As any parent will probably recall those words wafting on the ether as the clock chimes 3 in the morning
heralding the presence of Santa ! Yes, you had better remembered to drink the glass of sherry, leave a few
crumbs where the mince pies had been and ensured the dog had eaten a chunk off the reindeer’s carrot.

Well now the bedlam starts, not even chance to get a coffee, or light the fire, as feverish fingers rip through
carefully and well thought wrapping……. but this is Christmas morning. Very soon I must restrain myself
from unwrapping any more….. I’m sorry it never gets old.

Stereo Yule logs blaze

The coffee is on, the fire is lit, and now the sequence can begin. First up the British Government bought
me a NEW pair of Atomic skis, well their pension money did anyway. Brenda got me some NEW Atomic
Live Fit boots so I’m well equipped for this season on the slopes. New shades by Von Zipper (who else ?)
and a good looking Spyder sweater. Not forgetting 2 more year book albums of life’s exploits.

NEW skis from HMG …… thank you

The latest in “foot garages” from Atomic via Brenda 

A Spyder sweater too

A “grapey” set of Von Zippers

2008 & 2009 Year books

Seems as we get older body shape is a’changing, waist size comes and goes, but eventually comfort
takes priority and a bigger size is purchased. By why are my legs getting shorter ? Of course this means
some dumping on ebay and acquisition of replacement goodies.

Brenda is through the “known” items, a NEW ladies alpine ski suit, a NEW Nordic ski outfit and gloves,
a surprise Spyder sweater which she loves……. and the top scoring present for 2013 the two reindeer
I had to drive to Durango to get on Monday.

Brenda’s haul of new ski clothes

…….and this year’s prize winners, the Reindeer

With the tree denuded of presents, time for the round of Ho, Hos on the tellingbone and then some
skyping to see Granddaughter Sophie unwrapping her presents on her third real Christmas. Now its
bird prep time along with my take on stuffing remembering to remove the neck and other giblets I have
no use for in the big scheme of things.

Two bowls, onions, celery and nuts various, pecans, cashews, and walnuts, … Paxo up the front and Mrs
Cuthbertson takes one up the rear for the team. Remainder in balls for later munching when cold.

Get stuffing

Balls to the stuffing

“Ready for some tanning bird ?”

1000, bird finished, bagged and ready to go in at 1200 and table ready for 1500. Dangerous cocktails
ready (limit 4) and sugar cubes dissolving in the brandy.

The “DC’s” ….. limit 4 !

……from the inside as the brandy attacks the sugar cube

Vegetables out and first up is the bullet hard swede and after peeling and chopping into small cubes its
off for about 1 hours worth of boiling in order to mash.

“WOW ! just look at the cleavage on that Swede”

Potatoes and parsnip, (damn they smell good) have their own private pot and will be par boiled before
roasting for that crisp exterior and lovely fluffy inside.

Sprouts, leeks and carrots are given their own vessel too and await their start time which only leaves the
sweet corn which is only a two minute affair while the bird is resting.

Swedes a’boiling

The eating hour draws near, vegetables are going well, the swede has been beaten to death, is well
buttered and seasoned, various gravies are simmering quietly and the bird is brought out for resting. Silly
hats are on, crackers have been pulled and plates are piled.

Tanned and resting

Carves well

….enjoy     Christmas Luncheon by Chef Tony

It eats as well as it looks and the “annual chef” is well pleased. Having listened to Mother and Aunts and all
manner of old wives tales circa the “bird” I have to say that with planning and org it really is a very simple
meal to get right……… however my attempt at the Christmas cake leaves a lot to be desired. I can almost
see and hear Sir David Attenborough doing a documentary on this one with baffled droning voice explaining
man’s early efforts to preserve his treasured fruit cake.

” The Christmas Cake has been one of those fabled artifacts that has baffled mankind through the
ages, ………… was it some left over ritual from the harvest supper, as early man sought to preserve
his bounty of fruit ?    ……… was it decorated to appease the Gods ? ……. did the bullet hard icing
serve in some way as a protective barrier against foraging wild animals coming out of winter
hibernation ? …….. was this man’s first attempt at a door stop ?

Our recent expedition into deepest Colorado discovered some examples of this strange object,
the first presumably as some sort of table decoration, as it was clearly inedible, …… another acting
as a wheel “chock” under a motorcycle trailer ……. and further examples have been unearthed in
a little known island off the coast of Europe where they have been secreted in round tin boxes
and wrapped in some sort of parchment or grease proof paper. It seems the female of the form
was given the task of creating this unpalatable lump and further decorating it with twigs and
berries after the “pollyfilla” like substance had sealed it solid. ………  many known examples have
some sort of “bonsai” fir trees, and figurines involved in winter fuel related activities…… others
have polar bears as well although historians are still puzzled as to the significance of this animal
as it relates to fruit cake….. if indeed that is what it was.  Theories abound that this wicked device
was indeed to stave off polar bear attacks as it would surely have ruined or broken their teeth,
….and if swallowed the high alcohol levels would have the bewildered creature wandering into
deep crevasses to its final demise.

A local guide took me to the site where a polar bear had encountered a lump of this cake and
had perished amid broken teeth and shattered icing. A devilish device to be sure!”

The Christmas Cake,  …… ancient weapon or food source ?

The two Attenborough brothers swop a few yarns from their Colorado adventure on the BA London bound
from Denver

“………. and then they even asked us if WE wanted to try a piece !!!!”

We wish our explorers well and a safe flight, and now settle down to Christmas night with a blazing yule
glow as lights across the valley come on once more.

“…..and to ALL a good night.”



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