Are you an organised person, or do you let things muddle along? Do you make lists and cross things off as you do them, or do you keep a mental list in your head?
I am afraid I am the former. That sounds almost like an apology doesn't it? Well some people seem to find this super-finnickiness very irritating (well, alright, most people) but it is the only way in which I can both operate and keep my sanity.
Maybe it comes from years of running a large department in a Comprehensive School, where I had to keep things running smoothly. I have now been retired for many years but I still maintain this organisation.
So when it comes to the Christmas season then my lists begin to appear as early as November and they are kept in my dog-eared copy of Delia's Christmas Cookery, which at this time of the year is my bible.
Christmas puddings done, re-wrapped, cling-filmed and covered in foil (tick); Christmas cakes baked, fed repeatedly with rum, marzipanned and (this morning)iced (almost tick); Christmas cards written and posted (tick); presents bought, wrapped and ready to give out/posted (tick); menus written and anything which is not perishable bought (tick).
Actually here on the farm we have a relatively quiet Christmas. We spend the day itself just the two of us, but I cook the turkey, the ham and all the trimmings on that day so that when Boxing Day comes, when I have eight plus for the whole day, a lot of the cooking has been done. After that there is a lull until New Year's Eve when I have a small dinner party for six.
But there are always droppers-in so there has to be a plentiful supply of mince pies lurking in the freezer. I know there are some good ones which you can buy these days, but nothing tastes as good as a home made one, does it? And as I over-bought dried fruit (getting carried away by Tesco's offers) I had a lot of it left to make mincemeat,
Of course life goes on here on the farm whatever day of the year it is. The hens still need feeding; the sheep need inspecting and (if it is cold weather) feeding and the inside cattle need cleaning out and stocking up on feed. All that takes the best part of two hours. Then the farmer can come in for the day. In his milking days, of course, it would have been lunch time before he came in and he would have had to be out again for five o'clock for evening milking.
There was a slight hiccup in my organisation though. Friday was designated as the day we drove across the Pennines to Sedbergh to deliver a present to our God-daughter and have lunch with her. Friday dawned with thick, freezing fog, well-below freezing temperatures, icy sleet falling and a bitter wind. All that at six hundred feet. What would it be like at the top of the Pennines? We didn't even consider going. Now it is scheduled for some time next week.
Tonight we go to a dinner party with friends - always a lovely occasion. It means I don't have to cook a lunch, so I can get on with the icing of the cakes (I make four - one for us, one for son and wife, and two for friends).
On a completely different topic: Thank you to all who wished me well for the funeral of the dear friend. I have to report that it went splendidly. My dearest friend M, (it was her husband who had passed away), bore up very well. And, goodness me, what a wonderful send-off they gave this splendid man. He had been a military man, serving in Burma towards the end of the Second World War and then in Japan. He had been an active member of both Burma Star and British Legion and every one did him proud. He was piped into church with the Skye Boat Song and out of church with Amazing Grace. The farmer, along with several other villagers and two of his step-sons, was a bearer. His step-grandson, who is a soldier (and who was wounded in Afghanistan) read the
Kohima epitaph and we stood for The Battle Hymn of the Republic. He would have loved it.
I'm sorry to have gone into italics, I think it happens when I accidentally press a particular key. Can anyone tell me how to get rid of it please?