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Following the Star a bit more (Pimp my Gravy)

I can now soberly report that the practically zero effort Christmas dinner was well received. Nothing wrong with it, and better than that: not as disappointing as previous ones where heaven and earth were moved beforehand.

I did peel and chop my own carrots and sweetheart cabbage, and I did eschew the bag of brown turkey gravy at the BP. There are some depths to which even I cannot sink

a) buying their Wild Bean Coffee – no matter how much they beg me to
b) buying pre-made brown poultry gravy in a clear pouch *slight retch*

One of my most simple pleasures in life is boiling up a chicken carcass to make stock. I love picking out the bones and the gristle and the remaining skin and bits of meat to give to the dog, after thoroughly steaming up the kitchen. And I love the way the stock can sometimes turn quite opaque, and how the liquid turns to a golden jelly when it’s cooled. So, I would be happy to have you believe that I always have quantities of frozen chicken stock (in ice cube trays, if the prophet Nigella is to be followed on the matter) to call on for Christmas gravy.

The Pimping bit is chef’s secret…

Yesterday, when I was not buying BP gravy, but I was in the garage buying some other bits, I was happy to be served by the fella with waist-length hair. I prefer him, or Dan who reminds me of another Dan I know, to patiently bear my messing up the card machine for the umpteenth time. One of the women, Charlotte, is the most earnest coffee and pastries flogger ever and I am a bit intimidated by her; she makes me feel I am only a heartbeat away from caving in to her demands and ordering four coffees and twenty doughnuts. Anyway, yesterday I greeted yer man seasonally, to be polite, and asked if he minded working on The Day. Not at all, he said, it gets me out of things. Presumably pimping the gravy being one of them. Then he said

Bah Humbug and gave me this.

Now that’s a quality Christmas transaction.

The Great Christmas Tree Stand Off

The kids are now 8 and 6 and have always been guided in the need for a real tree at Christmas by me. Now there is a mole in the camp and they are *whispers* demanding an artificial one.

Gulp.

I wouldn’t need much excuse to cancel Christmas being a bit of bah humbug anyway, but the only thing I do look forward to is fisticuffs in the garden centre 48 hours before the event over the last real tree. Then I especially like all the difficulty in transporting the 6 foot fir home and I relish the festive moaning about the pine needles dropped in the car and in the house.

This morning the children (who had clearly been counter-briefed at some point this week) made the following accusations about a real tree:

There is no room (there is loads)
They would not be able to feed the fish without spiking their bums (they don’t feed the fish I do and I am hard)
The dog might pee on it (well he might)
It would drop needles everywhere (that’s the point)
It is always too big???

Apart from the fact it is way too early to think about Christmas, or trees or suchlike I am clearly going to have to consider my position. Added to the rearguard action from the kids, I heard a programme on the radio this week that suggested that many of the real trees we have at Christmas are propagated from cones collected in Georgia where people are working 60ft up in trees, with no safety equipment and for little pay. Now I am going to have to think about that issue too.

Last year I bought a modestly sized real tree with roots and put it back out in the garden on the Epiphany (another source of dispute) for the dog to pee on. Someone, during the course of the year, decided it was proper dead (it was not) and cut it up and burned it, presumably to make double sure I couldn’t drag it back in this year. If that hadn’t have happened I wouldn’t be here now writing this rubbish and wrestling with my conscience about Georgian fir cone pickers.

Damn and blast bloody Christmas.