In their ones and twos the family reassembled, and the guests arrived, for the Hogmanay Festivities and the quietude of “Twixtmas” was over. Keith had charge of the catering arrangements so my limited contribution was a trio of game pies. On possibly the rainiest day before the new year Lyra declined all walking entreaties and looked at me aghast from her nest as I donned wellies and went out to the patio to pluck various gift birds which had been hanging in the coal shed to frighten unwary kindling seekers. It was not the most efficient pluck ever and I returned bearing the carcasses and trailing wafts of feathers. (Actually the feathers were so pretty I kept two bags just in case they might prove useful.). The cats were pretty miffed, as leaving feathers everywhere is their job.
I decided to try out Keith’s dolly for hand raising the cases. I was fairly pleased with the results but realise, following the masterclass performed yesterday for our friend David (who received a dolly as his Christmas present), that I was actually doing it all wrong. I had a further go with some leftover pastry yesterday and I think the new (non rolling, just pulling, method is a keeper. New Year’s resolution No.1 therefore is to make loads more pies. You can’t have too many pies…
Alas a trip to the bathroom scales this morning delivered New Year’s Resolution No. 2 – lose the kilo and a half Santa brought me. This could be seen as somewhat inconsistent with NYR No. 1, admittedly, but I am thinking that if I combine teeny tiny small pies with redoubled dog walking and sorting out the garden (New Year’s resolution No.3 – keep the Garden under control this year) I may just get away with it. Indeed I shall have to – as we have a wedding to go to in the summer and ‘fat in a hat’ is emphatically not the look I shall be going for.
Matters sartorial impinge on New Year’s Resolution No. 4. Regular readers may remember the recent spare room wardrobe cull. This was only partially completed as the arrival of various house guests needing rooms rather got in the way. However, with the back bedroom up for redecoration in February (we have a romantic December 14 dinner for three with Barry the Decorator pencilled in) and Ishbel’s room next for the chop, the items I temporarily stashed in there need to be picked through. I have three full sacks for the charity shop so far and I think there’s definitely scope for the same again. (I also need to make room for the, very few, sale items I may have accidentally purchased in the last two days.) So New Year’s Resolution No. 4 is to eradicate all wardrobe surplus and make space for some practical stuff I actually need (work shirts with collars to stop me sunburning my neck).
It’s all very difficult though, choosing what’s to go. I have some really nice, but quite formal, stuff from the days of power lunches and evenings when I had to look rock up at various dinners and balls and schmooze for the good of the firm (at all of which I was truly terrible by the way). Whilst I threw out most of the black work suits and dresses with enthusiasm (I am equipped for two funerals a year now so anyone thinking of pulling a fast one and pegging out without booking their slot can thing again and just hang on..) I am rather loth to throw out all the fancy folderols. What I need to do, clearly, is to upgrade my social life to provide a justification for the “keepers”. There must be others out there, dressing all week in gardening boiler suits, cow feeding wellies and dog walking curtain wear gilets, who could happily spend one evening a quarter dressed to the nines, even brushing their hair, just for the hell of it. We could replay the roaring 20s house party scene from between the wars. Should this be New Years Resolution No. 5???