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December 26, 2007 > Across the Pond

Across the Pond

Xmas 2007

More haste less speed. Don't panic! Yes I've reached that state of Christmas preparation. Yesterday's crisis? Did I accidentally drop in the postbox the cards with just a name, to be personally delivered locally? It's too much to expect even my lovely and efficient postman to find the correct destination of cards when the only information is, 'Andrew and Linda' or 'Arthur and Jean'. Phew! Found said cards safely tucked behind the clock.....where else would they be? So it's off into the frost and darkness this evening to deliver them to neighbours.

I've done the annual infant (kindergarten) school Christmas play. Georgia (6) was a Chinese girl (don't ask). "How did you get that part?" I asked

"Because I had Chinese pyjamas" she replied. Aunty Lucy was delighted when I texted her later to inform her that the pyjamas she'd given Georgia for her birthday had had a starring role in the school play. So be careful what you give this Christmas, goodness knows what it may lead to. Lucy was also mentioned in the class wall display; pupils were asked to list 10 facts about China. Georgia had written, "My aunty Lucy has just come back from Hong Kong."

"Bet no-one else had that fact." I said.

I've also done the meat for Boxing Day when it's my turn to be family hostess to our ever increasing brood. Fabulous! As baby twins, Henry and Maisie will be staying, I reckon it's essential to prepare ahead as much as possible. It'll be 'all hands to the pumps' as soon as they arrive. So, beef, gammon, pork and chicken are now safely cooked and frozen in my recently defrosted and reorganised freezer. Bitterly cold weather provided ideal conditions for stacking frozen fare outside as I tackled the job with bowls of boiling water. Strange nameless and forgotten bags were jettisoned into the bin, clearing shelves for the Christmas food onslaught. I'm currently eating my way through stocks of chicken breasts and salmon fillets to clear even more space.

The awe inspiring Terracotta Army presently exhibited at London's British Museum, provided a fascinating diversion from cooking, shopping and tinsel decorations last week, when I met up with daughter Lucy for a post Hong Kong and Thailand briefing. Incredible to see the 2,000 year old figures, once buried to 'guard' the tomb of the first Chinese Emperor. Brought one home with me....well a small replica. Just working out where to place it......in a detached house in Newark England! Outside the Museum was a straight off a Christmas card, hot roasted chestnut seller, complete with brazier. Lucy just knew I was going to start singing 'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.' Which I did. I'm so reliably predictable.

I'm joining friends for my third Christmas dinner this week. I love them. The first was interesting - at a French restaurant in Nottingham. Turkey and plum pudding Parisian style was delicious, a visual work of art, and thanks to its more restrained portions, enabled us to leave the table in reasonable comfort, which is rarely the case on Christmas day when waistbands suddenly become amazingly tight, and the thought of ever eating again seems impossible....momentarily. I'm in 'training' at the moment, shedding a few pounds to leave a bit of leeway for the forthcoming feast.

And finally dear readers of this column, at this season of Good Cheer, I wish all my fellow Newarkers on the other side of the world, A Very Happy Christmas and a Wonderful New Year. Have fun!

Frances

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