2012

Every Christmas is the same and every Christmas is different .
Some things never change ... mountains of spare ribs on Christmas Eve , turkey , and just rescuing the Christmas pud. before it boils dry. Stockings , too many olives , television , the lights fusing , lots of 'phone calls and the firm intention of going for a walk ... in just a minute . Exotic biscuits , running out of clean mugs again , pistachio shells  underfoot , a strange new gadget , and new cookery books .
This year for a change , we added a bit of slapstick to it all in the shape of toast  . Sitting in the kitchen , pondering with Youngest Daughter when the best time was to put the turkey in the oven , I suddenly noticed that she had smoke coming out of her ears ....
It took a second to realise that it was coming from the toaster right behind her . As she jumped up having smelled the charring and popped up the smouldering  remains , I switched on the extractor fan , she opened the front and back doors , I ran with the two black rectangles to the Green bin  , and the smoke alarm kicked in . That's the smoke alarm which is up at ceiling level in our very high ceilinged hall .... the one that neither of us could reach to switch off .
Resourceful to a fault she leapt about underneath it , swatting at it with a mop till she'd knocked it off the ceiling and stopped the noise , I waved weakly at the neighbour across the street and closed the front door and Husband appeared wondering what we were up to  .
Coffee restored the calm ,  our presents were lovely and lunch was delicious , if a little late . Husband  spent a bemused half-hour reading the instruction leaflet from his Build Your Own Banjo kit from Middle Daughter , YD buried herself in Giorgio Locatelli's Made In Sicily and I got acquainted with Johnny Depp courtesy of Smitonius and Partner ....

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Odd Bit Of Christmas Music

Sonata :
It still seems a little unreal this year but it's nearly Christmas ! Not that the music so far has been much of a clue . All the shops in town seem to subscribe to the same muzak channel which plays every Christmas song Dolly Parton's ever sung with a occasional guest appearance from Kenny Rogers .
 On a street corner , there was a man playing "Jingle Bells " very slowly on a penny whistle and an unlikely chap in the pharmacy this afternoon started " O , Denneboom   ... " until silenced with a look by the pharmacist . Well , I could see her point ... he might have had the odd mulled wine or two since lunch
 But the only Christmas song worth listening to so far has been from Elder Grandson ...
"We're singing carols for the Nativity play at school "
"How lovely ! Could you sing one for me ? "
" Well , I don't know , it's very long ... and a bit rude "
"Oh ? And you're singing it for the Nativity play ? "
"Yes , we all are , even though it's a bit long and not very polite "
"Well , I'd love to hear it "
Huge intake of breath ...
" We wish you a Merry Christmas,
 We wish you a Merry Christmas,
 We wish you a Merry Christmas ,
 And a Happy New Year  ...
 Good tidings we bring ,
 To you and your kin ,
 We wish you a Mery Christmas ,  And A Happy New Year

Another huge intake of breath ..." This is the rude bit now , Granny ! "

"Now bring us some figgy pudding ,
 Now bring us some figgy pudding ,
 Now bring us some figgy pudding
 And bring some right here ...

Another deep breath ...

"And we won't go until we've got some ,
 And we won't go until we've got some ,
 And we won't go until we've got some ,
 So bring some right here ....

see , I did tell  you it was a bit rude . "
I hope a big part of him stays five for ever .

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

To Be Honest , Left to Myself .....

 I'd probably have chosen to have a cat but somehow we seem instead to have been adopted by a butterfly . A red one . Yes , in December ....
He spends all day in the sitting room , snoozing and staring out of the window and flies around a lot in the evening . He's very companionable , sitting next to me on the sofa

 peering over occasionally to see if I'm as keen on the television programme as he is . He really likes the news and the impending Royal birth is of particular interest  . He flies over and sits on the screen for the updates , though that might have more to do with all the flash photography every time anyone comes out of the hospital .
Before the Dutch version of the RSPCA get too worried in case I'm about to make a habit of enticing wild life into the house , I should really point out that I haven't kidnapped him and if I could persuade him to hibernate till it was safe for him to leave again I would . But I suspect he's like the dried one I found in the cupboard upstairs in the summer , seasonally challenged . He wouldn't like it outside today anyway .
There's a wonderfully swirling snow storm and freezing slush out there . In here there's stew , stoofperen and wine , the house smells of cloves and there're are Christmas cards to write . And for B'fly  there's a bowl of water and the promise of another Paparazzi extravagaza on the News at Ten .