Saturday, 29 December 2012


Well, that is Christmas over for another year.   Christmas round here has been bedevilled by the coughing bug, which is everywhere.  Luckily, so far, I have escaped it - although every evening I feel as though I am going down with it and then I dose myself up at bedtime and feel fine the next morning, so I think I must be fighting it off.  Our next jolly evening is New Year's Eve, when there should be eight of us enjoying my buffet supper, but it will depend on how well, or otherwise, everyone is I suspect.

We had a lovely party on Boxing Day, as we do every year, with only one friend missing because she was not well.   I am hoping she will be recovered enough to be  here for New Year (get well J).

Turkey is definitely off the menu for the foreseeable future.   The remains are sliced up and in the freezer - you can have too much of a good thing.   Somehow the same does not apply to ham - it was delicious and there is enough left to put on the table on New Year's Eve.   If you are simmering a ham, do try simmering it in equal quantities of cranberry juice and apple juice - the result is tremendous and the flesh is the most gorgeous  deep pink colour.  A honey and mustard glaze and twenty minutes in a hot oven with the flesh covered with foil just finishes it off nicely.

The farmer has done the bare minimum over the period - after all he is recovering from the bug and still coughing (and snoring!) enough to be banished to the spare bedroom. (he looks so comfy in there that I fear he may wish to stay, whereas I am missing him terribly in my bed at night (he is always warm, whereas I am always cold) without somewhere (or rather someone) to warm my feet.  He has to feed cattle, sheep and hens, farm dog and the garden birds.   That done he checks logs and kindling for the stove and then is inside.   As he had two super large jigsaw puzzles for presents in his stocking he is engrossed in doing the first of these.

My favourite present was Hilary Mantel's 'Bring up the Bodies' - the follow-on to 'Wolf Hall' and the winner of this year's Booker Prize.   My goodness, what a brilliant writer she is - you are transported back to the sixteenth century by the time you have read a paragraph.

My other favourite occupation over the holiday has been the Guardian's Christmas Crossword (cryptic) compiled by Araucaria .   It is always difficult and wonderful to pick up at odd moments.   A friend in the village also does it so we are able to confer if any clues really stump us.   I have only two left to do - any ideas anyone? 22 Down - One with the skill to break the ice  -e-h-e and 42 down  Jug fully given to prejudice -o-i-s.

Two very strange things have happened with regard to the crossword (which I must admit has been done at many odd moments over the Christmas perios).   First of all a clue which I did not understand at all and which had 3,1,3 letters.   Shortly after reading the clue I picked up my Mantel book and within a minute had read the word/phrase cap-a-pie, which was the answer.   There was another long clue I couldn't answer, and which was actually quite easy once I solved it (!) and I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night and thought 'Twickenham' - now how weird is that?  I suppose it is a perfect example of fortune favouring the prepared mind.

If you are planning to celebrate New Year, then have a lovely time - and keep safe.

Another wet day here, water lying in the fields, chill damp air.  But are we disheartened?  No - nothing to do but the jig saw and a good book to read (and the delicious remains of a pavlova I made for pud at lunchtime) - what more could anyone wish for? 



Elizabeth said...

Do hope everyone's health improves....and you escape the bug.
Your description of the ham made my mouth water.
Do hope your weather improves.
We await snow here but I'm reading Wolf Hall so am happy to hunker down indoors.
All best wishes for a splendid New Year.

Tom Stephenson said...

I often solve problems when I am asleep, and I wake up thinking, 'That can't be right', but it always is. What does 'cap-a-pie' mean?!

angryparsnip said...

We are starting our winter, a day or so of rain in the valley and snow in the mountains and then several days of nicer weather and sunshine.
The ham sounds wonderful. Since I know nothing about ham, I assume it is not cured ? must look up simmering a ham.
I am glad to hear you are well so far.
Have a wonderful supper party.

cheers, parsnip

Heather said...

Hope the farmer gets rid of his cough - it is so exhausting - and I hope you keep clear of the bug. Your ham sounds delicious and next time I cook one I shall try your method.
Enjoy your New Year celebrations and may 2013 be drier than this year! I have read that no matter what the weather is, there will be no hosepipe bans anywhere!

Jenn Jilks said...

Good for you for fighting it. We babysat the grandkids and got it.
No turkey yet, as we were to sick for company.
We happily anticipate their arrival today. For my dec. 26th belated birthday party!
Happy New Year!
Cheers from Cottage Country!

mrsnesbitt said...

I am cooking a lamb curry with the leftovers tonight - really fancy a curry! Something, ANYTHING but a cooked dinner eh? lol!

MorningAJ said...

Six letters. Anagram of the ice. Techie. (What K does!) Don't know about the other one!

Gerry Snape said...

I hope that you stay well...I'm dosed up with Vit. C and Zinc and now and again I have some D and some A.....I rattle...must get the Hilary Mantle book as I keep hearing how good it is.

John Going Gently said...

You are like a joyful north Yorkshire version of Julie Andrews

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the visit. Thanks to AJ for the answer to that clue. So easy once you know the answer- I should have guessed from the word 'break' and would probably have got it eventually. I never send it in, I just keep on at it until it is all solved - a good brain exercise. Tom - as far as I can see (it is not in my Chambers) cap-a-pie (with an acute over the e) means fully covered (in relation to clothing or maybe armour).

Dave King said...

I take my hat off to you: I used to do the guardian Cryptic, but not these days: the old grey matter is just not up to it!
Thanks for all your kind remarks over 2012 and have a great 2013.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Sounds like a nice Christmas, sorry about the bug though.

Well done you on the Guardian crossword, I should try it more often.

Golden West said...

And all best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy new year, Weaver! Thank you for taking me along on your walks and visits - I always so enjoy your company!

thousandflower said...

So, are you dosing yourself with your blackberry whiskey? Seems to me I remember it being recommended for coughs. So far we have escaped any coughs. Could it be the whiskey??

Stuart said...

Isn't Tobias the full version of Toby? Also to + bias (prejudice).

Hope you're keeping better.