Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day

Boxing day, and the weather is cloudy with the sun breaking out now and then. Christmas day over, every one talked to over the phone, snow still up in Yorkshire a foot deep, but the birds are happy with the warmer temperatures down here. The starlings are talking to themselves in the maple branches, and the house sparrows come and raid the seeds in the bird holders. The ring dove feeds at the seed scattered on the ground and cats make unwelcome excursions into the garden, though to be honest they finished off the bits and pieces of the partridges we had yesterday. A first, and not sure that it will be a repeatable exercise, they have a strong taste these birds though somewhat ameriolated by a red wine sauce.
We see so many pheasants, etc around on our forays into the countryside that it seemed only right to eat them or their equivalent for christmas!
A great log fire for the last two nights, with the flames licking round the logs, hissing with the gas escaping, fire is such a comforting sight, with candles burning on the mantlepiece and the ivy leaves caught in the glow, their dark berries framed against the grey of the print of Stukeley's Avebury that greets you as you enter the room. My old 'grandfather' windsor chair was brought down from my study to sit in front of the fire; its elegant turned legs and back with the initials carved into the centre WHB, reminds me of that person who must be long dead, maybe he had the chair carved so that he could sit in front of a fire and contemplate the world through the flames consuming the logs, perhaps his house/cottage was decorated with holly and ivy at christmas, all I know of the history of the chair is that I bought iit in Calne over 30 years ago so perhaps it belonged to a farm there.
My love has cleared the ashes from the fire, no more fires till New Year says he! Which of course is his right, as he makes them and then has to clear the ashes the following day. We often talk of self-sufficiency but of course modern Europeans are far removed from this idyll, our port of call some wretched supermarket like Tesco or Sainsbury, that dazzle us with their goods imported from all over the world but leave me rather exhausted trying to find one simple thing.
We tried Tesco the other day, first time for me, watching the endless repeated adverts on TV did'nt actually warm me to Tesco and I was right there! Apart from the scrum of people in the store, it felt rather dirty, the shelves stacked with horrible toys and glittery stuff for Xmas, the aisles full of people so that you could'nt see anything let alone get over people's trolleys to pick something up. The final straw for me was when I bent down to get some bread flour from a bottom shelf and this person stepped on the same shelf to get something from the top, again and again, everything suddenly seemed so unhygenic. The fish stall with a million people wandering by, the prodding and putting back of the vegetables and fruit. I cannot understand why we have reduced ourselves to this purgatory when shopping; the pretty picture on the package we are going to buy does not necessarily reflect the quality of the food - it is a great scam - perpetuated on us by those eager to make money!

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