December 30, 2012 by benmblackman
Cliff Richard would be proud of me. Ok, I didn’t see any mistletoe at all throughout the festive period 2012 (has there been a reduction in its’ use or do I need to just take the hint?) but I certainly made up for it in terms of wine.
Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice to say: ate, drank, was merry in all the right places, if a little grumpy in others (well, it was Christmas). Socks, books, records and such like were amassed so that, if my house was to turn into a Desert Island tomorrow, I would have enough discs and luxuries to see me through until next December 25th at least (whilst also having the cosiest and most stylish feet you ever did see).
Mrs B came up with an interesting suggestion on Boxing Night – Christmas Tree decorations had been a trouble to find this year so, why not just cut out the middle man and make our own with Ferrero Rocher next year? This is why I married the lady. But why stop there? Why not experiment with full chocolate oranges and toblerones on cotton too, I pondered? They would be too heavy she said. She was right. Ribbon, we should use ribbon.
She’s quite a whiz at the home-made decorations, Mrs B. The hand-made crackers went down a storm this year (notwithstanding the fact she forgot to make any perforations in the paper). Jeff Capes would have struggled to gain entry to the prizes and hilarious jokage that awaited inside.
To be honest, I was happy to play this one out, the one thing I can’t stand at Christmas is the hats. I just can’t get over the fact that every other house on the street, in the village, county, and country are all sitting down wearing paper hats. Rooms usually full of sensible people, for some reason decide a paper luminous hat adds to the occasion of the son of God entering the world on this day. (It’s what he would have wanted.) When everybody else is discussing the merits of turkey I can’t help but wonder how many otherwise upstanding members of society are wearing these things at the same time. Solicitors; Accountants; Alan Sugar. Is Alan Sugar wearing one I wondered? Well probably not, he’s Jewish but how about the barrister from the Leveson Inquiry? Or Lord Leveson himself? Were they wearing them? I could only assume yes. I shuddered at the thought.
Of course, overcoming this ordeal one day wasn’t enough, I knew I would have to contend with the same again on Boxing Day. A day at the In-Laws awaited and, try as I might, I could delay it no longer. We packed up the car with gifts and set off. Prince Charles would have approved – the amount of vegetable fuel floating from the back (the Calpol Kid’s Christmas Dinner consisted of 1 potato, two pieces of turkey and ELEVEN giant sprouts) meant we got there in record time.
Mini mince pies were served on arrival. Although lunch was scheduled for 12.30pm I stocked up – I’ve been going too long to fall for that one. We finally sat down at 2.45pm. By this time, on top of the 2 mini mince pies I’d been permitted (you don’t want to spoil your ‘lunch’) I was also full of Bucks Fizz. Not bad considering the fact that one bottle of fizz had been frozen. I found the mother (in law) turning it under the grill like a marshmellow on a bbq.
I was too excited for lunch to question it – I had been promised ‘a buffet’. Mrs B worries about buffet food unless she has prepared it but she needn’t have worried whether the turkey was cooked for this one – the mother had set it on fire just an hour earlier whilst reheating it. I’ve been party to some eccentric recipes in my time (usually at the mother’s coming to think about it) but flambé turkey was a new one for me. She put it out with the closest thing to hand – bucks fizz, of course! I kid you not.
As far as I was concerned, this was the smallest of the buffet faux pa’s. For a start, we sat down at the table. You never sit down at a table for a proper buffet. As if this wasn’t enough to take, starters were served. The whole point of a buffet is that all elements of a 3 course meal are presented at once – everybody knows that. Worse, it was soup. It is not right to go into soup etiquette here but we should all be agreed – soup has no place to play in a buffet. That’s buffet kindergarten stuff isn’t it?
Of course I didn’t mention this at the time, I’m far too polite to do so. Instead, I feel a public blog is probably the right place to air such views. Yes, it is true the mother has began to read these blogs so might be offended but, by such a time we will no longer be in the same county so, on the whole I feel this will be for the best. Constructive criticism. I’m sure she won’t mind.
If she doesn’t then I’ll see you all back here, same time again next year. Until then – HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let’s hope 2013 is as good as the Bucks Fizz Flambé Turkey (to be fair – a total triumph)!