Life, photos but not the universe

Keep this post away from small children.

Sometimes I like Christmas Eve and this has been one of the best.  True, I didn’t get the hoovering done but on the other hand the last present was wrapped by, ooh something like 9.30.  And true, I had to drive into Reading to meet Eldest and GIGi so that they could load their huge luggage into the car and then wait while they did the rest of their Christmas shopping but then I got to have coffee with GIGi and visit the hugely tempting tobacconists in the arcade.  The chocolate Yule log probably isn’t going to be light and spongy (I made an error pouring flour) but it certainly looks the part and the amusing pea soup is yummy.  And Eldest and GIGi are here and Eldest fixed my wireless router and it’s such fun to have them around.  And if Mr Youngest doesn’t feel like coming it won’t matter that his was the only present not to arrive in time (I keep looking at the DHL tracking site and it’s still – apparently- “processing completed at Des Plaines, IL.  pfthtt!*)

Right.  Later there will be all or most of the others and who knows, I may find time to hoover between breakfast and the descent of the hordes.  Oh.  Must get the pudding out and find the redcurrant jelly for Barney.

And now it is – ooh, the day after the day after.  (D’you know, I think I see double if I’m not wearing my specs – there are far too many full stops here.  Still, two of any of you is definitely a bonus.  Lots of bonuses   Yes, I have had a drink and so you can rely on my verity).  Also, I have got up with the grandchildren (horribly early) and driven some of us home and then driven some of us to Oxford to do their other Christmas shopping**.  And then back again, of course.  And then, as Barney had made the pie filling and felt that that was sufficient, I’m doing the rest of the dinner.  Eldest says he reads between the lines when he reads my blog but there’s no need for any betweens here is there?

Well, to go back a meal or two, if anyone  tells you the amuse bouche thingie is just a trifle to make you all snigger, (did I?) let me now admit that it’s all about making everyone go Ooh! and Ah! and Wow!  And blow me if they didn’t!   It was only pea and mint soup after all (and it had turned into pea mousse overnight in the fridge), but it really did get a reaction.  I am a smug bunny.  The rest of the dinner was also fantastic (mostly – I was right about the chocolate sponge but then, who would expect a log to be light and fluffy?) and Barney’s kipper patties were worth the several hours we both spent removing tiny bones although they were more a kind of kipper hash brownie and I discovered on Boxing Day that we hadn’t really taken all the bones out (some of them had set up residence in the part of my gums which harbours a recurrent abscess – not a problem as by the time I’d sobered up, the paracetamol had cured it)

We had a lovely Boxing Day with all the Youngests and the Middles and the Eldests and all the children.  The children were all consistently delightful and affectionate and they’ve done us all a power of good.  And Youngest’s Boxing Day dinner was scrummy.  And HUGE!  Just as well I went out the next day or I’d still be lying down in hopes of it subsiding.  We admired Hester Blumenthal’s cookbook which is huge and elegantly and solidly bound  (Barney knows a chef who has a copy and pleased us all a good deal by saying that it’s quite useless as a recipe book though a very entertaining read).

And here is evidence that you should really practice panning before pointing the iphone.  And possibly get your subjects to stay still.


Eldest instructed me on the best wireless router to replace the (very) old one that was beginning not to work – I think that was the last computer ‘bit’ that’s never been replaced yet.  About ten years it’s been working away there which is pretty impressive in computer-part terms.  I now have a flashing blue thingie which I may have to cover up with a bag but which seems to work.

Otherwise, it’s all over bar the gallons of tea and various competing elements in the kitchen.  Eldest and GIGi plan to make dinner for us tomorrow – on past experience this could be a good thing or a disaster.  Barney has gone stamp hunting at an auction and I am chilling.  Well, to be honest, I’m lazing and slouching and occasionally rousing myself just enough to play with a Christmas present or two before sinking back into sloth.  Eldest is watching a Very Good Film.  Something about a man with his hand stuck in a rock for 127 hours?  When some of the particularly brilliant aspects of it were described to me last night, I decided to avoid it altogether.  GIGi is keeping him company – I hope she doesn’t get nightmares.

Oh well, I’d better go and shower and have more (much more) coffee and go shopping before Eldest drinks us dry of tea and milk.

So I took Eldest and GIGi into town to get their ingredients and obtained, for Barney, the last copy of ‘Stamp and Coin Mart’, a magazine in which there is an article by one of the members of the Thatcham Philatelic Society – oh, of which he is chairman, so it’s not completely random.  It seems there is a Penny Red which couldn’t possibly ever have been printed but which has been examined by a number of forgery experts who declare that it couldn’t possibly be forged.    And now Eldest and GIGi are slicing and chopping and frying and I’m so glad I wolfed down a couple of slices of ham before they started cooking.  Ooh and in a minute they’re going to pour the brandy in and make fire.  Should I stay or should I escape now?  Oh, not yet – Adam’s iphone bonged which means it’s not time for the brandy yet.  When it bings I’ll run away go and look.


Well, in the event it was quite exciting – too much fire as Eldest just explained to GIGi – but it was ok, he was able to move it to a lower level so the flames didn’t reach the ceiling.  I was busy calculating how long it would take to reach and soak a tea towel but it all blew over quite quickly – well, brandy does doesn’t it.  Oh, did I ever tell you about the time I found Eldest  aged about six, crouched underneath his captain’s cabin-style bunk bed, making a fire in a small tobacco tin and melting candles into it?  There’s a website isn’t there, called “hundreds of dangerous things you should let your children do”?***  Fire is one of them.  Of course children should play with fire else how are they ever going to understand how it works?   It’s a symptom of the way we live that we don’t spend time playing with fire with our children but, instead, make laws to stop them ever handling a match or a lighter or a candle****.  Stupid stupid.  Not keeping them away from danger but failing miserably in spending time with them and teaching safety.  (Mind, I wasn’t teaching Eldest much when I discovered him with his little camp fire underneath his bed, I just yelled at him and poured water on it.  And to be fair, he’d already grasped various essentials, like not putting his flames on the carpet and only feeding small amounts of fuel and candle to the fire.  Quite a bright little arsonist really.  He’s always been keen on working things out from first principles).

Right, well, the casserole is now completely doused with wine and simmering gently so I think it’s safe to go and lie down for a bit.

Oh yes.  Perfectly safe.  Dinner was very good and once it was all done and they’d all been to the pub and come back, I went to sleep and didn’t wake up till very very late today – now, um, Saturday?  Yes. Saturday.  And do you know?  I’m not going to drive them to Oxford again to make teddy bears.  They can borrow the car and take themselves.  I feel that I didn’t quite get to finish my chilling (slopping, slouching and sloth – ing) yesterday  so I’m going to do a bit more today.  You too, have a lovely peaceful day.

*And it’s the same ones I waited for in Reading the day before.  I am a good old Mum, yes?

**It still hasn’t arrived but he liked the picture I downloaded to show him)

***Well, I think it’s actually ten but you get the idea.

****Yes I know some parents aren’t particularly bright when it comes to flames and fire but perhaps no one taught them anything useful either.


December 29, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Ronan was cooking on the Aga by the time he was five. And we’ve always had open fires and they knew about fire from the youngest age. It’s forbidding things so that they do them in secret that causes disaster. Although as they got older I found they could be dismayingly open about things I might have preferred not to know about.

    Comment by Z | December 29, 2012 | Reply

  2. Hmmm it’s the forbidden things they do openly that makes me realise I was a wonderfully bad example.

    Mig, you deserve to chill, slouch, whatever.. It sounds like it’s been the best fun at chez Mig. Happy New Year! Xx

    Comment by Linda | December 29, 2012 | Reply

  3. *laughing*
    I’m thinking Linda and I were especially wonderful ‘bad examples’.
    As a result there’s a tad more discretion in the children than in I. A tad, mind you–the girl can, on occasion, leave me at a loss for words.
    And THAT–is a major accomplishment, I must say.
    Makes me PROUD! 😉

    Wow–what an awesome holiday for all of you.

    Did you buy the son a watch? :-/
    JUST sayin’………ROFL

    Comment by Mel | December 29, 2012 | Reply

  4. Oh goodness yes Z. The things I didn’t need to know! I don’t think we stopped the children from using kitchen equipment but I definitely remember forbidding Eldest to make small fires in tins or boxes in the dining room, I’m not sure what I could have done about that. Probably I should have taken him and his equipment outside and played with fire together in the garden. But then they all helped with the camping cooker.

    Youngest has made me swear never to reveal whole lifetimes of stuff that she did when she was young Linda. I suspect she’ll be finding out how easy it is for intelligent young people to keep Mum on the hop in a year or two. But I’m sure they’ll be very kind to her.

    I’m not sure what kind of example I was Mel. Rather a random one I imagine. And no, he has a perfectly good watch already – however, I have been picking it up wherever I find it (the floor, the bathroom, under the bed etc) and handing it back to him all week.

    Comment by Mig | December 29, 2012 | Reply

  5. Is it Thatcham for geographic or occupational reasons?

    Comment by Rog | December 29, 2012 | Reply

  6. Yes Rog.

    Comment by Mig | December 29, 2012 | Reply

  7. I just had to go back and “read between the lines” in case I was missing something…nope, I think I got it. A lovely time, by the sound of it.Not surprised you needed to chill!
    I never lit fires under my bed, but there was the rather dodgy thing with the Tom Thumb bangers and an empty bottle…

    Comment by dinahmow | December 29, 2012 | Reply

  8. That sounds fun Dinahmow.

    Comment by Mig | December 31, 2012 | Reply

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