I have been provoked into blogging by the madness of parts of the ex-pat community and their shopping needs. I have stumbled across a pair of Brits with a freezer company who supplies the ex pat community with the things they hold most dear. So I was not surprised to see Heinz Baked Beans, certain very British relishes and bacon and then I saw the prices and the rest of the list. Who the hell needs to import batter mix?, Bicarb of Soda?, Trifle Sponges?, Flour?*!?, ready made cakes in packets and nasty cheap ones at that, Tinned ham? Jeez where has the frontier spirit gone? I follow 3 blogs and it seems to me that they all do what’s sensible – get by on the abundance of beautifully fresh produce to make their own food. I read this morning of how it’s possible to make your own bacon by brining it then sitting it atop the roof chimney to smoke. And that’s by a couple who have been out there for 6 months! I don’t want to appear petty or disparaging because I’ve spent the majority of my life living in other peoples countries but I always got by and I waited until I got a visit for the things I couldn’t make, like Marmite.
Actually I’ve started stockpiling certain things. Spices – a whole range of ones that I might not be able to buy in Bulgaria, either as plant seeds or dried in jars. I’m pretty certain I’m not going to have much luck growing pimento seeds, nutmeg or cinnamon trees not to mention herbs like Salsify, giant peppery Watercress, Kaffir leaf, Dill oh there are so many. I’m trying to get a full range of seeds ready. I’m also taking asparagus – it’ll take 3 years but I’ve never grown it before. I will probably be able to find most herbs and spices but I want a plan B just in case.
Amalia landed home yesterday. We picked her up from the station and as usual waited for her to appear. She wafted ethereally out of the train station smog in hippy duds, dreadlocks, a vintage Shopper bike and a patchwork tote bag. It was so lovely to see her beautiful face and lanky body. We enjoyed a very laid back dinner atop the only furniture left in the house; our mattress and chowed down on my watercress, pea and potato soup and freshly baked bread. Amalia added feta to hers and Terry opted for a tinned curry rather than my home made soup. He paid the price with a night of epic heartburn.
James is near the end of building a go kart for William as his Christmas present. Terry and I are so proud of him. He has planned and built a very, very upmarket go kart, almost like Postman Pats van it’s that big. It’s painted bright shiny red, has headlights you can switch on and off and big tyres so it can handle “terrain”. I believe it will be getting an engine in time. He is a fantastic father, the kind every kid would like to have. James also has a business plan up his sleeve but more on that in due time.
The big Christmas dinner is approaching and may be 14 people depending on whether Amalia will be spending it with us. I am not good at big gatherings of people, even family. Somewhere along my many years I have been categorised as the life and soul of the party and as such am expected to deliver. What usually happens is that I crack under the pressure and become more and more inappropriate as time goes by. Half of the family do the “oh Corinne” thing and the other half of the family laugh uproariously. I am not allowed to put my hand up during the quiz when someone else is unable to answer a question as that makes me a know it all. No matter that no one cares that I enjoy these games. I don’t do any cribbing but I have a knack for ingesting and storing knowledge that I didn’t know I had. You know, as if someone has Rohipnoled me and emptied a wad of data into my nut as I lie gouching. And I won’t even go into the pressure of remembering who knows what about whom and what is open for public discussion and what’s not. I suppose it’s a pretty average family get together at Christmas but I spend FOREVER stressing about it. Perhaps Vallium are the answer, I can sit drooling in a corner and smiling benignly!
Dani will be with her Nan and Grandad and Auntie who is really more of an older sister, and her husband. We will be visiting them some time before or after the Christmas meal. I think in my 53 years I’ve only managed to do no more than a handful of Christmas meals in my own home and how I would like to do it. A very laid back day with no absolute meal times, with a plethora of readily available food, drinks and delicacies. General chat, some TV, perhaps some games but most of all a sense of bonhomie.
Well good people there are no pictures again! I can only blame the weather – it makes me sad not to have seen blue skies for over a week, I don’t feel like taking any pictures. I am having to, yes having to work till next Wednesday 23rd December. I could go into a diatribe here but sadly it would both gall me and fall on deaf ears.