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Monday, December 22, 2008

Mince pies and pea pods...

The sun is out......the wind - cold - from the Sahara - but not bringing too much sand with it for once and certainly not bringing the cloud of locusts it carried in one memorable winter; memorable but not very nice.

Granny makes mince pies. Of an evening she sits by the fire shelling peas.... their neighbour Juan brought in his surplus yesterday, plus large amounts of pea pods for Ruby, lucky goat. She is going to freeze any she and Beloved can't eat tonight. An odd combination - winter, fire and peapods - to her English self, but preferable to brussel sprouts for sure.

On Wednesday - Christmas Eve - there will be the usual ritual exchange with Juan and his family; her mince pies and Beloved's lethal fig brandy against a plate of curious pasties filled with some kind of faintly gingery, very sweet gunge - Granny and Beloved don't care for these much and will probably donate the lot to Mr Jonah and his family with whom they are partaking their Christmas feast - a feast much augmented by goodies from G and B: Mr Jonah's cooking is not half as good as theirs. (This is not a boast. IT IS TRUE.) G and B are not crazy, either, about Juan's wine, even though it is made from the grapes which grow alongside their drive. The bottle they receive will probably be used for cooking. Whether Juan and his family likes the mince pies and the fig brandy any better isn't clear, but either way it doesn't matter. It is the thought that counts....Granny's cliche for the day. But actually Christmas needs its rituals whether recent or antique and Granny is as glad of this one as she is glad of the ritual by which she will make chestnut stuffing and weep to the sound of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College Cambridge between 3 o'clock and 4.30 on Christmas Eve. (Beloved absents himself throughout. But that's Beloved for you.) It's her time for remembering her dead -added to this year by the death of Beloved - if sighed-over - big brother. Sentimental. Yes. Who cares.

Enough for now. Time to be thankful for the fact she has water again, and a Beloved and a goat and a dog and a cat - time to wish the world was a nicer place elsewhere - time to wish everyone a Happy Christmas, if such a thing is possible. For all of you she really hopes it is...

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