Monday, 4 January 2016

December break 2015

A lunch with friends before the family arrives and everything is delightfully mismatched and the table sloping slightly westwards in its southern corner. Our guests arrive and love it. Love the meal too. Spicy coconut chicken, fresh baked bread (to mop up the sauce) and a salad. I am normally so diligent in the visual recording of my meals but today I forgot. Oops. Anyway, you can find the recipe on

Two men jog past my house at noon. When the Lindt chocolate is unable to keep its pose in the house - it can't decide whether to cling to the wrapper or try and hold on to its centre because its so very hot. Two men run past my house in the noonday sun. Insane.

Do you know how hot it really is without taking a barometer reading? Those candles that change colours when lit (heat-activated) are going through their colour phases without a flame on the wick.

Rain from the east. Wind from every direction. The trees sway this way and that faster then a row of spectators at a Wimbledon final. The rain follows a zigzag pattern from the top to the bottom taking its direction from the wind. So cool now after a hot day. In the morning we see how many branches the wind wrestled from the trees, torn off with force and now lie discarded on the garden floor.

Its 05:48. Last chance today to bake the Christmas cookies. However, my lazy body and my lazy bones seem more inclined towards lying on the bed and reading a book. And so the battle begins, since the body is already on the bed it feels this is an easy victory. But the mind always wins because it plays the guilt card. Well, it was late afternoon before I started baking. I was sweating like a Chinese child labourer, oven on and about 32 degrees. The house smells wonderfully like Christmas.

I got a bowl of homemade fudge and placed it with all the other presents in the basket under the Christmas tree. We went swimming and when we came back in the house we realised why the dogs had been so quiet, they had eaten all the fudge. We should have known, like children who are too quiet they were up to no good. BJ threw up later that evening because his body couldn't find a happy balance between how delicious the fudge was and how bad it is for his system. Lots of pacing, panting and going outside. Eventually, I had had enough and gave him a heaped teaspoon of alkaline powder and that settled everything.

Tuesday 12:36. Awaiting the arrival of our guests. Excited.

So the family arrive late afternoon. It is so frigging hot and no one can get to sleep, any of the night they were here. We had all the doors and windows open but without a breeze it remains hot. The mosquitoes seem annoyed with the hot weather and take their anger out on us day and night, it seems relentless. 

We are so grateful for the swimming pool. Spend so much time in it, it is fun. Play games or just swim backwards and forwards then float about like dead fish. We put the dogs under the shower every day to cool off.

Christmas Eve I lay the table. We eat an early dinner, just something light, salads. My sister-in-law made a delicious watermelon, grape and feta salad. She cut the watermelon into shapes, very pretty. Play the Christmas music as our mom and dad used too. The girls sing us a Christmas carol, the candles are lit and everyone is quiet for a moment. Then we open the presents. Awesome. I'll show you all the gifts I got later. Out onto the patio for dessert, delicious.

We all had a good time together. On Sunday before they left I make a big lunch despite the hot weather. More swimming. Teaching the girls dominoes etc. Before you can say: hot as hell we were back at the airport and it was all over.

I promised Trish I would bring a cake to her dinner and while I knew the baking pan was the wrong format for the type of cake I was making I wanted a wreath-shaped cake.  Well my hummingbird cake stuck to the pan in one spot when I tried to turn it out and so it was in broken pieces and crumbs. Trish suggested I turn it into a trifle. Good idea. A generous sprinkling of kirschwasser, some drunken pineapple (soaked in kirschwasser), smashed nuts, Woolies chocolate mousse and some whipped cream and we had a trifle. My first trifle, I think it's a very English thing, and I have never thought they look very appetising. Anyway, it saved me and tasted good but I will probably never make another.

Jill had loaned me 4 books and I have managed to read 3 of them. I enjoyed Me before you and City of Dark Magic.

Too hot to get to all the things that need to be done around the house so we took ourselves off to the movies twice. Lady in the Van. Maggie Smith was so natural and made it seem like everyone else was acting. I don't know how to explain it. And we saw Sisters. I am a big fan of Tina Fey but this is the first of her movies I have enjoyed, entertaining, a good laugh.

One whole day we spent watching Homeland 4 - I know you have all seen it already but we don't have any of the mod cons (yet) so we are a little behind with our favourite series. Thoroughly enjoyed it. it was a great day. small pleasures.

Back to work tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for all my wonderful gifts!

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