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Tinsel & Turkish Delight at the B&B


‘Tis the season to be merry. ‘Tis not the season to be working out how to cook a large turkey, roasties, pigs in blankets, a selection of seasonal vegetables lightly steamed (one with a cheese sauce), two types of stuffing and a christmas pud the size of my head on a two burner gas ring now that the old oven in the house has been declared ‘at risk’. Even Gub the Great is having to make do with Penguin biscuits. And the idea of all that kitchen prep on a piece of mdf balanced on two old barrels, with a caravan sized fridge and water pipes that freeze the moment the sun goes down…

Have suggested that we may do it differently this year and just eat the things we really love about Christmas. Which in my case is a large bowl of bread sauce, peanuts, several slabs of stollen and a box of Narnia sized Turkish delight. Children are delighted and all three have bagsied a family tub of Miniature Heroes. The Husband, annually morose at the onset of bauble hanging, is refusing to play and has just called our siblings to beg one of them, any of them, a place at their table. He says he has asked for the invitation to be extended to all 5 of us but I don’t know if I believe him. However despite adverse conditions, weather wise and domestically, I am feeling the first tingles of excitement.  Gub has hacked at a series of bushes and trees creating a path to the outhouse and we have strung solar fairy lights from the branches. The Husband has crafted a bonfire the size of a small family home (a teeny bit too close to our actual small family home) and set 5 logs around it with the one rickety deckchair reserved for Gub. And the Children are coming back from school each day wearing paper crowns, bearing aloft their own hand crafted gifts for the baby Jesus involving an awful lot of tinsel and glitter that covers their beds with a light dusting. Everything feels a little bit sparkly and special. In the quiet moments, staring into the bonfire embers and trying not to lose my toasted marshmallow, am thinking of the year ahead and how much we have to do. The B&B diary is slowly filling up and at the thought of it my stomach lurches with the idea of those people turning up to what we are now. Gingerly stepping over the rubble, settling down for the night in the children’s bunk beds, bringing buckets of water up from the house to help the loo flush. The subsections on the work list have their own folders and the money has dwindled to an astonishing low. But now is not the time to think too hard, not with Christmas classics booming from the radio and a heady round of social loveliness. Now is the time to go off carolling around the village, hipflask of last year’s sloe gin tucked in a welly, with some of the neighbours to collect money for another old wreck, the 15th century church. And then rosy cheeked, feast on mince pies and mulled cider and be thankful that we are home. So in the old way I wish a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night…  

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