Your invite to a Christmas Feast…

…with an international flavour…

These are all dishes that are traditionally eaten at Christmas, apparently.
Pull up a chair, dig in, and enjoy!

C

Czech Republic

Vánoční rybí polévka
(Christmas Fish Soup)

H

Hungary

töltött káposzta
(Stuffed Cabbage)

R

Rwanda

Goat Meat Kebabs

I

Iraq

Pacha
(Sheep’s head, trotters and stuffed tripe – yummy! *faints*)

S

South Korea

Bulgogi
(Marinated barbecued beef)

T

Trinidad & Tobago

Baked Ham

M

Mexico

Tamales
(Dough stuffed with pork and salsa, wrapped in corn husks)

A

Australia

Pavlova
(Meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit, especially berries)

S

Sweden

Risgrynsgröt
(Rice pudding dusted with cinnamon and with an almond hidden inside)
NB Apparently you must put a dish of risgrynsgröt outside the front door on Christmas Eve for the Christmas elf, or he will become mischievous…

* * * * *

Oh, and don’t forget the

Chocolate Liqueurs

(Thanks to the lovely Anne at I’ve Read This for unwittingly providing the inspiration for this post, and to the astoundingly mischievous Vince Carrola for unwittingly providing the music!)

🤶MERRY CHRISTMAS!🎅

Friday Frippery! Dear Santa…

…A Last Minute Request

I’ve gone and missed the last posting date for my Christmas pressies, so I’m hoping you and Rudolph could help me by dropping off some gifts while you’re doing your rounds tomorrow night. Here’s the list…

For Lizzie Bennet…

lizzies-present

…a set of noise cancelling headphones for when her mother’s trying to persuade her to marry the oleaginous Mr Collins.

mrs-bennet-gif

* * * * * * * * *

For Sherlock Holmes…

sherlocks-present

… a nice vaping pipe. Three of these should solve any problem…

* * * * * * * * *

For Hercule Poirot…

poirots-gift

…a Flick Knife Moustache Comb – useful should he ever have to defend his moustache from an evil villain.

* * * * * * * * *

For Mr Rochester…

rochesters-present

…one or other of these self-help books should be useful, I think…

* * * * * * * * *

For Miss Marple…

miss-marples-present

…a handy tote bag, and something to help her with that difficult gift for Hercule…

* * * * * * * * *

For Bertie Wooster…

bertie-and-the-aunts

…to help deal with those occasional pesky infestations…

aunt-spray-3

* * * * * * * * *

For Scrooge…

scrooges-present

… a nice t-shirt will keep him warm and provide a handy reminder for when he hears those chains start to clank…

* * * * * * * * *

For Darcy…

darcy standing

Ahh, Darcy! The man who has everything! What could I give him but…

mirror

Well, why should he be denied the opportunity to admire his own magnificence?

* * * * * * * * *

Thanks for your help, Santa, and…

santa-gif

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

The Ghosts of Christmas Presents…

“Santa’s been!! Santa’s been!!”

 

santa's sleigh

As I wrote my note for Santa this year, my mind drifted back to those happy far-off days of childhood, when gifts mysteriously arrived in the middle of the night, closely followed by a manic Dad running up and down the hall shouting “Get up! Get up! Santa’s been!!”. We knew to get up quickly, because otherwise Dad would have the toys unwrapped and be playing with them before we got to them…

Most of my Christmas pressies are long forgotten, I fear, but here are a few that stood out… for one reason or another…

* * * * * * *

003 (2)

Edward came into my life on my first ever Christmas and has been a true and steadfast friend ever since. He’s had a hard life. My brother threw him into the fire one day, because that’s what brothers do, resulting in some brutal scorch marks and a melted paw. Then my childhood poodle, in a fit of insane jealous rage, savagely attacked him, eating his stomach and detaching an ear. BigSister carried out emergency surgery, which lasted until Trix the Tomcat savaged him again several decades later. But as you can see he has again been patched up and battles bravely on, though he has been known to look askance at Tuppence from time to time…

310110 004 - Copy

* * * * * * *

The first record I was ever given was made of red plastic and played only on a special wind-up toy record player… another gift. But the wonders of youtube mean that you too can now share in the unique joy that is…

PINKY AND PERKY!

(*tries so hard not to think of the Professor and Nick… but fails*)

* * * * * * *

spacehopper

Ah, how I loved my Spacehopper! It arrived on one of our fairly rare White Christmases when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even. So I had to wait for two whole days before I was allowed out to play on it – a looooong two days, since my Mum for some reason wasn’t keen on me bouncing around the house on it. Mothers, eh? Let me tell you, there is nothing in this life quite like bouncing around on a giant orange rubber ball with a face! And it was tough! It even survived bouncing into the middle of the neighbour’s prized rose bush! Though when my neighbour saw it, there was some doubt for a moment as to whether I would survive…

* * * * * * *

The first record I ever specifically requested was this one. Don’t judge me! I don’t know whether it was his voice or his jumpers I loved most…

.
* * * * * * *

But with age comes sophistication. And gonks. Really, if you didn’t have several gonks to call your own it was pretty much grounds for the Social Services to take you away and do your parents for child cruelty. Small gonks, large gonks, gonks on keyrings, gonks stuck on the ends of pencils.

Where are all those gonks now? They’ve probably formed an underground movement and are plotting revenge for our adult forgetfulness. My favourite gonk was much like these, only white…

gonks

* * * * * * *

At least my musical taste was continuing to develop…

(Ooh, I want a hat like that!)
* * * * * * *

 

Probably in a desperate bid to wean me off gonks, my Mum and Dad Santa gave me a gift that I have treasured ever since. Enid Blyton had already directed me towards crime fiction, but Sherlock Holmes became my ultimate hero and has remained so ever since.

Though these days I actually prefer dear old Watson – loyal and true, and with a romantic heart! In the many years since, I have received various Holmes editions and collections, Holmes pastiches, books about Holmes, but this original book has outlasted them all. It rarely sits on a bookshelf – it lives beneath my bedside table to be dipped into any time I need something comfortingly familiar…

* * * * * * *

But finally childhood must give way to those angst-ridden, rebellious, pimply teen years. I think my Dad was lulled into a false sense of security when his Val Doonican loving daughter asked for an innocuously entitled album by a singer with the pretty name of Alice. However, as we followed our usual Christmas Day tradition of playing all our musical gifts while Mum cooked the dinner, I fear his complacency was shattered forever…

.

It was round about that time that he began to sound nervous as he yelled… “Santa’s been!! Santa’s been!!”

* * * * * * *

Last year Santa gave me Dickens and Rachmaninov – loved and appreciated both. But you know… well… they’re just not a Spacehopper, are they?

* * * * * * *

Whatever Christmas brings you this year, may it make you want to bounce!

tigger and pooh christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 😀

Season’s Greetings!

MMidnight in Peking
EEquilateral
RRobeson: An American Ballad
RRight Ho, Jeeves
YYou Have to Tell

CCharles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World
HHound of the Baskervilles
RRubbernecker
I  – Interventions
SSecret Life of William Shakespeare
TThree Men in a Boat
MMy Second Death
AAnd the Mountains Echoed
SStrays

 

christmas book tree

 

AAbsolution
NNoon
DDeath in a Scarlet Gown

AA Princess of Mars

HHow to Fall
AAn Officer and a Spy
PPilgrim Soul
PPU-239 and Other Stories
Y – You

NNearest Star
EEmpire Falls
WWrite Your Own Mystery

YYes, well, I ran out of Ys…
EEnd of Everything
AA Christmas Carol
RRevolutionary Road

 

edinburgh fireworks

 

SEE YOU ALL IN 2015!