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.
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