Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas is coming - and we're all getting fat!

Yesterday was the Pensioners' Lunch Club Christmas Party and it wasn't just the turkey that got stuffed, I'm sure I've grown at least two inches around the middle. (Note to self, remember to wear elasticated waistband next year!). We entertained about a hundred - full roast dinner, crackers, carol singers, the works. I was made responsible for the bread sauce - all twelve pints of it!

Today is a day of calm before the family Christmas rush. The candlelit service in our church is always beautiful, I'm not sure how many candles there are, but there must be at least a thousand, and maybe more. We all arrive early, brimful of anticipation and the church is filled with excited rustlings, chatter and last minute arrangements before the electric lights are turned off to reveal the candles in all their glory. As the choir enter with the traditional "Once in Royal David's City" solo, a shiver runs down my spine and I know that Christmas is really here again.

This is the puppy's first Christmas and he's not sure what's happening. Obviously the tree is a wonderful new chew toy designed for nibbling at, and the lower branches have all been pruned by his sharp teeth to probably about half of their original length. (well, he is a Newfoundland and puppy size equates to 8 1/2 stone!) These enthusastic, if misguided, canine attempts to master the art of topiary have made the tree look rather odd. I haven't dared to put the presents under it yet, as I don't think he will understand the concept of "Not for you" and "Wait until Christmas Day." All much too tempting. Amy has seen it all before of course, and has taken to hanging knowingly around the kitchen in the hope of securing additional titbits as I mix, stir and bake ready for everyone's arrival.

Off to Bath tomorrow for the rugby (husband), last minute shopping (me) and long rambling conversations in the pub with friends (both). Rather excited - I haven't left Devon for months and a foray into deepest Somerset & Avon feels a bit like going abroad!

Sprouts? I don't do sprouts.

We're all very busy in the village at present. Tonight was carol-singing round our village Christmas tree. Carol sheets, silver band, frosty fingers and toasty toes, mulled wine and mince pies in the local pub afterwards - what could be better? We're very proud of our tree this year, adjacent villages have only white or blue lights, but ours are multi-coloured and flashing. Not perhaps in the best possible taste, but cheerful and we love them.

The easterly wind is bringing many complaints in the queue at the village shop in the mornings. "Cuts through you," "like a knife" and other such comments were exchanged as we all waited to pay for our morning papers. As usual I had left Amy, my Newfoundland dog, outside the shop. Not tied up - that's beneath her dignity, she prefers to be able to meet and greet all the shoppers on their way in and out. She loves this weather, her coat is so thick and fuzzy. The puppy isn't quite so certain, after all this is his first winter and he thinks he preferred the long days of summer spent foraging in the wilderness at the end of the garden.

Amy may love the winter weather, and she adores Christmas, but is not so keen on some aspects of the festivities. The reindeer antlers sent by my daughter were regarded with disdain, as were the brussels sprouts she was offered last year. That image inspired my Christmas cards this year, and all my friends and neighbours have been delighted to recognise her ladyship in full-on snooty mode! I hope you like it too.

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