Wednesday, 25 December 2013

The Pickled Walnut Dilemma

Ah. All calm. All quiet. Frenzy over. Christmas Eve, the kids are asleep and I've got my feet up. My Beloved is playing Command and Conquer. One cat is looking a bit twitchetty and the other is sitting in an empty Amazon box, partly-chewed. The box that is, not the cat. The cat was at the vet today getting a jab and is feeling a bit sorry for himself. The same cat knocked the Christmas tree down the other day (he doesn't understand that he's Too Big now), so now the tree is weighed down with a suit of chainmail.  Which is the kind of thing we have lying around.

I made the Christmas cake last week, marzipanned it yesterday and should have iced it today but it didn't happen. It was never going to happen. I don't know why I ever thought it would. I ended up taking the kids for a longish walk in the dark and the cold and the wind and the wet at half past seven tonight to wear them out a bit as they'd been stuck mostly indoors for the last couple of days. The wind had dropped a bit this evening to what those of us from the icy north call 'a bit breezy' and the media call the End of the World. By the time we got home the kids were still hop-skip-and-jumping and racing each other to lamp posts, while I was flagging somewhat. Still, they went off to bed quite readily and are snoring happily. Or that may be one of the cats.

I was moderately organised this year. I didn't bite off more than I could chew with Christmas knitting. I bought Christmas cards in October (then put them in a cupboard and forgot about them until mid-December). I panic-bought more wrapping-paper than you can shake a stick at, should you so desire and I've really no idea why you should, and this evening found all the unused wrapping paper from last year. I had sellotape, gift tags and sticky labels all prepared. I had a brief panic when I couldn't find a present I distinctly recalled wrapping, then found it in the Amazon box that the cat is sitting in. And now it's all done! Well apart from icing the cake.

We don't really go over the top with food at Christmas - fairly generous portions but we don't feel the need to go for the full-on multiple-course feasting that others seem to do. We're probably having curry for Christmas dinner, except the Boy who is having pizza. We had roast chicken this evening so we've done the roast thing without being burdened by tradition or sprouts.

At this time of year I love to indulge my addiction to magazines and entertain myself with their outlandish ideas of what is desirable and necessary in the perfect Christmas. I notice that the perfect Christmas rarely involves the cat knocking over the Christmas tree, by the way.  Cats are allowed to look peaceful and sleepy and nothing else in magazine photo-shoots.  Occasionally you'll see a picture with a cat glaring at the photographer from behind a chair and you know the photographer hadn't spotted it and the editor is too distracted by the Farrow & Ball paintwork to notice.

This year's 'They're joking surely?' award for Christmas writing in magazines goes to this gem:

Apparently pickled walnuts are a storecupboard (not usually one word?) essential! What will I do? I don't have any! The shops are shut!  In fact, I've never had any! Ever! I must be failing at something, everything! And look - I need artisan honey! Are the bees the artisans? Do they wear smocks?

I should possibly point out that in one of those 'how .... are you?' Buzzfeed quizzes that was doing the rounds on Facebook, I came out as 0% middle-class. Zero. Maybe I'm too chavvy for pickled walnuts. I prefer to think that I'm just too posh for that quiz. Think I might be the Queen.

Ooh, it's 00:00, it's Christmas in this time-zone. Think I'll go to bed.  Season's Greetings of whatever flavour to you all!

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