8th December, 2013
Pauline is becoming terribly profligate. We had to dash out and buy her a third Kenwood Chef food mixer in forty years. What is the woman doing with them? Actually, the first one in the 1970s cost around £200.00, the second one came ‘free’ courtesy of an insurance company after the first one twerked itself off the kitchen work-surface in the throes of kneeding dough and smashed on the floor.
This one, selling in hard economic times, is back to the 1970s price. Normally now, of course, I would be extracting my own price – sponge cakes with whipped cream centres, speciality breads, meringues, etc.. Unfortunately, they are all useless to me now. All I can do sit and gaze on this ‘useless’, gleaming machine. Why did we buy it?
9th December, 2013
Lovely, sunny day and not cold – 11C/52F. Christmas cards are starting to arrive and we haven’t posted ours yet. It is interesting that we find 11C acceptably mild for December in England. Skiathan Man has gone native and describes 12C as cold enough for a log burner in Greece. We have put our heating on for an hour in the past fortnight.
Having said that, I notice we are eating more soup at the moment and salad has virtually disappeared from our table. Anyway, tonight I am cooking – casseroled quails. It is a favourite of ours. We buy the quails in France – usually still with the heads on – and I end up with a plastic bag full of little birds’ heads to dispose of. Below you can see how delightful the live bird can be but taste it in a casserole with lots of green peas and you won’t worry about its life.
The flavour is wonderful.
10th December, 2013
Wonderful, wonderful day which reached 14C/57F. Clear blue sky and strong, low sun. It made one glad to be alive! It hadn’t started that way. We set off for the Tunnel at 6.15 am – semi-dark, swirling mists and 0C/32F on the road. You can’t beat the M25 for enjoyment. By 7.30 am, we were drinking coffee and waiting to drive on to the train. Thirty minutes later, we were in France. It’s so easy nowadays like going to Waitrose.
I associate going to France with piling case after case of wine in to the boot of the car. It was strange not to be doing that. I don’t have a great need for wine at the moment. We did go to the wine store to buy some for Phyllis but not for ourselves. P&C like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. She pays around £6.00 per bottle in Tesco who will be advertising that as half price. I can buy it for her at £2.49 per bottle like for like.
We went on to Auchan to do our monthly shop. A large salmon, filleted on site for us plus cod loins, Duck Breasts, cheeses, meat terrines, chestnuts, salad vegetables, sacks of onions and bags of oranges.
11th December, 2013
A misty morning but not very cold as we are up and out early again. Pauline has to be at the hairdressers for 9.00 am. The traffic is horrendous at this time and a ten minute journey took over half an hour. Christmas cards being posted today exactly two weeks before Christmas Day. It is, of course, a portentous day being 11/12/13. I won’t be able to write that again until I am 152!
12th December, 2013
A trip to the Farm shop in Esher this morning. It was chilly but without frost. We were warmer than Greece when I checked. Even as I write at 11.00 pm in UK / 1.00 am in Greece, we are warmer than Athens.
Pauline wanted to buy some specialist sausages to trial for the Christmas meal that we are cooking. We bought,
- Gloucester Old Spot Pork sausages
- Wild Boar & Apple sausages
- Venison sausages
along with a large joint of Belly Pork and some huge Pork Chops.
There is a fascinating article about the terrible quality of the Greek education system in the Irish Times today. It is entitled: Why Greece’s schools are a shambles and its universities are chaotic. It argues that the system is chaotic from school right through university and suggests that the system’s problems currently appear intractable.
13th December, 2013
Goodness knows where that threat of weeks of snow and cold came from at the end of November. It now looks as though we will be settled and mild for the foreseeable days and, probably, through Christmas.
Posting of Christmas Cards and Newsletters had waited for today because Pauline wanted her haircut before she had her photo taken. It happened this morning and here is the result:
14th December, 2013
Well, Friday 13th went alright. Pauline even ordered a Christmas present for me. I know what it is.
Malvolio would be really jealous! Actually, although we cook for everyone else, Pauline & I have never really done Christmas. We would quite happily chant, Bah Humbug! and sleep until Boxing Day. Unfortunately, the world demands that we mark the day. Actually, the arrangement is that we will meet family for Lunch on Christmas Eve at our favourite Italian restaurant in Byfleet. On Christmas Day we will all gather at Mandy & Kieron’s and Pauline & I will cook. Boxing Day will be spent in the tranquillity of our apartment.