Sated Need



We are a Full House.




The laundry basket is suppurating across the bathroom floor, the contents of full bags unceremoniously upended into it. There will be clean socks amongst that lot. I just know it. They couldn’t be bothered to sift the wheat from the chaff. Nor can I. It’ll all be tossed into the washing machine later. Dozens of damp towels hang forlornly from rails. The kitchen counters are perpetually glazed with honey or sprinkled with incriminating post sandwich making crumbs. The air is thick with noise and spats and Christmas secrets. Doors are slammed mid gift wrapping, I said Do Not Come In.


And I am happy.


Breakfast does not end until eleven o’clock as the last of the sleepy head stragglers stumbles from their beds seeking sustenance. And then – almost immediately – I am obliged to forage for lunch. To feed my own metaphorical five thousand.  For all my babies are home.  And my Mum; she is with us.


Will Gran come for Christmas? the children enquired anxiously.


Yes, I said, emphatic. The monster Depression, who hung insistently over her shoulder for the first six months of this year has been banished. Gone. Out Damn Spot, Out! I laugh. Hysteria and relief and joy makes my laughter mad loud.


What’s for pudding?


What’s for tea?


What’s for supper?


Can I have a sandwich?


And I am happy.


We walk the dam in search of a Christmas tree.




I am salved by our choice: already executed by fire-wood hunters, I feel less guilty dragging our prize home.  And we decorate it. All of us.  And I wonder if it knows the brief passing final moment of lit and ribboned glory we have bestowed upon it: the tree, in its dying days. I think it does; I watch it shimmy, radiant in a passing-out gown of glass baubles and bead angels. And this year I prevail upon my son, ‘Please hang this up for me – up there – (and I point) I can’t reach’. And I am teased. Little Mama, they laugh.




And we string excessively long lengths of fairy lights and drape kitschy tinsel atop picture frames and light candles so that our fish pie is elevated from humble supper to decadently spangled feast. (The Heinz tomato sauce has never been accompanied by such finery). A whole huge dish vanishes. My five thousand were hungry.




 What’s for pudding?. Mince pies and ice cream. And home-made chocolate truffles because the necessity – the intrinsic need – to nurture a nestful has winkled me out of any lurking reverie of lonely, redundancy. Has energized me.


And I clear plates and stack them in the sink and snuff candles with spit damp fingers.


And I think, “God, I’m lucky’’.


And I am happy.


Chocolate Truffles



140g Digestive biscuits

220g icing sugar

50g cocoa powder

100g butter, melted

A tsp instant coffee dissolved in a little boiling water. Or a good dollop of brandy or alternative Christmas tipple


Bung biscuits into the MagiMix and whiz until course crumbs. Add everything else and whiz again until well meshed together and damp enough to form small balls – about the size of a walnut. If too dry simply splash a little more coffee/brandy in.


Roll truffles to required size in the palm of your hand, decorate as desired, tip into paper cake cases and freeze.  Remove a few minutes before eating, just to take the chill off.


If there are any left, stick them back in the fridge for tomorrow. Or later.





Happy Christmas everybody. And thank for precious valuable company. x

27 Responses to “Sated Need”

  1. lulu campbel Says:

    How lovely for you to have everybody there – happy happy happy xmas – aren’t we lucky to have our children? (and you’ve got a husband, so your cup must runneth over…..) Lx

  2. CatofStripes Says:

    Happy Christmas to you and your family too. Have a wonderful time.

  3. The Finely Tuned Woman Says:

    I am very happy for you that you have all your kids with you, in spite of all the laundry.What a lovely job that must seem too you now. I hope you all have a wonderful time together and with your Mum as well. I am glad you were able to find a tree, it looks lovely.

    Big hug,

  4. Grannymar Says:

    Hello Mother hen! 😉

    I pictured myself in your home with all the washing, gangly legs and voices raised. It sure sounds like fun. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

    Wishing you and yours a peaceful and love filled Christmas.



  5. lulu labonne Says:

    Right I’m off to make those truffles NOW – sod the laundry

  6. Roberta Says:

    Merry Christmas to you all! We are fast approaching Christmas Eve and I am so excited I can’t sleep. All of my babies will be here for the night and Christmas day. We’ll have games and gifts and too much food. The only thing better would be to have my parents and my siblings with me…this isn’t going happen.

    The truffles look amazing!

  7. daisyfae Says:

    beautiful! like you, i’m not settled and happy unless both of my sprogs are home… daughter and i make biscotti, drink hot drinks with bailey’s irish cream, and my son entertains us with stories… can’t wait!

  8. laurie Says:

    it is, indeed, christmas everywhere! eleven below zero here. and i am just as happy.

    merry, merry christmas.

  9. Dumdad Says:

    Merry Christmas!

    And I am happy too.

  10. paradiselostintranslation Says:

    Happy House-full, heart-full Christmas to you. Xx

  11. Iota Says:

    Oh stop it, I don’t need a cry today…

    Happy Christmas to you, Rel Mem. I know you’ll be enjoying it. Revelling in it. I’m glad for you.

  12. Elaine Says:

    Ok, you did make me cry. Full House indeed.

    Not sentimentality, but a clear-eyed joy in what is important – thank you.

  13. Mr Farty Says:

    Xmas with family is pretty wonderful, innit?

    Merry Christmas!

  14. Susanna (A Modern Mother) Says:

    Beautiful post as always. I wish my mother was here (sigh).

    At first I thought you were nuts making homemade truffles, but then I saw the recipe and I think that even I could probably make them and I think I will. Thanks for that.

    Merry Christmas, I see good things for you in 2009!

  15. nappy valley girl Says:

    Have a wonderful Christmas with your babies, big and small. I am sure you will make the most of it!

  16. Lynda Says:

    How wonderful that you have your precious family all around you during Christmastime. Enjoy every single moment & may your Christmas be wonderful & bright. Sending you warm Christmas hugs from the foothills of Kilimanjaro …
    (P.S. Keep on writing, you have so many people out here reading you & enjoying every bit of the way you write, thanks for being so honest & sharing your Outpost life with us all !)
    Lynda x

  17. Mozi Esme's Mommy Says:

    Awww! Glad you’re surrounded by family, and hope you have a most blessed Christmas…

  18. Maggie May Says:

    Wonderful post. Love your tree!
    Have a very happy time with all your family.

    Merry Christmas to you all.

  19. Hadriana Says:

    Yes I agree with everyone but especially with Dumdad and Maggie. We’re happy too…our first Christmas in this house and it is magical. Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year 2009. Hxx

  20. carol Says:

    Happy Christmas – enjoy every minute of it. lots of love

  21. Anil Says:

    What a wonderful landscape the first picture promises.

    Wish you a Merry Christmas.

  22. Expat Mum Says:

    Ooh, “suppurating” must try to remember that word. I should write it down really as I’ll never manage to store it and re-use it correctly.
    Merry Xmas

  23. nuttycow Says:

    Happy Christmas RM. I hope you’re having a fantastic time with your family.

    Much love xxx

  24. Yvonne Says:

    Hope that you and yours have a great time over the break, we are fit to bust. I love the over indulgence of food and drink, especially chocolate, cheers for the recipe. xx

  25. Tash Says:

    Well, I’ve missed Christmas, but hope it was all and more you all hoped for. We had our turkey sandwiches with an alligator in the Everglades… Just want to say how nice it is to think of you all together now, and wish you all a peaceful and rewarding 2009 xx

  26. Gill Says:

    I am so glad you are feeling so happy, and having all your family around you at this time is a blessing.

    I hope you had a super Christmas holiday.

    Gill in Canada

  27. Iota Says:

    I made these truffles today! You inspired me. I’ve never made truffles before.

    My magimix equivalent (or not so equivalent, as it turned out) didn’t cope, and so I had to mix it all up by hand, which was very therapeutic. I recommend it. You start with a spoon and end up using your hands – just like playdough, but not such exciting colours.

    I used graham crackers instead of digestives, and felt smug that I know what the US equivalent of digestives is – how gone-native am I?

    Are you sure it’s just a tsp of liquid? Mine needed at least a tblsp, if not two. I used a mixture of coffee and rum, and a very odd-tasting pear liqueur that I thought would add a tang of something or other.

    I rolled them in icing sugar with just a hint of cinnamon mixed into it, because Americans like cinnamon with everything (and you know how gone-native I am these days).

    We went to dinner with some friends, and I took the truffles, which went down a treat. The kids especially loved them (and I’m sure the rum and pear liqueur will help them sleep well tonight). Get me – I’m the one who brings truffles when invited to dinner!

    Thanks for the recipe.

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