Though 'crises' may be overstating it for some of the things that didn't go to plan. Like the fact that I was too late to catch the particular brand of mince pies that came top in a Good Housekeeping tasting test, for example (Iceland, if you're curious - they are apparently 'astonishing'-ly good). But the substitutes I picked up on Christmas Eve from Sainsbury's served perfectly well in the end.
Other incidents had wider repercussions, like accidentally putting an egg in vegan stuffing I made for a friend, who was giving me some spare nut roast in return. Actually, it turns out that her two sons are currently merely vegetarian, however, it had quite slipped my mind that my friend herself is allergic to egg, so she ended up having to make her own stuffing. I have since made it up to her in parsnip and apple soup.
I also did that annoying thing - which in fairness can happen at any time of year - of going to the supermarket without the '£4 off when you spend £20 or more in store' voucher, only to go and spend £20.08. So of course I had to go back specially on the last day of the coupon's validity to spend another £20 and get my discount. Which in practice, to comfortably qualify, only needed to be a bottle of Olay Regenerist serum and one of dry white.
|Back up curry that was not actually needed in the end|
The Christmas meal itself - for my two dinner guests, Clare and her Man City Santa-hatted husband Tony - went like clockwork. Or a clock that is running a bit slow, say. For they arrived at 6pm and I didn't plate up the turkey and trimmings till 9.30pm. Though in that time my friends had enjoyed a pretty substantial starter (did they sense what was (not) to come? ;-) ) supplemented by an emergency saucer of something that had already cooked, to take the edge off their returning hunger. The problem was the parsnips, which for space reasons were late going into the oven, and then took forever to go golden. The turkey, meanwhile, had long since come out, and was relaxing on the worktop under a blanket of foil. It was so relaxed in fact that it was fast asleep, only to be rudely awakened by the jab of a carving knife (which Tony - who had stepped up to help me at this point - candidly declared to be 'a bit blunt'). I must say those parsnips look remarkably nonchalant in the photo, despite having massively held up proceedings.
|There really is some gravy on there...|
Also during the meal preparations, I managed to bang the back of my hand on the edge of the utility door and burn my finger, which swelled and throbbed for a day or so afterwards. But the main malfunction by far was my unerring knack of knocking glasses over. Or do I mean 'erring'? Anyway, it proved to be a comical leitmotiv of the evening. The first full glass (of champagne) went over the edge of the table, triggering a four handed flurry of floor mopping over quite an extensive area. The second full glass I sent flying prompted the complete removal of the gold tablecloth, which was absolutely soaked in red wine, and in turn started to drip down onto the same section of newly mopped floor. I swear I wasn't drunk or anything - why, I had knocked over most of the available alcohol, apart from anything! - it was just that there were a lot of hidden table mats under the cloth, making for different levels and an accident waiting to happen, basically. By the end of the night we were all agreed that it wasn't so much a table as a mezzanine. Then within minutes of my guests leaving I had spilt half a can of Diet Coke and rescued two tea cups that were perched at a very perilous angle. To be honest it was a minor miracle they didn't also hit the deck.
|After a promising start, it all ended up on the floor.|
My lack of a dishwasher could also be construed as a malfunction, as I washed up afterwards for two days straight...though that acquisition will have to wait until I revamp the kitchen one day. I was, however, comforted by the realisation that, contrary to what I think every time I open my utensil drawer, you can in fact never have too many spatulas.
So what perfume did I wear on Christmas Day, you may be wondering? Well, I did toy with putting on Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, you know, to help the turkey along - it also has a hint of myrrh, even if it might not be seasonally appropriate in any other sense - but I went in the end with Bois des Iles, by way of a thank you to my generous donors, Val and Tara.
The other notable perfume-related thing to tell you about the holidays is that I sniffed a friend at a party the other night and was very taken with the discreet woody oriental scent he was wearing. You could have knocked me down with a feather when I learnt it was Lynx Excite of all things! Further research on the Interwebs confirms my impression that Excite is punching above its weight. The men on Basenotes also give it a thumbs up. I was certainly impressed at the olfactory gentrification of this hitherto cheap and cheerful 'yoof' range. Excite (just based on my hazy recall of my friend's neck) reminded me a little of a lighter version of L'Occitane's Eau des Baux, which I encountered in Germany earlier this year. The perfumer is Ann Gottlieb and this is all I could find by way of description - on Amazon!:
"This sophisticated scent starts with a clean and fresh leafy green accord, then develops to smoother, caramel based notes and finishes with woody base notes, laced with amber and vanilla."
So on that surprising note, it just remains to thank Bonkers readers everywhere for your interest and support in 2014, and to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! A special thanks is due to follower No 168 (Sarah), who recently replaced one I lost the other day for reasons I will probably never know. I have said it before, but I can't over-emphasise how nice it is to see the avatar of a new follower pop up in my side bar. As I understand it, you still have to consciously follow a Blogger blog to be counted amongst its official audience, so I do appreciate people taking that extra step.
|Clare & Santa-Tony, a born again Man City fan who almost matches the sofa|