(Sorry no pics here at the Poor House)
Well while I faff about doing other stuff rather than sorting out the uploading photos problem on Blogger ( thank you very much for all your suggestions) I thought I'd just continue with my usual commentary/rants.
This is a strange and special Christmas for me and Mr EM. It's the only one since we were first married that we have spent alone. Just us, we two. No parents still alive. All children grown up and since Number One Son departed to the USA last month, none living on this continent. Yes we both have the odd sibling but none are close and all are definitely odd.
We aren't too sad. It's only a few short weeks since we saw our son and we spent five weeks with our Australian daughters and grandchildren earlier this year. But it is still very strange.
As we shall be spending the holiday long weekend in London, we considered booking a Christmas Day lunch at a favourite London gastro pub. But luckily it was fully booked. Luckily? Yes - after we thought it through we realised that we would be strangers among strangers. No matter how many funny hats and whistles and glasses of bubbly, it would not be family. Or us.
We even looked at ordering a pre-prepared Christmas dinner for two from a top gourmet kitchen. Their offering for a Christmas lunch for two is a "Chicken Cushion": chicken breasts wrapped in bacon with fig and brandy stuffing and a marsala jus. How sad is that. I'm surprised they don't include the razor blades for us to slit our wrists.
No way! We've decided to cook our own Christmas dinner. Neither of us are that keen on turkey so won't bother with a prepared crown roast or even a chicken so we're going retro with roast beef of olde England and all the traditional veg. Starter of smoked salmon and thin slices of buttered brown bread and followed by a traditional Christmas pudding with brandy butter ( I make my own) and cream. Then a gammon joint boiled in cider will do for Boxing Day and cold cuts of both joints will make delicious sandwiches spiced with mustard or chutney for chillaxing in front of the TV after a walk on the common and a drink in the local pub.
Not a real tree this year but for the first time ever a fake one! Mr EM stated a secret desire for a silver tree - so our Christmas 2012 will have a faux silver tree from B&Q. While dropping off a load of DVDs and books at the local MenCap charity shop, we spotted bags of tree decorations at 50p each. Bought three bags. Job done.
We have also sorted out a large selection of unwatched DVDs that seem to have accumulated as well as a few our son has left behind. We're also working on how to arrange an interactive Scrabble game that we could play with our far flung children. Our eldest daughter is the Scrabble Queen and unbeaten in her and our world. Then there will be the intercontinental Skypes - some forwards, some backwards in time. How weird is that?
Presents are also limited. Grandchildren have been spoiled as usual but for everyone else we've agreed on a cards only Christmas. We're all so well provided for generally but this year has been tough on finances for all of us so it makes sense to hold back for this season at least. Mr EM and I are giving each other just one 'secret' present. We've both hit on a special desire and nodded it through. No silly nonsense - just one thing that we each really want but would not normally buy for ourselves because it's so indulgent.
And lots of clementines and nuts and chocolates of course!
What are your Christmas plans this year?