Showing posts from December, 2007

A short curmudge

Littlebrowndog's great blog brought me out in such a rash of fellow feeling I thought I would have a very short curmudge myself. Annoying things about Christmas: Supermarkets heaving with people shopping for a month's siege instead of two days. Stop it. People are starving. It is all just going to go off. Idiots queueing at 5.00am on Boxing Day for the Next sale. Haven't they just had a load of stuff? They need more stuff? Christmas lights on houses to rival Blackpool illuminations. Haven't they heard of global warming? How non-essential can you get? Turn it off. Articles in Sunday supplements suggesting the perfect present at £299.99. Excuse me? The first of the nine lessons where Adam says "It was the woman who tempted me" or words to that effect. Grow up. Be a man. Take responsibility. Slade's Merry Christmas shouting at me in shops. Turn it down. Turn it off. The fact that my husband always gets just a little bit cross when we have got to

A short lull

Well everyone came and ate and went and here we are with a short lull in the proceedings until the next lot come tomorrow. I quite like the little interludes. We had twelve for dinner on Christmas Day and rather too many people to seat and feed, although none of the visitors seemed to mind. As is often the case, having planned the food carefully, the best meal of the three days of festive food was on Christmas Eve: Guinness-baked ham, parmesan roast potatoes with fennel and orange salad followed by lemon tart or Chocolate brioche bread and butter pudding, both the puddings made by my mother. Yum. The best part of the Christmas day meal for me was, as it often is, the stuffing, a cranberry and chestnut stuffing roll, wrapped in bacon. As always I cooked sprouts but carefully avoided eating any, the prerogative of age. I never did get to like them through trying them, even decades on. My father believes this is because I never tried enough and gave up trying when I was about twe

A moment's calm

I stopped work for Christmas yesterday and here I am with presents to wrap, food shopping to do and cards to deliver. But for an hour or so this morning I have decided to be still. Soon the house will be full of people and noise but this morning it is quiet. Overnight there has been a hard, hard frost and the valley glitters white in the pale winter sun. Behind the ridge on the far side of the valley the sky is pure and pale. Although the sun is bright the air is still clear and cold and the bird feeders are thronged with birds comng and going, now great tits, now bluetits, now chaffinches. Yesterday I looked out of the kitchen window and thought "My god, there is an eagle in the walnut tree." Just fifty yards away, the walnut tree is over the fence of the side garden just in front of Ian's workshop. Of course it wasn't an eagle, it was a buzzard, but it stayed huge, beautiful, a wild visitor from another world, for fifteen minutes or so. Its feather markings we

A letter to myself

SBS tagged me to write a letter to my thirteen year old self. Hmm, what a self conscious mess she was. Here goes: Dear Liz I wanted to let you know a few things I wish I had known when I was thirteen. I don't suppose you will listen to me because I'm you and I know what you are like. 1. One day you will go out with the older brother of your best friend for whom you have been nursing a passion for months. Eventually you will find him boring and dump him. Incredible eh? 2. There really is no need to shave the fair downy hair on your legs. 3. Your legs, downy or otherwise, are lovely. So is all of you. 4. Your six year old sister, currently either invisible to you or a pain, will become your best friend and lifelong support. 5. One day you will stop blushing (most of the time). 6. Even if you do blush, one day you will be able to speak in front of five hundred people. 7. It really would be a good idea to put aside your fear of looking stupid and learn to skate and ski. If

Christmas shopping

Well, I've done it. For the first time ever in my life I have done all my Christmas shopping with three weeks to go. At least that is the theory. Sadly when I spread everything out all over the bed with my list by my side I discover that what I have actually done is buy a lot of things for me and for people who are like me. Damn it. I always do something like this. I have a general cheery sense in the run up to Christmas that there are quite a number of people to buy for who have very similar likes and dislikes to mine: both older and younger daughter, my mother, my sister. Then, to a slightly lesser extent but still within the comfort zone, my daughter in law and my older niece. So out I go, or in I sit at the computer, and wander around shops or cyberspace thinking "That's an interesting book. Ooh, lovely little evening bag. Mmm, heritage seeds and here's a garden diary. Gorgeous embroidered cushion. Cath Kidston slippers. Provencal soaps. More books.