We got through the Christmas and are bracing ourselves for New Year’s, even if we’ve absolutely no idea what date it is. As well as craving more chocolate, we’ll admit to also craving a bit of normality!
• SO our Christmas tree has suddenly turned a light shade of green (almost translucent) and has started to emit a hard-to-ignore, sort of sickly sweet smell. If I could take a detour to avoid it, I would, but as it’s literally decomposing in the hallway, there’s no option but to hold your breath and scurry past as fast as you can. I’ve no idea what date it is (does anyone?) but I’m pretty sure it’s too soon in proceedings for this sort of carry-on. You only have to look at it out of the corner of your eye and it sheds another load of pins from its thinning branches. I suppose I should have seen it coming … €50 for what, last week at least, was a majestic looking specimen seemed too good to be true, and it was. She is literally, a bit like myself, rapidly losing her shape. Although for me it’s more to do with all the Celebrations. And Quality Street. And Heroes. And cheese. All the cheese.
• Anyway, we went for our customary dip on Christmas morning on Broad Strand (yes it was cold, but it does make it perfectly legit to have a hot toddy at noon so enough said. See p28 for pictures), and then we spent the rest of the day with my sister and her family. We brought the stuffing, which is my absolute favourite thing about Christmas Day dinner so, as brilliant a cook as she is, it was something I couldn’t risk outsourcing. If there was nothing else on my dinner plate on the day besides stuffing I’d be deliriously happy, and I take it very seriously. I’m a complete purist and I stick to the traditional bread stuffing recipe. I don’t allow any messing about with the likes of apricots, apple or walnuts and the like (shudder), although I will bend the rules to allow a little sausage meat. And it’s always wise to go easy on the sage (get it?). We also brought a trifle, mainly because I have a stunning trifle bowl which would otherwise never see the light of day, and all in all, it was a really lovely time.
• That means it’s our turn to host for New Year’s. I’m still torn between doing a proper sit-down meal or just going with nibbles. Sometimes, I think, you’re just better off going with a sit-down, and being done with it (it’s also another chance to use the trifle bowl). You could be faffing around in the kitchen for two days making mini this and mini that, wrapping pigs in blankets and all the rest (or buying up the entire ‘party food’ section in your local supermarket and trying to pass off those spring rolls as your own), having it all laid out beautifully and artfully on platters, only for some smart alec to pipe up ‘So what’s for mains then’ as you inwardly weep having spent over €100 on the cheese board alone. It’s hard to know. Sure, I’ve time yet to decide (or do I? What’s the date? Anyone?).
• Just so long as no one makes me stay up until midnight I don’t care. I wouldn’t call myself a kill joy as such, but … well, I suppose now that I think about it, I would. Any time I have ventured out on New Year’s Eve I’ve either been stuck in the queue for the loo, or stuck beside a stranger just as the clock strikes midnight and we launch into the 29 (million) verses of ‘For auld lang syne,’ holding hands, criss-cross style, while I slowly die inside. One of my better New Year’s was spent at a Daniel O’Donnell concert in the Green Glens Arena. That surely says a lot.
• Now, as for making resolutions, I’m all for that. I’m nothing if not a walking, talking cliché so, if someone wants to show me how to be a new and better me, yes please, bring it on. Maybe just wait until January 3rd or 4th because there’s still a tonne of chocolate to polish off. For some reason I’m also drawn to the idea of taking up a musical instrument this year – specifically something like the trumpet. I’ve no idea why, except that I’m full of hot air.
• For now, though, I’m far too busy for any of that, as all my time is spent hoovering up Christmas tree needles and making mini sausage rolls. I think I’ll go with nibbles … or what about a fondu … that could be fun? Or will I just go with a curry? I sort of wish I’d hosted Christmas Day now. When are things back to normal again? You’d miss the routine all the same, wouldn’t you?