So it has been a few days since I hit the keyboard. “Why so?” I hear you ask. Reader, I was blindsided, as I am every year, by the realisation that Christmas is only a week away and I am sitting on a gazillion half finished projects all designed to be completed by Christmas and, in some cases, before the last posting date. The tradition timeline operates as follows:
- October – commence ridiculously overambitious suite of Christmas jumpers
- November – decide jumpers are going so well that it would be a plan to add in some sewing projects, become wholly distracted by sewing projects
- early December, complete one Christmas jumper and think I am cock o” the walk and therefore start a sneaky extra one and resolve to make Christmas cake soon
- mid December, conclude sewing projects going so well it would be a plan to add an extra one and resolve to make Christmas cake soon
- a few days later, finally make Christmas cake
- next day remember that photos need to be uploaded for next year’s Planner and sent to printers (a project started in February, picked up in September then quietly ignored…)
- next day, remember that I was going to do something with the spare dried flowers and infusions made in industrial quantities over the summer, divert from all knitting and sewing projects and make huge mess on floor of Garrett
- upload photos and receive notice that I have now likely missed the Christmas delivery slot for Planner
- think I had better ice Christmas cake, make vast mess in doing so
- am callously reminded the last posting date is in two days by husband
- decide to bake Christmas dog biscuits to include in posting parcels so divert to this
- frenzied wrapping and searching for addresses on morning of last posting day
- cause mayhem in post office with huge pile of parcels. Computer check of post code advises we have a wrong address on one label. “Worth Place” should be “North Place” postie kindly fixes (what a good service that is!)
- realisation that final Christmas jumper still lacks an arm
- make Ishbel’s birthday cake (Boxing Day baby)
- frenzied knitting
- begin to think I had better ice Ishbel’s birthday cake…..
So all in all I have been quite busy. However, all parcels and cards have now been posted. UPS tells me my 2021 Planners are en route. I am onto the final arm of the last jumper. I have a great many buttons and labels to sew on various completed items and I am trying hard to resist the urge to just make one more. All my Dead Sea salt is used up and there are several jars of bath salts lined up in the cupboard under the stairs. These are as yet unlabelled and I am hoping I will be able to tell by the smell what they are! The floor of the Garrett is an unholy mess. A friend has texted to say that, having seen my triumphant Christmas cake photo on Facebook, I should always write in icing as it is more legible. So that’s all good then.
On the catering front, I remembered in the early hours this morning that the day before yesterday was probably the day I should have ordered salmon sides so I can start curing them for gravadlax. Order must be imposed and the time has come for The Matrix. (Keith’s day by day chart of who is cooking what over Christmas and the New Year. This forms the basis of the “big shop” and once sealed, signed and blu tacked to the cutlery cupboard door it officially is in force and there can be no deviation without sanction).
On a more tranquil note, Lyra and I had one final gloriously muddy walk, under a low watery sun, on Monday. We went right along the new track and came out at the road just past Simprim churchyard where we ran into a posse of slightly gloomy looking hunters and attendant dogs. Perhaps the pheasants had sneaked off… It was a longer route march than usual and we were awarded a massive rainbow for our efforts as we turned past Butterlaw corner. Lyra’s next stop was the groomers and she is now shiny white and somewhat perfumed. The muddy fields are off limits until January to ensure that this level of glamour is retained for our New Year visitors (fingers crossed we retain our Tier 1 status) so since then we have been walking sedately in the paths at the Hirsel, visiting the ducks and swans and the cows of the Douglas fold (cousins and aunties to our own heifers). There are some beautiful blonde ones. Lachlan and Keith were off all day yesterday working on a friend’s garden (Lachlan is now clear in his own mind that gardening is emphatically not his thing). Lyra moped in the afternoon and when they came back she was utterly thrilled. They were licked clean and she shadowed Lachlan all evening for fear he might sneak off. It struck me then that she has had us mostly all at home most days since the various lockdowns started. This is her normal.