Post Christmas folly

Posted on December 30, 2011


Christmas is such as strange time isn’t friends? I feel only now that the madness is lifting.  Most people probably don’t know when they are temporarily barmy but I have concrete evidence of my own screwiness.  Start with recent activities: having not really entered the kitchen for the last six months I have just spent the past three days there.  Perhaps the departure of my beloved for distant shores has something to do with it, but do other people cook the entire contents of the their fridge and freezer?  I mean, maybe they do, which is all good – really!  But I have never ever cooked more than about 24 hours in advance and that is pushing it.  However, I can now somewhat proudly point to the freezer and enumerate the following:

3 roasted chicken lunches complete with mash and veg;

4 portions of spaghetti bolognese sauce;

5 portions of asparagus and cheese tart complete with said mash and veg (thanks Delia – it’s delicious!  but my arteries are putting in a counter-suit);

6 portions of slow-cooked beef casserole in red wine sauce;

6 portions of quiche (not to be confused with the tart, simply because more than 2 mouthfuls can be consumed without dying immediately);

4 portions of roast pork with crackling, apple sauce, mash and veg;

10 zucchini and pecorino peparto muffins (what was I thinking???);

5 slices of banana and walnut loaf (bet that lasts 3 secs!).

And if that wasnt enough, I have already eaten the fennel and asparagus soup while plans are afoot for the pineapple, the fresh cranberries and the pumpkin! What – Is there a war on?  Are we under siege?  Am I feeding the 5000?  No?  It just feels like it.

Rest assured dear reader, that that is not ALL I have been doing.  Having mopped the floor for the fourth time on day three of the cookomania, I decided that I fancied a game of scrabble.  The pets although all very precocious, are not quite up to complex thoughts let alone three letter words with z, q, and v in them, so I went online and am now lost – LOST-  to the world of forever-scrabble.  That, for those of you who have not fallen prey to this, is a never-ending cycle of game-joining, playing, and winning or losing. I am currently playing eight games and am desperate to find a way to use zog, xav, and qire somewhere but the electronic rule book is implacable.  The hugest wound came when I wasn’t allowed to put the word ‘oilrigs’ down. It would have been a clean-out of my tiles but I was rebuffed.

Strange though….some players seem shy at continuing with our games.  I think I frightened one player when, as my opening move, I put the word GAYS down, then on my successive second and third moves, followed up with APACHE and JEWS.  I have to say I held back on COVET for the fourth, and opted instead for BLAME – perhaps that was a mistake. Anyhow, I am sure she will make a valuable new contribution on the back of her HAUSEN, JEON, RAWIN, BEEF, and LOLL, at least two of which I am not sure constitute words in the English language but heyho. I will be looking to redress the balance with words like SUPPORT, AFFIRMATIVE, ACTION but I may end up with HELLFIRE – it all depends on the tiles.

I guess my biggest faux pas being new to the world of online scrabble, would have to be when I accidentally used the chat button instead of the dictionary button.  My opponent had started with TYKE and for a laugh and because I was already desperate, I typed in TYKEFAIRY and pressed send. Needless to say, she hasnt come back either.  Meanwhile, I opted for FIBRE instead of the more fun but perhaps in poor taste FART as I knew that would definitely sound the death nell.

It has been a good few weeks since I wrote my last blog and some of you will be wondering whatever happened to my sustainable festive list. I have to say that it has been a lot harder than I thought to meet this simple list.  So, it is not good news really, but in the spirit of being quite away with the tykefairies, here goes:


Transformative experience for a friend

Do something for or with someone you know that will make a difference to their life.

And, I am going start my meeting my commitments right here for my good friend Rosie.  Rose has just released the most lovely musical tribute to her daughter.  Her Christmas song, called ‘Before I knew you’, was written and recorded in the weeks before Rosie underwent a double mastectomy after it was discovered she had pre-cancerous lesions.  Not knowing how long  she would be around to spend time with her daughter prompted her to make this recording.  It is an amazing story and a fabulous song.  If you like it, please click the star next to Rosie’s name and also on the play list. Rosie is raising money to meet the costs of her medical care and every click counts.

Go Rosie!  You are a complete star!

So, I think I can probably say I helped with publicising Rosie’s story along with all Rosie’s friends. I plied her song with the British christmas radio stations and hopefully someone was listening. She has been given great feedback and is now looking to do more recording which is a big confidence boost on the back of a traumatic and pain-filled year.  Her daughter is stoked too!


Give something to someone who you do not know and who really needs it

Yes folks it’s goat time, or bamboo cycle time, or solar stove or water well or micro bank or whatever your preferred gift is – and maybe it’s something local to you…but one way or another…IT’S TIME!  (Glad I got to quote Gough Whitlam in this blog)

And if you want to find out how to do this, start with this most fantastic site which brings together so many holiday giving ideas.

And if that’s not enough, try Habitat For Humanity’s holiday gift giving program here.

I am always one of those people whose Christmas presents arrive in March.  Time is a flexible concept in my book and so I am officially deciding that the post-Christmas,Christmas extension continues until after next pay day – which is when goats and all things practical will be winging their way to communities where they are needed – and my nearest and dearest will receive their cards telling them where this year’s prezzie has gone.


Make something for someone else

(and then make something for yourself…..I once tried to give my cousin a knitted toy that I had made – it was a disaster of  bad knitting, and dreadful sewing  – something that started off as a scarf and than resembled a mangled sponge bob after I decided it should have a fresh incarnation.  The crafting nightmare was only made possible because I had moved schools and so my infamous craft record had not yet managed to catch up with me).  She wasn’t impressed at the age of five and the toy languished on the couch after she had been taken home.  I’ve lived with mangled spongie ever since and it reminds me that just making something is sometimes not quite enough!)

So far, I am failing on this front rather badly it seems.  I am not sure that making successive dinners for friends and family counts at this point, nor does making someone else laugh, so I think I will be calling on the extension time for this as well!


Do something you have never done before (that is good for you and for the planet of course!)

Tough one this but the perfect antidote for any days where boredom might approach.

This Christmas my partner and I did something I have never done before  – we made Christmas wreathes as well as clove oranges to decorate our house.  We sourced the holly from the local park as well as a few pine cones and some ivy from the back garden.  The orange and cloves were obviously sourced from far away but I like to think they had less of a carbon footprint than tinsel and cheap trinkets.


Learn something new (oh why not quote an old fave….face the fear and do it anyway!)

Extension extension!!  The best laid plans and all that… I was going to get to a Qi Gong class but hibernation has taken hold as well as cookomania.  I don’t think I can count how to embarrass yourself playing online scrabble under this particular commitment, or even Delia’s tart I am still holding this one in my magical extension time.


Think about something new

A little hard I know, because if it is new to you how can you possibly think about it? – perhaps play a game of blind-man’s bluff with the newspaper/dictionary/encyclopedia and don’t stop poking at lines on a page until you come across something new to you.

The Higgs Boson Particle is something that while I knew was being investigated, I had no clue what it really was or why it was so important.  When the news broke that the team researching its existence might have found it, my interest was peaked. Coincidentally, I watched a documentary later that week about the laws of the universe which focused on Einstein’s theory of space-time.  It was in watching this documentary that I finally understood that the space in atoms is absolutely huge compared to the size of the nucleus and the electrons – and this is why the HB particle is so important.  It was a revelation to me that if an atom were a kilometre in radius, its nucleus would only be the size of a twenty cent coin and its electrons mere pieces of dust. Everything else is empty. And it really made me understand why scientists get so excited about parallel universes or realities, as well as the concept that our solidity is a mere illusion. If the HB particle does not respond to the forces of gravity and space-time in the same way as atoms, it is surely the most amazing particle in the universe.

The whole learning escapade took me on an adventure that extending into the sleeping hours where I took a tour of the universe – so vivid and so detailed that I wanted to keep on sleeping all day just to explore some more.  Wow!!


Give some time to someone you don’t know

As much as the Tories’ Big Society makes me gag for all of its inherent contradictions, now more than ever the marginalized need help from the mainstream.

So, being completely HOPELESS!!!  I failed to register on time with the volunteering going on over Christmas but I have been able to register for volunteering in the new year.  Better late than never I say.  More to be said about this one down the track.


Spend time with friends without a care in the world

KPIs clearly involve laughing until stomach hurts, drinking until at least tipsy, eating until…well…until you feel you have kept uncle scrooge from the door…and loving your friends to bits – in a good way of course!

My partner and I managed a couple of days with friends in Brighton and we took the meaning of laughing hard very literally by going to a comedy night.  I was laughing so hard I really did think I was going to fall to bits.  Being a bit of a curmudgeon I am always sceptical of comedy nights, but actually, they were all spectacularly good!  Here’s to comedy!!


Celebrate with a meal sourced locally

So it’s beets n cabbage n parsnips n Brussels (by the way, did you know they haven’t had a government for a WHOLE YEAR???) for me then!

Well, I can proudly say that Christmas dinner was entirely sourced locally.  Roast Gressingham duck with red cabbage and bramley apples, and roasted potatoes.  Even brunch was local  – smoked salmon on blinis with red currants.  And delicious it was too! In fact, I think we managed nearly an entirely locally sourced Christmas week, with local beef, local pork and local duck featuring high on the menu along with winter veg.


Stroll to the local park and let the world wash over you!

No book, no phone, no mental list, just you and the world around you.

Ahh…it sounds so idyllic doesnt it?  So simple. Just….leave the house, stroll down the road to the park, find a bench and sit down.  All is calm….

Yesterday, I decided it was the day for the calm stroll.  Not surprisingly, I needed a break from the kitchen.  So I popped our dog who is the size of a peanut into her winter warmer (she looks like Zsa Zsa Gabor but hey, she doesn’t know that), and put her leash and harness on, ready for the stroll.  We got outside the front door and the dog refused to move. Here’s how it goes:  Cmon Daisy. Time for a walk.  Cmon.  Cmon.  COME ON Daisy.  COME ON!!!!  DAISY!  WALK!

At this point a nice family with young children walked past all ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over the dog and so I just smiled and nodded which was probably a good thing as Daisy was about to be swung into the air by her harness and released into the next door neighbour’s yard.

Instead, I picked her up and tucked her under my arm thinking that by the time I got to the park she would want to wander amongst the verdant fronds of green winter growth (let’s face it, she’s tiny so ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ is the operative word when it comes to grass)….NO SUCH LUCK!!  We get to the park and start the whole procedure again.  Cmon Daisy.  Comn Daisy.  Daisy, cmon.  Quickly.  DAISY!  QUICKLY!  DAISY! YOU STUBBORN MUT, MOVE!!!!!

Then, I think perhaps it is her new outfit that’s bothering her.  Perhaps she would prefer the Santa outfit to being Zsa Zsa today.  So I take off her coat even though it is a little chill. Still no walking. DAISY!!!! COME ON!!!! WALK!!!!!!!

I have to say that there is nothing quite like being humiliated by something the size of an out of shape tennis ball.  Refusing to walk takes a lot of energy when you’re that size.  At one point, I decided that since we were amongst soft, green grass, I could simply drag her until she got the message and started using those miniature legs of hers.  After a few metres I realised that what was happening behind me was akin to a stone skipping across the water.  The peanut was simply bouncing along.  Amusing as this was, I didn’t fancy being hauled before the RSPCA so my final ploy was to simply take her off the leash and leave her in the middle of the grass.  It works for kids I thought.  Why not dogs?

Having stormed off at least 30 yards, I looked back to see a blob, rather like a shrunken head from that distance, sitting resolutely in the middle of the grass.  Calling, stamping, slapping thighs, shouting were all to no avail.  Thoroughly defeated, I stomped back to shrunken head, picked her up and marched home!

Some things are easier said than done!