Whirlwind inside and out

After the gales and the blackout, the floods came…

Sounds like the beginning of a dystopian “end of days” fantasy novel of the type it is highly satisfactory to consume when warm, dry and supplied with cake. However that was earlier this week – when we all piled into the car to go to the pub then balked at the rapidly filling dips in the road and decided that rather than stay for a pint in the village we would quickly grab beer from the co-op (despite the masks we resolved to pay) and drive back before the “Hawkslaw Splash” rose high enough to come in the car windows….Since then we have largely stuck close to home. Lyra and I have splashed muddily round the fields in the mornings chasing the odd deer (Lyra’s fitness is improving, lost by only half a field last time) and chatting to passers by in true borders fashion, van/car stopped in mid road and any oncoming traffic expected to stop and chip in their craic. In the few hours of afternoon light there has been much shredding of bits of tree brash left from the clearance operations last week.

All this has been interspersed with the invigilation of the Christmas quizzes I added to various gift advent calendars. Dad and Sybil have protested two pop quiz questions and the Robin’s egg question led to a full scale stewards enquiry. Turn’s out I had used an American website for the info and American robins have flashier eggs. Show offs… The question of advent calendars has generally proved contentious, Keith pointing out with some indignation that he did not get one. (In my defence he has shown nil interest in the previous one I made for the house, not being fussed for sweeties, and only liked the beer and scratchings one I found last year but which had sold out this year (I could only get one beer one and gifted it to the poor student)). However, I felt mean and put on my thinking cap. The result is an advent calendar Keith can truly get behind – a mince pie one. After a valiant effort he has now caught up to date with the pies.

After our morning walk today, despite the lowering clouds, I valiantly offered to help Keith in the garden again. Thankfully, he looked at me like I was a half wit and explained he wasn’t going out in that. I settled in for a domestic day and resolved that the time had come to make the Christmas cake (or rather cakes, as Auntie Zee’s estimable recipe calls for half a tin of evaporated milk I always double it to use the whole tin and see what that delivers (one large, two medium and one baby gift cake this year). The Christmas music went on and much dried fruit mixology, muscular wooden spooning and careful tin lining and wrapping followed. By three they were all in. Looking out of the window at this point I could see the trees blowing at 45 degrees again. Storm Barra had arrived. The wind looks to be from a different direction and, at first glance, seems to have blown a fallen climbing rose back onto the pergola (this may be wish fulfilment but it’s now too dark to check). To fill the waiting time Lyra had a snooze and I moved on to quince and lemon curd. This is my new invention to use up the quince puree left after the (frankly) genius invention of “quincemeat” last week. I’ll not lie there was a lot of spoon licking. I think this is going to be a “thing”. What with the addictive truffle cheese rarebit discovery (which I scoffed every day until the truffle mayo supplies ran out) I feel I am on a roll.

By six fifteen the cakes were out and cooling, the curd was bottled and all that remained was the leaning tower of washing up. I have a slack evening planned – Christmas jumper knitting and Sense and Sensibility………

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