There's no doubt about it, Christmas is lovely. All the preparations, the anticipations and the celebrations combine together to make it a very special time. I'm old enough not to expect too much of Christmas. No parties, no energetic knees up, just a gentle, fairly quiet family time with our own little traditions and habits. As a result, I am rarely disappointed. Last year was the only real disappointment I can remember and that was because I had flu and it was cancelled!!
This year has been one of the best for me. Granted, a couple of traditions have gone by the board, but that's OK. Everything has gone well: games have been played, meals have been enjoyed and leftovers are exercising my culinary brain. It's all been great.
Today the last of my visitors head home. I will be alone again. You know what - it's nice to have loved ones here but it's also nice to be alone again. I'm used to it, I appreciate the quietness, the lack of any pressure, the freedom to do what I want, when I want and how I want. Today is going to be peaceful, even though I have a pile of washing and, as a result, ironing to do and a fridge to sort out and reorganise. I have time, I can do it slowly and while watching telly, reading my books, snoozing under my lovely owly fleece . . .
The turkey has finally been dismantled. The inedible bits have been discarded and the last stock is slowly reducing on the hob as I type. It carved very well so there wasn't a lot more meat to get off the carcass but there's enough to give Beth's cats a post-Christmas treat. There's still some brown and white meat to finish off and my guests will take some home with them while I will freeze the rest.
There's some christmas pudding left, some custard and some cream. I thought I might whisk the custard and the some of the cream together, make ice cream with it the usual way (because someone has borrowed my ice cream maker) and, on the final whisking, add some crumbled up pudding to make Christmas pudding ice cream. I might add a couple of mince pies too, as I have a few left over. It'll taste good because the ingredients are all good!
Then there's some bubble and squeak patties to freeze for another meal another day, some more cream to make into butter and all sorts of bits and bobs to deal with. Just my kind of day, in fact!!
I have set myself a challenge and that is to not do any food shopping for at least a fortnight (apart from milk and, perhaps, a few veg). That should be very achievable and I will eat well, that's a fact. It's back on the frugal bandwagon for me with perhaps one little blip over New Year, although at the moment I crave simple food and not too much of it!
Reading back over what might be viewed as a somewhat smug and self-satisfied pondering (sorry, I didn't set out to be), I remind myself that, for some, this will have been one of the worse Christmasses. I don't mean those in parts of the world where just existing is a struggle or those who live in war-torn strife (althought they are often on my mind and conscience), I mean those who were, like me, anticipating a lovely time, invested much time, energy and resouces into creating something good and lovely but found their plans and hopes destroyed by appalling weather and its aftermath.
I hope all my readers have been safe, warm and dry over these last stormy weeks and that you remain so in the weeks to come.