All the guests have gone now. Zee has gone into work, just for today and the girls have bussed into 'stow to spend their ill-gotten Xmas tokens. So it's just me left to strip the table down to its normal size (by removing two 2.4m lengths of MDF) and generally tidy the place up. The gerberas from the table decoration are way past their best and join the rest of the vegetable waste to be recycled into compost to grow next year's feast. And what a feast it was. The butternut squash with tomatoes and goats cheese was better than ever for being our own squashes (and I will publish the recipe soon I promise). Why anyone wanted a bit of dead pig instead I can't imagine. Still all the more for Zee, Dee, my mother and me.
The left overs are now just a large selection of cheeses.... shame, eh?
So, last night was Little Christmas Eve.
You knew that didn't you? It's a Danish thing apparently.... possibly other Scandiwegian countries do it too? Zee's grandmother (who brought her up in her first few years) was Danish so that's how we know these things.
Anyway, usually on the actual Christmas Eve, we do vaguely Danish things in memory of it all. Only this year we did it last night as Zee's brother's partner is spending Xmas with his family in Newcastle but Ess (Zee's bro) wanted him to experience some of the Planarchy Tower's Danish style Xmas. Thus we started the meal with "Danish Rice Pudding with Almond". Oh, yes.
It's a dish of un-sweetened rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon sugar with a solitary almond hidden in one bowl. The finder of the almond is crowned Almond-King or Queen and wins a prize. I don't know whether this Almond Royalty thing is truly Danish or just another of the weird inventions of Zee's family.
For the next course we were divided into evil-meat-eating-folk and pseudo-veggies (although my brother also chose to eat my veggie dish). Why are we allowing meat-eating in the Planarchy household? A very good question. It is normally only allowed on Christmas Day proper but this seems to have spread to the entire holiday period. To, I hasten to add, my displeasure. Anyway, all nine of us (Dee, Kay, Me, Zee, my brother, one of Zee's brothers, his partner Cee, one of Zee's half-brothers (confusingly called Zee2) and Zee's mother (who is not Zee2's mother BTW) seemed to enjoy the rest of meal. Just as we reached the cheese course Zee2's girlfriend and her father arrived for a drink. Her father had never met any of us before. I'm not sure he really understood the various attempts at explaining the various relationships between everyone else seated round the table.
Upon reflection maybe it's better to do this big meal two days before Christmas.... we now have today to get over it before Xmas Day...... ten of "us" for that one.
Whatever, have a good time........best wishes to all of you out in the wonderful worldwide t'interland.
..and still downunder in spirit.... this is the view of South Island as one crosses from North Island down to the south. I love this journey along the baron coastline. The colours of this old slide have gone a bit funny and the loss of detail has made it look more like a painting than a photo. Still pretty Narnian though I think.
Of course now I post this picture it comes to mind that I may have shown it before. Upon checking I find that ,yes, I showed a scan of the print last Xmas. But this is a new version freshly scanned at 5400dpi from the original neg and then downsized to fit here. Can you see the difference? Of course you can. It was taken in December 2001 in Wanaka EnZee...the Xmas display on top of a camera shop I seem to recall. So now you know.
I don't think I've ever consciously followed a meme before... but I'm bored sat here waiting for a parcel so here goes:
What time did you get up this morning?
Well how do you determine "getting up". It's usually 6:30 when I go down to make hot lemon drinks for Zee and me but this morning Zee got up and made these so I didn't have to get up until 7 when I took Dee her morning cup of tea. I then wake up Kay by turning on her radio, shaking her lightly and turning her bedside lamp on and off (oh how she loves this). I then go back to bed until about 7:25 when Kay comes down demanding my attention for breakfast. The next half hour is filled with journey's up and downstairs to update Dee on the time...
Diamonds or pearls?
WTF? Who cares?
What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
I think it was probably "Pride and Prejudice" but there is a nagging doubt that there may have been something else since...hmmm. Not a bad fillum though.
What is your favourite TV show?
What do you usually have for breakfast?
In the week a banana and a tomato sandwich. Sadly the tomatoes are no longer allotment grown and just aren't the same. I can only imagine what home grown bananas would taste like. On Sundays it's scrambled free range eggs on toast with mushrooms if we're lucky. Can there be a better breakfast?
Italian. Pasta, in a word. I lurve pasta.
With cream, cheeses, garlic, onions, olive oil, courgettes, tomatoes but probably not bananas.
What food do you dislike?
Well, I don't eat dead animals but that's mostly a moral thing rather than taste (though I don't remember liking much of it). Otherwise, brazil nuts and aubergines.
What is your favourite CD at the moment?
"Who's Next" Is it supposed to be something from the current hit parade? Sorry not this week. This one has almost replaced "London Calling" as my most played of all time recently. Truly excellent stuff.
Morning or night person?
Well, I've never been bad at getting up but I think probably I'm better come the afternoon. I'm not sure about "the night" however... I do like to get to bed at a reasonable time these days.
Zee's egg, chive and mayonnaise. Nothing else comes close.
What characteristic do you despise?
I try not to despise anything too much. But greed maybe? Closed minds?
Favourite item of clothing?
Not really bothered about any particular item, but I still like most of them to be black. I do like the comfort of my slippers though. Am I old enough for that? (..bait old enough probably!)
If you could go anywhere in the world on holiday, where would it be?
With my slippers of course.
I also love Greece, New Zealandia and bits of France.
What colour is your bathroom?
White (with a hint of white).
Favourite brand of clothing?
No, don't care about brand names. They're very silly.
Where would you retire to?
Can I go now?
Probably Greece but maybe New Zealand.
What was your most memorable birthday?
Either my twenty-first seeing the Clash at the Lyceum or my fortieth in Barcelona with Mrs.Planarchy. I'm not good on remembering birthdays.
Favourite sport to watch?
Football? I'm really not a sports fan. Football is the only thing I watch at all really.
When is your birthday?
October 25th. Scorpio and Rat.
What is your shoe/slipper size?
Somewhere between an eight and a half and a nine.
The girls have guinea pigs who rely on me for feeding a lot of the time. If we lived somewhere more rural and Dee didn't seem to have an allergy to them I'd have cats. I like cats.
Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us?
My package still hasn't come.
What did you want to be when you were little?
A pilot in the fleet air arm. Or a vicar. I have no recall of wanting to be a vicar but that might be my atheistic reconstructuralist subconscious obscuring the memory. My mother, however, tells me that I came home from my first day at school saying I wanted to be a vicar. Apparently my teacher's husband was a vic and he'd been in helping her out on the first day of school. I expect my mother fainted at the idea. I certainly never wanted to be a microbiologist. But I do recall using a camera at a very young age and being absolutely fascinated by it. This remains.
What is your favourite flower?
Aquilegia. Particularly the natural crosses that occur in the garden that throw up a petal arrangement and colour scheme that one hadn't previously imagined.
What date on the calendar you are looking forward to?
Well all of it. By definition.
Except for Christmas Day. Bah humbug!
One word to describe the person who you snaffled this from?
Errr, I don't really know him well enough to say 'out but Aprosexic.
Made, as far as I could tell, from a single tyre this is a pretty excellent swing, is it not?
My mother's second birthday party was held yesterday at her sister's house in Surrey. Jenny the Shetland pony started the party outside, as you can see... but did come in later. Have I not mentioned that my mother's family are errr, eccentric? Thirty-one folk turned up claiming to be relatives... I have no idea who most of them were as I'm anti sociable type and haven't been to one of these family gatherings for over twenty years. People that I remember as being waist high seem to have produced waist high children in the intervening time.
Oh, and yes, the grey cloud in the full size version of the picture is indeed from that fire.
The only other comments I have on the fire is upon the TV coverage yesterday morning. I came downstairs at about 7am to watch the repeat of "Match of the Day". Instead I found pictures of the fire, with a commentary reflecting how little they new about what was going on ("Well, it's a big fire as you can see.... and there's lots of smoke" etc) .
Luckily I'd taped MOTD on Saturday night. When I finished watching the tape the TV was showing the same pictures with the same completely uninformative vocal accompaniment. They had nothing to say but had still changed the TV schedules to say it. Initially I assumed 'twas a "Broken News" re-run, but no... this was really the best the Beeb could do.
Today is actually my mother's 70th birthday, hence the picture of her at about four and a half with her mother and leetle brother. I don't think I'd ever seen this picture (and two others) until a couple of weeks ago when my mother asked if I could enlarge them. They were a bit creased and scratched (also very small.. only about the size of the thumbnail above). Nevertheless, a few hours in Photoshop and they've come out very nicely even as 6 x 9 inch prints. This one is of her with her brother again but also both sisters (she's the one on the right) and then finally one which I think must be post war with brother, sisters and both mother and father (and another boy) on a beach somewhere. Teen Kay says her father (my grandfather) looks like me.... I don't see it but it's nice to see him as a younger man than I remember. I really do like photographs.
Oh, and last night's meal was wonderful...... a big thank you to little brother DeeJay for taking us all out to such a lovely place. When I say "all" I mean himself, my parents, my sister, her husband and Zee and me. The children (Dee, Kay and my sister's three) were not invited.... as anyone reading Dee's comments from last night might have gathered. It was not a meal that they would have enjoyed (or indeed even eaten I suspect).
This morning my head hurt though....
From Butternut Squash to the even more exotic as this evening, in the first stage of my mother's 70th birthday celebrations, my brother takes us to The Square for supper. Ooo, I see the chef there started off as a microbiologist too. Although he had the sense to ditch it slightly earlier than the nearly 22 years that I did.
Home grown is the target for as much of this year's Xmas dinner as we can manage. Well for the veggies amongst us anyway. Sadly we don't have a goat (yet) to produce the cheese to go with our Butternut Squashes.