Sunday 23 December 2012

First Christmas Visitors

Christmas "Eve Eve" today if you like and we have started to receive visitors, ready or not, though we're not expecting the Silverwoods till tomorrow. Poor Mr S has to work on Christmas Eve (Ahh, how I remember those days, almost last man out, first man back in and all that) all be it possible working from home, so they will not be able to set out at a sensible hour. Mrs S, too, has her own packed pre-Christmas schedule what with children and Santa visits etc, but we're hoping to get her in the front door and then wait on her hand and foot, give a proper break and rest, feet up, force fed cups of tea and so on.

Our first visitors are our mentors, Anne and Simon who drop in for tea, mince pies and a good long chat. As is now the way of things, they come bearing gifts and go away with something or other in return. They have recently got into quail as a new form of live stock ( starting with three hens and a cock who have only just arrived but are already settled down to the egg laying. Anne's gift to us was therefore these 10 lovely quail eggs which we will have fun using up. We are also now toying with the idea of doing quail ourselves. From us, they got a jar of our Blackberry and Apple jam and (don't ask) an ostrich feather duster.

We get chatting and with their encouragement, Liz starts to talk very positively about the possibility of us keeping pigs. I have always veered away a bit from pigs because I know nothing about them and worry about fencing and housing, but it occurs that the 'Secret Garden' might be the perfect place to 'do them' as it's under trees so there wouldn't be the sun-burn or weather problems. I need to go off and read around the subject (as ever!) but my mind's eye is toying with those lovely gingery Tamworth, long-snouted dudes strolling in the dappled sunlight under the spruces. Whoa! Let's research where to buy them and how to get them slaughtered first. Our man Ignatius is only licensed for cattle and sheep. (NB Pig pictures here blagged from the internet - we don't have any to photograph yet!)

Today we have Vendor Anna and Partner Paul drop by on their way to the Knock Airport - they are off to Kent to visit the Bexleyheath-based Sister (the three Sisters live in Carrick on Shannon, Dublin and Kent) so they call by us with a card (plus one for John Deere Bob) and gift and take tea and cake. In the course of this chat we find a lovely coincidence, in that one of Paul's cousins is also a friend of mine in the Thames Sailing Barge world but also Anna gets talking about geese and how we should keep them, fattening them up for Christmas. Pigs, Quails and now Geese all over the course of two days.
In terms of existing animals, all three dogs get a shampoo after their walk this morning, much to their disgust, mainly so that they do not 'ming' quite as badly for the guests over the break. This was not the pups' first ever bath but it was close. I've done them before in the Utility Room sink but we now find it easier to wrangle them in the big shower cubicle and use the power-shower on them. The three little clean faces here are, in order, Poppy with her pricked up ears, Towser with his floppy ears and Deefer still not quite dry.

The other picture, the view down into the bucket of oranges, onions etc is, of course, the turkey brining mixture prior to the turkey being dropped in and the brine being made up to cover the bird with water. The whole is now back out in the Tígín marinading gently in the coolth. We have turned our attention to blitzing the fridge, cleaning the leather sofa and so on.

Christmas Eve? Bring it on! We are nearly ready!


Cinquecento said...

Hand, foot and finger.

Mr Silverwood said...

Looking forward to it, with any luck I will get away early enough from work....

mazylou said...

Hardboiled, cumin salt. Hurray for POARK!