Saturday, December 7, 2013

Twelve days of Christmas?

What ever became of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas?'  I can understand shops putting up decorations in November, after all they have to encourage people to spend, spend, spend, with peoples spending power decreasing they need longer time to get that last cent out of your back pocket. But why do people feel the need to put up their decorations and trees as soon as December arrives?
 Christmas surely is from  Christmas eve until twelfth night on the 5th of Jan, the secret is in the word, 'Twelfth Night'. Thirty six days does not compute in my mind to the festive season.
 Decorations up Christmas Eve, decorations down on the fifth of Jan, that's twelve days. Plenty long enough. Having decorations up for so long surely makes cleaning hard, plus at the end of that time they are looking tired and sad. We saw the first house decorations up last Saturday, which was still November, we have seen several other houses following suit this week. Maybe these people need to have a constant reminder that Christmas IS coming and they don't want to miss it. There's not too much chance of that, the TV ads have been have been running for weeks, ditto the local radio station, thank goodness for Radio Four, if it has been mentioned I've missed it.
Maybe there should be a new month, do away with December and replace it with Christmas as a month.
 Hopefully this will be the year for us that we more or less skip Christmas, or at least the glitter and expensive tat that somehow has become associated with it. We have the excuse of having two kittens running around who would destroy any bling. A little bit of holly and Ivy will do us, it costs nothing and looks good. If we didn't like Xmas cake , pud, and turkey we could really skip it altogether.
At last our wholefood order arrived, a week or so later than expected, but unfortunately missing the Spelt flour, I use three different types of flour when making the bread, so that will still have to be bought from a health food store,
Organic goodies.
buying in bulk from a health food coop saves a tremendous amount of money, in the case of flour 100% saving.
We would normally make our Xmas puds on Stir Up Sunday so we are a little late this year, they will get done tomorrow after we have got the suet from the farmers market. We have done the Xmas cake now, as soon as Simon arrived home with our order he set to work, we use a recipe handed down to us from a friend many years ago who worked in Bournemouth's most prestigious patisserie, containing four lb of fruit and nuts but only eight ounces of flour it is a very rich cake, it is always moist and keeps well, I have used this recipe many times for wedding cakes for friends and when I was catering, it's always a hit, but for ourselves I don't have to ice it as neither of us likes icing. Just a lovely thick layer of home made marzipan!
Monkey, one of our cats has been very unwell the last couple of weeks, we had the vet out to her twice but there was no improvement, in the end we took her to the veterinary hospital who confirmed what we already knew, that her kidneys were packing up, she is only eleven and one of our very special girls having been bottled fed from birth, Susie at the hospital managed to stabilize her after a four day stay and she is on special food, we hope she will be with us a little longer but we do realize that her improvement is only temporary. This is the worst part of keeping pets, they always leave a huge gap when they have gone, one year on from losing Jason our lovely ginger cat and Shannon our water Spaniel we still miss them.
Dotted around the Irish country side you often come across unusual sculptures, coming back from Manorhamilton last week we spotted a beauty in Drumkeeran,
The Rookery.
it's called the Rookery and is one of the nicest pieces of contemporary art work we have seen.
Ready for the first boiling.
The Christmas puddings are now made and boiling away for the next five hours, one we will have at Christmas the other to be saved for when friends come at Easter, they had hoped to make it for Christmas but couldn't, so we can have a belated celebration then.
We decided to do a costing on the puddings with a view to making some for the Christmas fairs next year, the size of puddings we have seen for sale this year are marked up at ten euros which to us seemed a little on the steep side considering none of them appear to contain any Organic ingredients, ours have worked out at two euros eighty one cent per pudding using 100% organic ingredients, so we will have a good think about this, if we do do it, they wont be ten euros.
Monkeys new bedroom.
Monkey seems much better today although last night she had a fit, she is eating her new food very well and she has been given a bedroom all of her own, she seems to appreciate this, somewhere where she can have peace and quiet when she wants it.
There is still little sign of winter arriving, it is still very mild, unlike Galicia where we used to live where they have  -2c  daytime temperature, warmer in Ireland than Spain, who would have thought it?  


  1. Lovely puddings! I´m glad you didn´t have that nasty storm that the UK got.

    1. We love our Xmas puddings, one thing we wont give up.

  2. Replies
    1. She is such a brave little cat, she does not like her special diet but did enjoy some Organic lamb tonight although she is not supposed to have any protein, as there is nothing more the vet can do we think it best to let her have what she wants rather than starving.

  3. Hi Ann - I'm not sure if the comment I left for you got lost en route, so I'll just briefly summarise it by saying yes, I definitely agree with you about the whole Christmas thing - in the US, the lead-up to it can start as ridiculously early as late September/early October. And I've even seen in two shops here in Ireland already that there are Valentine's Day cards out on display.

    I'm so sorry and saddened to read about your beautiful Monkey's health problems. I'm hoping that she'll be with you and Simon for a long time still to come. - June

    1. Christmas should be just that, at the right time, we try to skip as much of Xmas as we can, I used to enjoy it but now it seems to be an excuse for excess and showing off who's got the biggest and best c--p.
      There's no more that the vet can do for our girl so we are giving her what she wants when she wants it, she always has loved her cuddles, comes from being bottled fed I guess. Hopefully we will have her for a few more days or even a couple of weeks.

  4. I'm sure Monkey is glad to be back home again. Could'nt agree more about all that imported tat people spend money on. The planet's resources should'nt be wasted on this crap. That sculpture outside Drumkeeran is one of my faves too.

    1. Yes Monkey is very pleased to be home, she is a darling cat, we both get so upset knowing she will not be with us much longer, apart from her kidneys she seems so well and alert.
      I just do not understand why people have to go OTT with Xmas rubbish, holly and ivy from the hedgerow, nice bees wax candles, all local, no air miles or slave labour, and a special meal, do you need more, I think not. to quote or rather slightly mis- quote Judith Hoad, 'Need not Greed'.

  5. So sad to hear about Monkey. I know it's not good to have favourites but she is such a character...jumping onto shoulders as you pass into the living room. So sad but glad to hear she's comfortable at home, poor thing.

    I'm so sad to be missing Christmas with you two but let out a little happy yelp when I read that one of those puddings is to be saved for a belated celebration at Easter! Flights from Knock to Malaga are now up so I'll have a better look and email you now...Oh yes we have our laptop back! xxx

  6. We might even make a Easter cake for you! Monkey is holding her own she is enjoying our leg of lamb which was supposed to do us for three days, her need is greater than ours.