The time is now 9.45am and the children are still in their rooms! Not so silent as Tara and Amritsar are shouting and the magnitude of Thor’s mighty thunder can be heard from all the way down here in the living room. I guess they will be down soon enough, to toasted raisin and cinnamon bagels, but this I have noted is the latest time ever that they have remained, self amusing in their bedrooms. Remus is besides himself whimpering and whining, in preparation for their arrival and Gracie is sitting beside me looking very chilled out. I promised John a toasted cheese sandwich, butter side out and toasted on a hot skillet. He’s getting more insistent that we forget about their arrival and I just make the promised Cheese toasties without them. I’ll fill you in on why they are no doubt up so late a little later and get ‘Toasting in the Kitchen’.
9.55 and the girls have arrived, Amritsar saying ‘oooh oooh aaah aaah’, clutching her soft toy monkey from babyhood and Tara clutching Kit Koala, her favourite soft toy who sleeps with her every night. A gift also from babyhood from her Auntie Kylie and Uncle Paul, who live in Australia. Aaliyah has dropped her new soft Dalmatian toy in favour of hugging Gracie, the real McCoy, who is lying down bedside them.
This years cutest moment has to be last Friday as we drove home from Wimbledon, after dinner with Liz. Every house that was externally adorned with Christmas lights, was duly commented on from the back seat by Caleb. A softly spoken ‘Kimmah Ligh’ would resonate every time we passed a festively Illuminated building. Every few minutes that passed, ‘Kimmah Ligh’, ’Kimmah Ligh’, ‘Kimmah Ligh’. In the end we were all playing the game, not just Caleb. So now I think of ‘Kimmah Ligh’ and smile to myself.
Along side the homemade Xmas rated (pear, rum and raisin) Jam (a neighbour Sandra grabbed the last three jars before heading to be with family in France for the holidays), a few of these festive, visual or gastronomic delights seem to be a bit naughty as well! The slurry of Christmas movies we have subjected ourselves to, let alone the slightly boozy puds and exotic meats, well I will say again, I am truly Christmassed out. Mind you, Laura Linney’s looking good in ‘Love Actually’! Remember ‘The tales of the City’? A classic from channel fours past, best not forgotten… This year our pigs in blankets were actually chickens in blankets – don’t tell anyone. Our turkey actually had a name, Kelly (bronze) and the bird arrived with exact cooking instructions plus a thermometer and a box of maldon sea salt. I shared a video of Xmas lunch, so you might remember that it was in the whole, a straightforward affair. However we continued to feast on Kelly and the large joint of ham with a second ‘Mock Roasty’ on Boxing Day. Why go with the cold cuts and pickles when for the sake of deep frying some cooked, peeled potatoes (microwaved) and as I always do, heat pre blanched vegetables, glaze the pre cooked carrots in sugar, a splash of water, butter and a pinch of salt and microwave blanched green beans, cauliflower or whatever. Peas easily cooked from frozen. A second ‘Mock Roasty’ is so easy at this point. Slice the meat cold and reheat in the gravy. Save the cold cuts for the 27th as we did. Turkey breast, gammon ham, cheddar, Stilton, branston (or home made pickle), cornichons / gherkins, baby beets and buttered baguette, the only word for it is ‘Wow’. Okay the slurry comes in the choices of Xmas movies, certainly not the food. We’ve had chitty chitty bang bang, which the children loved (hated it last year), Charlie and the chocolate factory, The Wizard of Oz and for us grown ups we’ve entertained ‘The Holiday’, ‘New Years Eve’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and most recently, ‘Love Actually’. At this very moment we are enjoying the BBC’s new rendition of ‘Poirot’ – isn’t John Malcovich a rare talent?
One small ‘Q and A’. What did I do with the rest of Kelly the turkey and the ham joint? The freezer of course, as it won’t last until New Year’s Day. Nestling besides the frozen turkey gravy and the last of the blanched sprouts! Carrots don’t freeze well, so we’ll steam and glaze them on the day.
Moral dilemma tonight as we had veal escalopes. I last enjoyed veal many years ago when minced veal was just £1.00 per lb. the purchase was mostly based on price back then, the ethics of cost I guess, not about the age of animal at slaughter. But tonight’s indulgence was just shy of £30 per kilo. Wow – have we stopped selling the entire male population of male calf births (in the U.K. and Ireland) to our French cousins? I hope that Veal is back on the menu here at home, as so many livestock farmers benefit from the less discounted sales price with a real market lead by demand. We try and be honest and open with the children about why farm animals exist, it is all a diplomatic consideration, just enough info to warrant why things are so…
Okay it’s getting late and almost time to say goodbye to Xmas and welcome in the New Year. A few words from me, maybe over the weekend, but for now, ‘Au Revoir’.
Our very first snowman was made one year ago today! Doesn’t time fly by?
With Seasonal Thanks to ‘Elf Yourself’.
A week long weekend, that’s how this time of year feels. And to imagine, another five days of it, I’m yawning as I write. I’ve just snuck off to the bedroom and left them all downstairs, now running amuck! They were settled with ‘Team Umizoomi’ on Netflix, but with attention spans of newts, they are now terrorising daddy, who is trying to play candy crush on his iPad. We started watching ‘Team Umizoomi’ on Nick Jr whilst the girls were babies and we lived in an apartment in Jogeshwari, Mumbai. Of course as babies, Amritsar and Tara would just look up at the screen and smile. They would be tightly swaddled and were the best behaved babies ever. We watch the program now, on occasion as a family and they join in with all the bits that there was once only silence. When the characters (Millie, Geo and Bott) ask questions or are looking for answers, they ask the audience. It’s so much better that a year or two back when all five would just look up and remain silent. They shout back to the TV as if they are all personally involved. It’s good to have them all figuring things out and interacting together. As you can imagine with five, it was hard work when they all needed maximum nurture and they just looked up at you and smiled or ran around, completely mindlessly. Now, although still loud and screamy, they are at least their own persons. Many outbreaks from Thor and Aaliyah over the last days. Even Mrs Snodgrass was called on the telephone last night as Aaliyah was so badly behaved. Her school for ‘Naughty Girls’ was threatened and Aaliyah has promised she really wants to be a good girl. She now has a few days to prove that she can be a good girl. Naughty schools new term starts on Monday and Aaliyah was told that she would have to pack a bag as the school is a boarding school. Aaliyah is trying hard to be good now. Naughty school is just a fiction and used every now and then to steer Aaliyah on the right path. Thor on the other hand is still a bit too ballistic to comprehend ‘Naughty School’ and it’s implications. We just have to rely on the threat of the ‘Thinking Chair’ or bed as the the ultimate threat. The dogs are now sat in front of me, looking up silently. The occasional whine from Remus. I never really get any time to myself, except the time I spend in London every fortnight. I should be grateful, I’m never alone. Better rejoin the masses now and head downstairs. I might blog again later and tell you a bit more about how our Christmas has been.