Thursday 23 December 2010

Christmas Smells.... oh yes it does

Brother-in-law as angel ...........OK, not really.... if he looked this good dead, my sister might help him on his way!!!.....

The babies slept with me last night, I wanted peace they wanted warmth, hubby was away. Consequently I got up at 6am as I was jolly uncomfortable. How many arms and legs do two children have for heaven's sake?!

Coming downstairs I lit the fire and, feeling Christmassy, I made...... wait for it..... jam! I know it's not THAT Christmassy but the thing is, we had our Christmas Tesco delivery yesterday. We sledged across the lanes to retrieve it from the van driver who had managed to park up as near as possible. The same thing happened last year so we're fairy blase about this now. The new driver was most intrigued by our chilled attitude... oh I made a funny, chilled... never mind! Well, all the food turned up and when we finally got it home I started filling the freezer. However, the blackberries and peeled apple circles that I foraged in the summer and autumn were seriously getting in the way. Also I've a million empty jars cluttering up the dairy so I pulled out bags of fruit and lo and behold the new food fitted in beautifully.

Before the sproglets awoke this morning I made 13 jars of gorgeous Blackberry and Apple jam, loosely based on a recipe from The Cottage Smallholder, a font of all knowledge. My recipe probably has slightly more apple than blackberry because I took out more apple bags from the freezer. I sieved all pips out of the jam and it is really quite my best jam ever. It has a really good set, probably because of the quantity of apple.

Then, without rinsing the huge 19 litre stock pot, I made Beetroot Relish, a MUST with cold turkey. I made it with 6 packs of precooked beetroot, (what a cheat!) The vinegar smell was quite welcome, as by this time in the morning, the owner of the tree farm opposite had come with his son to remove our poo heap from outside the stables. The pong from the year-old manure was rather overpowering, still nothing like a bit of vinegar to clear the nostrils!!!

When the 6yo finally appeared from bed he had that cute bed-head look.

'Mum?' he said, holding his nose. (He can't abide weird smells.... (I fall into that category sometimes); make-up, perfume, vinegar, poo*, the auction house all offend him...)


'Will Santa bring me the things I asked for, the things I wrote on the note that we burned?'


'Not sure,' I said. 'Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he brings you something even better, something you didn't even think of.'

His chin wobbled. 'If Santa brings me baby toys I will think that Santa sucks!'

Sucks! Sucks! Are we in England? Who says sucks? I don't say sucks..... often....... neither does hubby or the 8yo! AND they don't watch the Disney Channel.... that bloody Disney Channel needs cleaning up if you ask me!.... Oh, you didn't,..... well, just don't get me started! That Tracey Beaker stuff is awful too and what about that dreadful programme where kids play to get out of jail - what the heck is THAT about!!!??? .... OK, it's OK I'm breathing into a bag now....

Calm thoughts, calm thoughts............ It's a stunning day today, belting sunshine and the white white snow, we could be at a ski resort.... though rather less funds required. The children have refused to go sledging, just because I want to go down with them on my lap! No fun.

'Is it because I'm too fat?'

'No!' said the 8yo immediately. Good girl, I've trained her well - a fast positive response. Feeling better about myself already. Sod the diet in January.

'You're just very chubby.'

I'm heading Santa off at the pass..........................................


My brother in law is laid up at the moment: He came off his motorbike badly on the ice. I rather hope he decides not to ride again as he's the most brilliant person ever and we really rather like having him on the planet with us. The thought of him gazing down on us in a meringue dress with wings and a harp could put you off your Christmas dinner! Anyone with suggestions of how to keep him off the bike, which is sadly the most economical way to get to his central London job, will be most gratefully received. Apparently my suggestion that my sister and family move to Knightsbridge isn't actually that practical! Details, schmeetails!

*I do NOT smell of this substance....oh wait, except when barrowing from the muck heap, cleaning out the chickens and gardening... OK, maybe I do smell of poo.!


  1. You see that's the problem with clever children! Hope the smell has gone as well as the poo pile!

  2. I go to the barn for 10 minutes and come back smell like all kinds of pee and poo, and it's a CLEAN barn! lol

    But it's worth it, eh?

    Your jam sounds delightful, I can almost taste it! What a treat for your loved ones!

    Happy and safe and warm holidays to you all!

  3. I think that deserves a medal. Jam at 6am. Well, everyday a new experience! Hope you had a good Christmas and thanks for dropping by my blog.


The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon