Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas with the family, and the post Christmas sprawl...

We've all done it; and will, likely as not, do it again. Leaving the assorted year-long animosities in the hallway, you sit down with the rest of the warring factions - I mean family - and act civilly around the table as the feast, supplied by the masochist that is the cook (in my case, my Sister, for the must be fifth or sixth time on the trot), is placed before you on the table, your mouths watering as the aromas of perfectly prepared foods assault your nostrils...

It was, of course, delicious.

Reluctant as I am to admit it, my sister (who will remain nameless here, to protect her from the amusement of her neighbours for having a raving madman like me for a brother) is a damn good cook. Amongst other things on the menu this year, were a truly humongous roast Turkey (done to perfection, and Lord knows how she fitted the thing into her oven!) with all the trimmings, roast potatoes (crispy, not singed or soggy), baton carrots (with, I think, a touch of parsley sprinked on them), sprouts and roast chestnuts, red cabbage and onion, a very nice herb and berry (at least I think they were berries, no doubt I'll be corrected on this later today when my sister reads this) stuffing, proper giblet gravy, and the list went on for the main course. Good grief, it was delicious. A proper and decent traditional British Christmas lunch. It was amazing. And very, very filling. My doctor, of course, would probably have defecated masonry at the sheer amount of cholesterol on offer, but the hell with that on this particular day of the year

Next up, the dessert course. Sticky toffee pudding, and the pièce de résistance, something called 'Christmas Pudding Crackers' (apparently, and to my not very surprising ignorance in this field, a Delia Smith recipe), served with either double cream, or in my case some butterscotch ice cream, and ye gods, was it marvellous, and somehow, and God Alone knows how, not heavy or bloating, like a traditional Christmas Pudding tends to be (which my sister avoids, as she detests raisins and sultanas with a passion bordering on insanity, much the same as my distaste for courgettes and similar vegetables!). The photo is after seven of them had been already snaffled up by the assorted Gannets at the table!).

For once, I wasn't working the next day (there are no TfL bus services on Christmas Day, that's traditional too, and the rota showed me as being off on Boxing Day as well), so I was able to have a few drinks. So I did  - but not wine. I had beer. Call me common if you like, I just prefer the taste

Anyhow, after this amazing repast, there was only one place to go, and that was the sitting room, with it's incredibly comfortable sofas and recliners (I'll give my sister and brother-in-law this: They know how to furnish a home!), where we all managed to get maybe five minutes of post-meal sprawl and breath-catching, before my two nieces blew in with all the force of a mid-winter storm, and demanded that they open more presents!

Even the cats got in on the act - and they too will remain nameless for the sake of their standing with the other cats in their neighbourhood; it's a closely guarded thing, but they can talk. Apparently, they can also read, and as we all know, they act like they run the country, so I'd best not tick them off here!

The Ginger one claimed his place with my brother-in-law, while the practically black one wandered around and grabbed skritches (cat owners will know what a skritch is, but for the rest of you, it's the combination scratch and tickle you give a favoured pet) around the ears and neck from everyone else.

After a while, however, the ginger one got tired of the lap he was occupying, and went on the prowl, eventually finding a perch from where he could lord it over us (looking for all intents and purposes like a T-3½ Moustinator waiting for its next victim, whereupon the black one nicked the arm of the sofa... all this, while my two nieces dashed about like mad things, distributing presents to all and sundry.

Christmas is, after all, for the kids

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