December Dilettantism

Oh my, I have been remiss! First post of December and it’s almost half way through! In my defence, it has been just a little frenetic the last couple of weeks. A quick catch up follows and I shall return to the usual beat of dog walks and hedgerow watching tomorrow.

The first few days of the month brought a visit from the Doctors Salt. As ever, this entailed much hovering at the stove talking nonsense and rather too much eating and drinking. To the usual revels we added a rather splendid ladies’ (including Lachlan) Christmas shopping road trip through Kelso, St Boswells and Melrose (most successful I might add). This took place at the same time as a boys’ trip to the tip (which tragically Lachlan had to miss). After several days of haute cuisine I proved “catered out. ” Released from the kitchen detail we worked off the fruits of indulgence with a very shivery walk on the beach at Bamburgh, in what can only be described as Baltic conditions, followed by an excellent lunch at the Potted Lobster where we put them all back on again…

We barely had time to regroup and resolve solemnly to behave better before it was time to race off to Selkirk and whisk Mum to Livingston for cataract surgery. Obviously, the successful surgery then had to be celebrated. Quiet living was deferred and the family dutifully resumed committed jollity (topped off with a fine goat curry in case anyone is interested). Mum’s sight has recovered less quickly than mine did when I had the same procedure a couple of years ago and I did have an initial panic, culminating in a 6 am call to the helpline so they could tell me not to be silly and, no, they had not got the eyes mixed up. After that I decided to relax. Mum is now stoically enduring a punishing regime of spot tests when she has to read passing number plates, count pylons and identify small birds. To distract from matters ocular, the Christmas cakes have been made, subjected to a punishing regime of binge drinking and now marzipanned. Icing is pencilled in for tomorrow as I await inspiration for this year’s decorative theme. I’ve also cleared out some fruit from the freezer and made two batches of jam (plum and blackcurrant) affording me an excellent excuse to hang around the Aga. The frosty weather has largely precluded any gardening so various Christmas sewing and knitting projects are coming along nicely and I am enjoying the annual delusion of being “on top of things”. I find this typically wears off by the 18th.

Anyway, Lachlan has now scooted off to Edinburgh for a week (taking a range of Christmas shopping commissions as I can’t see when I’m going to get in myself) and clean living has finally commenced on the homestead. I think we can definitely hold out until Friday, well maybe Thursday. Anyway, a fortuitous meeting with my old Pilates teacher at the Christmas market (when I was transporting some ridiculously huge pastries to the car) has stiffened my resolve to “do better” in the new year and so, really, a little slippage in December can’t hurt too much.

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