Christmas was nice, but, as we all know, there was something missing, that being our beloved dog Lilu. Christmas morning was always full of fun and excitement with her and Harper opening their presents. Indeed Mazikeen did join in, but it was not the same, and I know over time Maz will replace the fun on Christmas day. M and I had bought each other far too many presents, about 40 each. Now don’t get me wrong, we went for volume rather than cost, so most things were cheap trinkets, for example, I had got M 4 different packs of Top Trump cards, tapestry needles and other little things, and he did the same for me. We decided not to bother with a “big” present as neither of us needed or wanted anything, although I will confide in you my dear reader, I did break the rules and bought M a GoPro action camera with all the bits and bobs that go with it. It was on offer, so I thought why not. As it was my birthday a few days before Christmas I know that he had spent a lot of money on me, so I decided, what the hell, rules are to be broken. We had three sessions of sitting down opening presents as to do it in one go would have been vulgar (I say this with tongue in cheek).
Most Christmas’s we start the day with a glass of champagne and orange juice, but this year we decided that we wanted to have clear heads. Needless to say, we ate far too much but did not really drink, we had a bottle of wine with dinner, then sat in the lounge far too stuffed to even think about consuming more, but towards the end of the day, we did manage to have the obligatory turkey sandwich.
Boxing day we took the dogs out for walks and pottered about, watched a film and read books. Wednesday we decided since the weather was dreadful we would have a movie day. It was torrential rain outside and the temperature was 1c, so why it was coming down as rain was beyond me as a lot of the country was getting snow again. I know I go on about the lack of snow, but it really does annoy me, it’s down to the microclimate we live in and that we live on the coast.
I decided to make my yearly glazed ham. This year I boiled the 2kg join in water for 10 minutes, poured the water off and filled the pan with orange juice an onion cut in half with a clove in each, four bay leaves and a touch of pepper and simmered it for three hours. When the time was up I then removed the skin/rind and made diamond patterns in the fats, put a clove on each diamond and then drizzled it with my glaze that consisted of honey, wholegrain mustard, juice of an orange and the zest, pepper and orange marmalade, then baked it for 40 minutes. It was delicious, and I served it with pickled red cabbage and apple sauce.
Today I have made another trifle and am currently roasting a huge joint of beef, the smell is divine and I cannot wait to eat with some roast potatoes and veg.
I finally managed to finish one of the many books I am reading, Captain Scott by Ranulph Fiennes, it was quite an interesting history of Scott’s last expedition to the South Pole, and I found it quite sad to read the extent of suffering and the conditions of his and his colleague’s deaths. Although I knew of the story, and who doesn’t, but Ranulph Fiennes wrote in detail of all the backstabbing and character assassinations other authors had done in the past, one particular author Roland Huntford, had made lots of rubbish up and was taken to court by Scott’s son, needless to say Scott’s son won, but the damage it had done to Scotts reputation was quite alarming, and this so called text by Huntford was taken as gospel, only in later years has it been acknowleged that the man knew nothing and his life, like his book, was lies, even his name was not his real name. It says a lot about a person who assassinates someone’s reputation in order to give themselves a so-called good name.
Christmas is now over and the New Year heading towards us at speed, tomorrow, the last day of 2017. We have taken down all the Christmas decorations, apart from the tree that is, which may go tomorrow. I will be glad to get the house back to normal if I am being totally honest. I love all the decor we have during the period, but once boxing day is over, I am ready to box it all up again until the next December.
I have decided to make a few New Years Resolutions, and one of them is not to buy any more books. Our house is like a library and we have quite literally thousands of books, and hundreds that I have not got round to reading, so it seems silly buying more when there are so many queued up waiting for me. I have made a few other decisions along with a diet as I need to lose weight, I have just weighed myself and am 14 Stone 8 Pounds, so have quite a bit of weight to get rid of. I am going to publish it on my site, and hopefully, this will spur me on to shed it. I am not built for speed, so will never be skinny, but I do not intend to be that way. I have Scandinavian ancestry, basically, I am from Viking stock, which explains why I am not tall, being 171cm which is the typical height of a Viking man, I have the same build as the average Viking too, not built for speed, but for hard work, I have blond hair and red in my beard, oh yes, I have a beard and have had since I was 21, I am 48 now, which is a typical trait of a Viking. Also in common with Vikings, I have Osteoarthritis, am a bit of a fighter, very argumentative and have a temper that goes from zero to explosion in an instant. Yes, I do sound like a delight! Anyway, weight loss is on the cards for the new year.
This evening I am going to attempt to finish this bloody sweater. It feels like it has taken me forever to make, but there has been a lot of changes at home as posted, but I really really want and need to finish it, after all, there are so many projects I have my eyes on.
In the new year, I aim to read 24 books. One year I managed to read over 50, but lately, I seem to purchase huge tomes that have thousands of pages, so watch this space. This year I have only managed to read 19 books which is poor. When I was in my late teen’s early twenties I could read a novel in a day. I would get my book, lie on the end of my bed, with the book on the floor and me hanging over the edge, and I would not move until I finished it. These days life is too busy to get the chance to do such things, but I am not complaining.
My final decision is to spend less, save more! I know a lot of people have this as a resolution, but I have everything, and I really mean everything I want and need, so there is no excuse for spend spend spend! Unlike the usually broken resolution of joining the gym and then giving up within a month, these are things I really want to do. I have them on my iPhone, so no escaping it.
In case you were wondering the photo is one I took a few years ago whilst visiting the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth. I have visited it many times, and spend many many hours on the moors. A beautiful part of the world.
All that is left to do is say farewell to 2017.