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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

traditions remembered

One of my favourite memories is of my father at Christmas. He never bought our presents through the year, but on Christmas Eve he would go off after work, and buy our stocking presents. He always wrapped them in awful cheap paper from Woolies - and wrote his name on them all - dad - nothing more. We got the same every year!!! He used his own socks, grey usually, and stuffed them with an orange, a hazelnut, a diary, 10pence, a box of chocolates ( mine were Black Magic), usually a gift from the jewellers like a bracelet or something, maybe a cassette tape, sweets etc. Nothing out of this world but it meant such a lot to me because he did it all by himself and that was hard enough for him!!!! I never got a card from my dad until he was retired and living most of the time in Ludlow whilst my mother was in their house in Deal. She had had a stroke and wanted to be back in Deal where she knew people, but dad had a job to do still so he commuted every 3 weeks or so....he was far from perfect as a person but he was my dad and he has been dead for almost 12 years now, and I miss him dreadfully. Our toast is the same every Christmas: 'Absent friends'. We make this toast so that each and every person at the table can think of their own special people and remember them and Christmas's past. Must be the sherry talking! Gone all sentimental! I was icing the christmas cake just before blogging and I always have a sherry whilst I do that job! The ham for Boxing Day is in the oven and smells wonderful. I am not at all sure I am cooking it right....how we cook a ham is different from the Dutch methods so I am worried that it won't cook properly!!! I have a James Martin recipe that I want to use for Boxing Day, cold with the buffet I am preparing. I know it is easy to just pop to the shops and buy it all ready-made, but that feels as though I have missed so much from my cooking prep! Last year being at Sally's I didn't have to do a thing so I am probably over-compensating this year!!!! I want to cover it with all the delicious stuff James tells me to do, so that is the next on my list. The 12 bottles of wine from DANMIL, Peter's company arrived too, just now, but no sign of my keyboard as yet...it is on its way, but I think it will be tomorrow now ( there is still time!!). We are singing at 8pm tomorrow night in the Oosterkerk in Hoorn. There is also a brass band playing too so that is exciting. I associate Christmas music with the Salvation Army Band because they came around the streets playing carols at Christmas and I adored watching them from out of our bedroom windows! I collected the portrait of the cats and it is delightful. Peter will be thrilled I am sure. Thank you so much Caren!! I will put it on the blog after Christmas so that you can all see it! Bye for now, busy, busy, busy... Sue x

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