More soup. Carrot and Lentil today, plus a few bits of parsnip, sweet potato and chickpea that were hanging about after being surplus to to other recipes. My favourite soups all seem to be orange.
In the evening we had salmon with stir-fried veg. I am not fond of fish, and the oily fish I am supposed to eat for health reasons is amongst the worst of the fish, well, except for rock salmon, hake, basa, sardines and kippers. And eels and pike. Actually, it’s not too bad when you think about it . . . Tuna is no longer an oily fish, according to the NHS, though it is still listed on other sites. Typical that the only palatable oily fish has been removed.
I have never particularly liked fish with bones in, like sardines and kippers, and after the incident with the fishbone in my school dinner I have always tried to avoid them.
The Winter Menu starts tomorrow, with multi-vegetable corned beef hash. This year I will not be slathering it in brown sauce as I am cutting down on pickles to reduce my salt and sugar intake. I have also ordered cheese footballs with the TESCO shopping on Saturday. It’s more expensive and less efficient than ASDA but there are some things I specifically want from them.
Christmas cannot proceed without cheese footballs,, and once they are ordered Christmas has officially started. It’s a bit early, but they are in, and I don’t want to risk the smooth running of Christmas.
Christmas is in the bag. There are a few things left, but the essentials are in place and we are ready to go. I’m beyond worrying about the quality of the turkey – all I want is a stress-free Christmas and now we have the essentials there is no stress. It won’t be the best turkey we’ve ever had, but it’s in the freezer and Christmas dinner is guaranteed. It might be badly cooked, or burned, but it will be a traditional turkey disaster, and I will have done my job.
At one time I used to shop for a siege, but the shops will be open on Boxing Day so there really is no need to stock up. I may put some bread in the freezer, but that’s the limit of my extra buying.
Cards are delivered or in the post and a few small gifts for my co-workers are in place.
It is now 9.00 and Julia has just come back from seeing a neighbour. I am going to serve the evening meal now and bask in the smug satisfaction of knowing that if Christmas were to be moved forward, I am ready.
And as I write that I realise I haven’t bought the cheese…
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Edward Lear Stamps (1988)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The pictures are minisheets of stamps – an extra way of making collectors buy more. They are buses, the Royal Family, Industrial Archaeology and Edward Lear. If we have room we just stick them on envelopes complete. Yesterdays’s collection is today’s postage, just as yesterday’s news is today’s chip wrapper.
Today’s poem is a cheery number that repeats that thought, though more elegantly, and with much more Latin than is usual in one of my posts.
Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam
The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long. –Horace
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter, Love and desire and hate: I think they have no portion in us after We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream Our path emerges for a while, then closes Within a dream.
After several abortive attempts at writing today’s post I decided it wasn’t depression or politics, or even the crush of ideas and bitterness that was preventing me writing – it was trying to use the netbook on my knee while I sat by the fire.
Just after 10.30 I stepped through to the dining room with the intention of sitting down and sorting myself out.
It didn’t happen -there were comments to read and reply to and sandwiches to make for tomorrow. Finally there was washing up. Yes, washing up seemed preferable to sitting down and blogging.
I now have around 20 minutes to post and keep to my target of daily posting. I’m now limited by the time, and by the fact that I am slowly getting colder. Eventually, based on past experience, I will get so cold that I stop thinking. This is’t a bad thing because since the election I’ve mainly been thinking that everything is a complete mess. I have had to discard several posts because they were a bit too serious, and probably a bit too libellous. It’s one thing saying something to Julia, or shouting it at the TV, but once you write it down you have to prove it.
We had Hasselback potatoes again today. I was a little more relaxed with the cutting, and it did not go as well as the first lot. This is often the way with the second in a series. I tried the stir fried sprouts again too, this time with added chestnuts. I’m intending to have it at Christmas. We have settled on turkey for Christmas this year (as we have done for about the last fifteen years). We will also have roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, stuffing, bread sauce, redcurrant jelly and Yorkshire puddings.
I just noticed it’s gone midnight…
I know Yorkshire puddings aren’t traditional but Julia likes them so they are traditional for us. Personally, I’d rather have beef, pork or gammon. If anyone had suggested a nut roast I’d probably have gone for that. Even a goose. They are greasy but traditional.
It was the kids who got us back onto turkey – we’d been having beef or pork for years but they started to ask for turkey because all their friends had turkey. Now it’s become a habit. It’s not so bad now that you can buy a small crown roast – enough for a meal and a few sandwiches. Much better than the days of turkey curry, turkey stir fry and, finally, turkey soup.
I’ve started the Christmas shopping list and tomorrow I start the shopping. I’ll probably also start moaning about Christmas tomorrow.
Strictly speaking, our Christmas starts when I buy the cheese footballs. This is normally when they first appear in the Shops in Autumn, as it can be touch and go nearer to the day. I’m surprised, on looking for links, that I only seem to have mentioned them twice over the years as they are an important part of Christmas.
First the cheese footballs, then the ancient Santa card I bought Julia for our first Christmas. (I’ve also bought her one every year since, in case you are wondering), then the shopping.
The two pictures from the archives sum up the full horror of the forced jollity of Christmas, and the silent fury of a man who, having realised that he has wasted his life on trivia, will never break the bank at Monte Carlo, win a Nobel prize or, in all probability, look down and see his feet again.
Time, I think, in my tour of British poets, to turn to Dylan Thomas. I’m sure you know the one I’m thinking of. I am, after all, a man of habit and small learning.
It’s a New Year, and I’m having a struggle with finding a suitable title. So far, then, there is little difference between 2016 and 2017.
You can tell the holiday is over because we took the boys back today, one to Victorian splendour in Leeds (where he has a flat in a listed building) and the other to student squalor in Sheffield. Julia is currently sitting and looking lost – she says it’s too quiet.
That’s not actually our normal measure of the ending of the holidays. The official start of our Christmas is the day we buy the cheese footballs, and the official end is when we finish them. We finished the last few tonight, on our return from Leeds.
I’m not really sure how we came to develop this “tradition” – Julia asked me to get them for our first christmas together and it grew from there. Does anyone else have family Christmas traditions? We can’t be the only ones.
The start of a new year is always a tempting time for resolutions but I have a poor record with resolutions so all I’m saying this year is that I’m going to take a positive attitude to things.
I was going to try posting every day but I’m already an hour and a quarter late for that.
As for the weight loss/health resolution – see my previous comments on cheese footballs.
The beauty of looking on the bright side is that I enjoyed the cheese footballs.