Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Despite being later than usual

Christmas Dinner and all the components of therein went remarkably to plan and pretty smoothly.  Somewhere along the line there is usually an accident or something that happens but yesterday in the greater scheme of things it was a smooth run.  The bird came out succulent and moist, stuffing was tasty as were the accompaniments.  OH said it more than made up for me not being able to cook last year.  I am not sure whether that is flattery or relief a not having to cook it!  I enjoyed as well.  We are having cold meats and pie with stuffing and pigs in blankets with pickles and chutneys later.  There is plenty of meat which is not going to go to waste.  I am going to package some up in the freezer with some gravy so that we have a Turkey meal now and then and some for eating over the next couple of days as part of the pick n mix.  There is of course the gammon as well.  When most of the Turkey is eaten I will then probably cook a very small joint of beef to use as cold cuts as well.  Waste not want not but you still need to be able to eat and being as this is now my time this will do very nicely.  I can always cook up some veggies and make bubble n squeak or baked potatoes with coleslaw to accompany.  There is always something that can be had.

In the greater scheme of things we do not do too badly but I do not like wasting stuff.  What is left of the Cranberry and Grand Marnier sauce has also found its way into the freezer.  There is already Bread sauce in there.

I am sat here typing this whilst enjoying a saucer (not sure if that is the correct term one of those very large cups) of Mazawatti-coffee  - coffee with a tot of rum in it and that is gradually oiling the wheels.

I sent the usual Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and plum bread to my brother and his family.  We did not stay long  -  we normally nip in and have a good chat but because of the colds we both have I did not want them being ill as this really has been a stinker. OH is still not quite out of the woods - I am getting there but I think that is down to the fact that I went to see the Doctor as soon as my chest started to tighten which is a signature with me that something needs sorting.  If I ignore that tightness that is when the problems occur and I am glad they decided to prescribe me with antibiotics.

Apparently, my brother says that the Christmas pudding was lovely  - we have not had ours yet.  Maybe later or tomorrow.  It is not spoiling.

The Christmas cake is on the agenda for today. I used the moulded icing again, which I am not used to working with - I think it is going to be Royal Icing next year - it is what we are used to and I find it easier to handle in the greater scheme of things, this being the medium I most used to. So little bruv you will get lots of sticky icing next year.  Although I do have designs on the moulded icing which will come to fruition during next year's Christmas preparations.

The plum bread came up well in that it rose a fair bit during cooking I am just hoping that it is more than okay on the taste.  The dough mixture does have a tendency to split - used to for my mum as well and I am wondering if it is because the mixture is a little too wet.  Will have to work on this as it is bugging me and this is something that we all love (well my birth family i.e. my brother, his wife, and my two wonderful nephews).  We usually serve this spread with butter a good chunk of cheddar and a Cox's apple.  It goes down really well with a nice large cup or mug of tea.  My brother was quite happy when he realised that I had done the Plum bread as well. Just hope it lives up to expectations.  It is always the better for keeping long term as it is like a fruit cake it matures with time.  The plum bread is pretty much a custom of our roots and our forebears before us and it is not quite Christmas unless this is on the plate.

I love all of my family very much and my greatest grief at the moment is that this house is not really big enough for entertaining and I just love entertaining and looking after everybody.  The dining room table will seat 8 but it is more than a little tight where it is at the moment so at best it would probably on seat 8.  The front room will only seat about 5.  But you have to make the best of what you have.  Ideally as one of the Christmas adverts said this year what did you wish for, for Christmas and one lady asked for everyone to be around the same table.  That is my long term wish as well in the dream house with enough space to fit everyone one and everything in.   It will happen - one day!  Its just finding the way to achieve it that evades me at present.  I do have a great faith though in that everything happens in its own time and for the right reasons.

We have just had round two of the cold cuts and they have gone down very nicely.  OH received a raft of different chilli based bits and bobs, some different chutneys so that has set him up nicely.  He likes chilli based things which I am not so keen on but he has been told that if there is anything that specifically ticks all the boxes for him to let me know and I will see if I can come up with a recipe.

We are very lucky in the greater scheme of things, but I do still have compassion for those who are less well off than us.   That could be me out there.  I have been there before and I know how lucky we are and that it is down to so many other factors as to your standard of living these days.  It could all change on the turn of a coin.  I personally have given to the local food bank scheme on a regular basis via my local Co-Op, an animal charity and the Salvation Army this year as there is more poverty in this country than there should be and it is not down to age but circumstance. I have donated because we have been in a similar position and I do not think that this should be happening in this country at all and if I can help a little then I will.  I think in many respects we all have a responsibility for helping others by and making sure they learn and are better able to provide for themselves in the long   Generally speaking most people who need the help just need a bit of help to turn things around a bit of support when they need it the most and are pulling their hair out not knowing where to turn. I know that feeling well.

It bothers me because there are three basics in life that we need to survive and some people are better equipped than others at coping and dealing with the same.  A roof over our heads, heat and warmth and food in our bellies.  Why not send the overdues at the stores to the families and people that need it most.  Not being able to have electric or gas to cook a meal and yet have the food to cook kind of hamstrings a situation.  Surely these power companies could actually help out here.  I think they have as much of a social responsibility as others in the greater scheme of things. I think a lot of big business does as it milks us all terribly of our hard earned pennies when it wants to.  If people do not know how to cook and make the most of simple ingredients rather than sending for a takeaway or looking at items that will not provide long term benefits then provide the classes, teach people what they need to know so that they can make the best of their situations and feed their families.  The only hope I have is that if I indirectly help someone that they in turn will help someone in a similar situation and pay it forward to someone else.

For me I think being well off is having the skills and/or the inclination to achieve something no matter what rather than physical material things.  That to me is the important thing as if you can create you can come up with something that will provide a need or something to get by with.  That is how I started off my journey being brought up in a family that was wealthy in many other respects but cash poor (or at least our side) so we made our own solutions. It is the way that we were raised to make the best of the good and the bad times as in each situation there is a lesson even if it is showing that there is a way through and a way to get by. Something always turned up or things would drop into place.  We had no option stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.  British ingenuity at its best and at a fraction of the cost.

On the creativity front I am hell bent on having a go at doing stuff up - but I have no room for some of the pieces so I am having to hold that in abeyance for the time being.  I am veering more and more to older pieces of furniture as they have a uniqueness and integrity all of their own.  It has been particularly difficult as the local charity shop has had some lovely antique pieces in at silly prices; a little pine drop leaf bureau for £35 but it had already been sold by the time that I saw it.  A small card table for £60 which was lovely and in immaculate condition.  Even though the original green baize had been replaced it was still a lovely piece and very much a bargain.  Everything comes to those that wait!

Right now I need to get to grips with  my embroidery machine and my general machine for the patchwork.  These two disciplines have been on my card for a long time.  OH is back to work tomorrow so I am hoping to set to tomorrow.  the patchwork pre-dates the embroidery and I have two jelly rolls of Christmas prints and also some cream fabrics to turn them into a couple of Christmas throws to also go with my Christmas blankets that I bought up in the run up to Christmas.  I want everything warm and cosy and snuggly.  I also intend to use recycled materials where I can as well as some new fabrics and sale fabrics.  It is very much going to be a learning curve.  I also want to get stuck in again on my my hand hexie patchwork which has been left for a while and needs reviving amongst other things.

Right I am off to potter.  Catch you soon and enjoy the rest of the Christmas celebrations.

Catch you soon.



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Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)