My son was here to visit me last week as it was “half term” and he comes to spend some time with me every school holiday. His general knowledge is far better than mine. On reading my article in the October about my young French friend thinking that Welsh rarebit was rabbit—Rowan told me that originally the English called it “Welsh Rabbit”. They were mocking the Welsh for using cheese as they couldn’t afford rabbit!
When he read what I wrote about Luke Howard naming the clouds (see previous post) he told me that Luke named one special cloud — cloud nine — which led to the expression “I’m feeling on cloud nine”.
I feel on cloud nine when I buy new clothes! I’ve had a new dress for Christmas ever since I was born! Every December my grandmother, aunt, mother and myself went to Bath and we all bought our dresses from Jolly’s—a large dress store in Milsom Street. Then we had a cream tea in “the Red house”. I don’t know if these two establishments still exist! This year I’ve bought yet another L.B.D (Little black dress).
It’s made of lace, and no I didn’t go to Bath. I bought it from the comfort of my lounge - as I am a fan of Q.V.C. (television shopping). Little black dresses (or navy ones) are so useful as they can be dressed up or worn casually. If you want to change one of yours without spending much—why not buy a necklace/collar? Many shops have them this year. I’ve seen them in white pearls, black stones, rhinestones or in gold and silver colours.
Another idea is to wear a pretty scarf. I’ve made some wide floaty ones that can be spread out, then belted to look part of the dress. You need to feel confident so that you forget what you are wearing and just enjoy yourself!
You may already have planned what you will be eating on Christmas Day. If you will be on your own—SPOIL YOURSELF! Last year several people said to me “Oh, it was no different from every other day!”
MAKE IT DIFFERENT. If I was catering for myself I would have my favourite box of chocolates and not feel guilty if I ate them all! Breakfast would be mid-morning, probably some smoked salmon with champagne or rosé wine. I would eat it in bed as I am not fond of getting up early! There would be a good book waiting to be read and a pile of favourite magazines.
Lunch would be simple, no feeling of having to cook for one. I would open up a tin of M&S white crab meat to eat with some rocket, an avocado, mayonnaise and mandarin marmalade (Bonne Maman). Do I hear you gasp with horror? Mandarin is no more odd than the grapes that are often eaten with a salad—and much less “sharp”.
I would make certain that my dinner was prepared the day before. I’d just heat up a duck casserole and fry some sliced potatoes (already boiled when I made the duck dish) in butter, olive oil and garlic until golden and crispy. Then more chocolates and my favourite wine.
I like “Moulin á Vent” (Windmill) for several reasons. When my son and his friends did grape picking to earn some pocket money, the family who produced “Moulin á Vent” treated the young workers very well and they sat down with the family each evening to share the same meal! Actually, it also tastes very good.
Better still. if you find that your choice of TV isn’t enough company—invite someone to join you for dinner! Make it someone whose company you know you’ll enjoy. I’ve never spent Christmas on my own—but if it happens—I’ll follow my own advice!
Finally why not join us at Frenchay Church on Sunday December 22nd (it starts at 6pm) for “CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT”? It’s a lovely start to Christmas and you would be made very welcome. A bonus—you could have a hot drink and mince-pies afterwards. I’ll be helping to serve—so if you don’t know me (or if you do!) please come and say “Hello”-
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas!