Yes, I know it is still early, but we are in full swing here. Tonight, I made the gravy for Christmas dinner, which will be frozen and then taken with us when we go to visit family on Christmas Day. It is a vegetarian gravy recipe I have never used before but I’m hopeful it will be perfect on the day. I nearly fell at the first hurdle though, when I realised I needed leeks for it. It was 6pm and dark. “D – I need a leek” was always going to be an interesting conversation. Five minutes later, we were both tramping up the garden in the rain, so that I could hold the torch while D located suitable leeks in the veg patch, pulled them up and trimmed them, putting the waste straight into the compost bin. The rosemary also came from the garden, although sadly we had to buy thyme and carrots. Our own thyme has not survived, being totally trampled by the chocolate mint, which grew like crazy throughout the summer. It’s a cut-throat world, that herb garden!
The kitchen soon smelled beautifully of roasted vegetables, garlic and fragrant herbs, which I then simmered in stock and cider. Once strained and reduced, it suddenly became a delicious gravy. It is now tucked into the freezer, waiting to be joined tomorrow by the cranberry and chestnut stuffing.
In spite of all the “help” from the cats, most of the gifts are now wrapped. We made sure we waited until they were asleep before we wrapped theirs. Just for a second, common sense prevailed. “Am I totally daft, wrapping presents for the cats?” I asked D. “Maybe”, was the answer “but let’s do it anyway. It wouldn’t feel right when we all open our stockings together on Christmas morning if their presents weren’t wrapped.” We remembered that last year, our first in the house, they received a toy that they both wanted and there was a real battle on the bed. We have learned this year, and have enough of the same toys to hopefully keep them both happy. Cats and small children – there are lots of similarities.
Mind you, the Calamity Cat is still keen to earn her keep. The logs have been inspected and the coal bunker is so full, she can’t get into it to check that is all satisfactory, so she has had to look for other employment. She has been catching up on the blog and was fascinated to hear about Sonny, Nina’s feline office assistant, who dropped in as a guest some weeks ago. “Hmm,” she thought, “that’s a job I haven’t tried yet”. She gave it a go, but supervising D all became too much quite quickly.
Next week, I am up in Scotland, enjoying an office Christmas with a Secret Santa and undoubtedly enough decorations up to make our twinkly Christmas tree look dull. My colleagues really know how to do Christmas! And then once I am back, it will be Christmas Eve and I will be all excited, waiting for Father Christmas to come down the chimney. We are hoping he’ll pick the dining room one, or it might be a bit warm for him! We have hung the stockings in there so hopefully he will know where he is going. We’ll be leaving a mince pie or two for him too, and a glass of home-made bramble wine. If anyone follows my Facebook page, you will know that we visited D’s family last weekend and one of his sisters gave us a bottle of wine that she had made. It seems fitting that even Santa will be getting home-brewed wine from us, even if not made by us.
So, I will be taking the next two weeks off from the blog, and I will see you all again in 2017. On behalf of myself, D and both the cats, I wish you a very happy, peaceful Christmas and a wonderful New Year!