25 November

Bottled up

Today it’s exactly one (calendar) month till Christmas and you’ve bought most of your presents, your cards are sorted and the cake and the pudding are cooked and waiting.[1] Other people are beginning to think, “OMG! It’s only a month till Christmas and I’ve got so much to do!” but you can rest easy knowing that you have it all in control.

The fruit mince is ready too: it’s had its month of sitting around, so now you can bottle it. (I took a jar of mine around to Hannah and she said she’ll use it in an apple strüdel she was planning to cook for a beach picnic with Lachlan on Sunday, which is a pretty classy thing to do with mince if you think tarts are dull.)[2]


I saw an elf costume in an op shop last weekend and it was well made, in good condition and a perfect fit. (Yes, I tried it on.) I stood staring at myself in the mirror, alternating thoughts of “I could make curly shoes from green felt,” with “I have never yet had an occasion at which I should have been dressed as an elf,” and I finally left it in the shop so that I could ponder more.[3] But today, I saw the answer clearly: Father Christmas may be venerable, the innkeeper in the nativity play can be a septuagenarian and the Angel Gabriel is older than Moses, but you never see a middle-aged elf, so the chances that I would look silly are too high. (Curly shoes or no.)

[1] My cousin Brian used to say that the pudding was lurking: Auntie Betty would hang it in the pantry and he was sure it was just waiting for the right moment to plummet from the ceiling and crack his skull.

[2] Auntie Margie’s baked potatoes with cheese and fruit mince are less likely to be crowd-pleasers. Her son Russell loved them though and so his mother gave him a blank cookbook and wrote the recipe into it for him. (That was twenty years ago, and I believe he’s only added one other recipe to the book since.)

[3] I decided to risk being gazumped by someone my size with a stronger desire to self-elf.

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