Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Years Eve 2016 –Here’s To Settling Down With A Cheeky Cocktail Or Two

We all decided that this year New Years Eve should be a gentle and family occasion, 2016 was a bit of a rollercoaster,  so we would like 2017 to enter gently like a stately galleon, in the hope that  we will sail through the coming year just as smoothly.
Light a candle Christmas Eve 2016But before we settle down for the evening we have hung a small lantern from one of the trees down on the riverbank …..
awe and wonder christmas EveLight a candle on Christmas Eve
…….. to help guide in the New Year in a subtle and discrete way, without the need for whistles, bells and flutes, party poppers, extravagant firework displays, crazy string or balloons…..
Nigel Christmas EveThen, Darrell has promised us an evening of Pringles, pickled onions and sophisticated cheeses accompanied by cocktails mixed by his own fair hand, from our deluxe cocktail cabinet, something we promised ourselves that we would have when we moved, as befitting bijoux apartment living.
bijoux cocktail cabinetDarrell has put in an awful lot of time poring over his cocktail recipe books …..
New Year CocktailsNew Year Cocktails 2016
He says he has been looking for something that would “ …….. reflect the mood and colour of the river on this final day of the year!”  Hmmmmmmm, well, I have to say it’s looking a bit murky at the moment…….
Riverside Cocktails.…….. so, I think it will be probably be a round of mudslides, possibly followed by a cheeky Long Island Iced Tea or two.  It has to be said that poor Darrell has also had the additional problem of finding cocktails with wholesome names that won’t provoke probing questions from an enquiring Nigel!  We would rather not have to explain a Slippery N***le to him, so we've knocked that one on the head entirely!
xxx Wishing you a very Happy New Year & a very safe night tonight. xxx

Friday, 30 December 2016

Adieu But Not Goodbye.

Yesterday we decided, slightly heavy of heart, that it would be an appropriate time to say adieu to our Christmas decorations for another year…….end of christmas 2016It was emotional, but there again we always like to see the New Year all sorted, fresh, clean and shiny …… to venture on with the new.
putting christmas decs awayIMG_0016
So everything had to be put carefully away, and what we have seriously learned since we began bijoux living is that every single inch of space has to work for itself …….
goodbye santaputting christmas decorations away
….. and, it has to be said, that at times like this I really do miss the attic at The Castle when we used to just bung things up there without a second thought.
goodbye Christmasno more stockings
Darrell and Nigel helped amid much sighing, it only seems like yesterday that Darrell was doing his Hugh type flouncing, arranging and rearranging all our festive shelves ……. and now they are bare ……. Christmas has been and gone and 2016 is ebbing towards its finale, so I suggested a cheeky feast of leftover turkey, chips, peas, pickled onions and bread and butter and the mood was soon, once more, robustly buoyant!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

No, We Don’t Need Any New En Trend Trends!

Darrell was in the Evesham Masonic Hall to pick up some leaflets for erm…… Slimming World, when he noticed something he had never heard of, let alone seen before despite all his mentoring from Hugh, Zee Grand Master of Zee New En-Trend Trend…….
en trend vanity curtains……. Vanity Curtains!
vanity curtains 1I fear the worst.  Darrell has already been on the phone to Hugh ……..
vanity curtainsI don’t care how big a bubbling trend they are, we have only just had Dunelm blinds fitted throughout, they will just have to bubble under! And if we did have them, what’s the betting that Nigel would almost certainly attempt to draw them with disastrous consequences!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

What A Revelation

Oh dear, poor Darrell, he was at a bit of a loose end yesterday afternoon so thought he might as well read the back of a large tube of Smarties …….
Smarties…… only to discover that seventeen of said Smarties is the recommended average daily portion for an adult. This doesn’t bode well ……..
Portion size of smarties equals 17…… as the tube that he and Nigel had polished off earlier in one go should have actually lasted them approximately 3 and a half days, portion size considered ……..
17 smarties……. AND seventeen Smarties is also the average that he and Nigel can usually fit in their mouths at once during games of confectionary dare! As I said, all does not bode well!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Strange Festive Family Goings On .......

Yesterday we returned to “The Homeland” for family  festivities. We  passed The Castle, it looked very romantic in all its illuminated Christmas splendour and horizontal blinds ….and yes ……. though we didn’t have time to stop, Motorworld is no longer boarded up and is open again, and in so doing shall henceforth be known as Nigel’s Christmas Miracle!
family party games 2016But I digress, we had crossed the counties to party and we had been charged with finding the prizes for the “Festive Tut Sack” ……. There was a quiz on all the funny things that Granddad Colin used to say, we had to transfer mini marshmallows from one plate to another with chopsticks, transmit messages to our partner whilst wearing gum shields …….. and then, Nigel’s particular favourite …….
IMG_0005…… despite his traumatised expression ……
balloons in stockings……… both partners had to blow up ten balloons between them, then insert five of said balloons into each leg of a pair of ladies tights ……
IMG_0003……. the winning team being the first to put the balloon filled tights on one of their heads …..
balloons in stockings gameAfter that, I can’t remember much ……..
geddes family christmas 2016…….. Darrell disappeared under the table and I didn’t see him again until someone called us a taxi.  Let’s just say this morning we all appear to have very delicate heads, I am putting this down to  the sudden change of the water on our systems.  Next time we come visit, I will have to remember to fill a couple of bottles with Evesham water so that we can acclimatise ourselves to, what are now foreign climes, a little more gently!

Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas Day 2016–A Culinary Triumph, Well Executed.

We have never hosted a Christmas meal before, we’ve usually been honoured guests, but a new bijoux, riverside home needs new traditions. I have to admit, our nervousness has never been so robust, but we decided to bite the festive culinary bullet and invited everyone round to us for Christmas lunch. It was emotional.
Tesco DeliveryTesco
Darrell took to the helm like a well oiled captain, organising a Tesco online order with a 9.00 – 10.00pm delivery slot  a few nights of nights ago.
Tesco delivery.We did have a couple of substitutions, but these didn’t phase Darrell, he said he could work round them, having “normal” Smarties, when three tubes of pink ones were ordered “ …..was a disappointing, but not of life changing order” he said philosophically.
The Works Christmas Chair BacksWhat Darrell didn’t do himself, he left to Nigel and I, and we were more than happy to go along with all he asked of us.
Tesco peeled sproutsLaying a table and arranging serviettes and crackers and unbagging sprouts were part of Nigel’s duties and I was put in charge of keeping on top of the washing up down so that the kitchen didn’t look like an explosion in a sprout factory at the end of the day.
Christmas Kitchen .Christmas preparation
I have to say it all went like clockwork (Darrell, bless him, had created a festive spreadsheet for all jobs that had to be done and their exact timings) and, I have to say, watching Saturday Kitchen with Hugh during our recent stay also helped.  Hugh certainly had a lot of very useful top tips, especially those involving sprouts and stuffing balls.
Festive CrumbleReflecting at the end of the day our greatest triumph had to be our Festive Foraged Fruit Crumble, for which we could all claim some small part with happy memories of the summer when we all went foraging for blackberries and plums by the river with Darrell proudly swinging the wicker basket he had always dreamed of having for country pursuits!  What is he like?  
Festive foraged Fruit CrumbleThe said crumble went down very easily, accompanied by proper custard, and plans of what we can do with our foraged fruit next year, and Darrell wondering aloud if he could launch his own range of exclusive riverside chutneys and jams!
IMG_9976christmas washing up done and dusted
When all our guest had left, full and not a little merry, and the kitchen returned to normality we settled down with a festive tub of Celebrations  to watch Love Actually, our festive film of choice, and a little bottle of something I had secreted in the fridge.
festive reward……… if this Christmas was anything to go by, it bodes most excellently for many more Christmas’s to come in the future!  Happy Days.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Morning 2016

Santa Stopped HereHe’s been, He found us  ……… and we were all on his “Good List”!
Santa stopped here 2016We are soooooooo very blessed in a totally Santa type way!Christmas Morning 2016Nigel woke us up at 4 o’clock, but, with a little gentle persuasion we managed to persuade him to go back to sleep until 7.30, something of a record.  We told him that it wasn’t always best to peak present wise too soon, if he could feel the rustle of our stockings on the bed, it was evident that Santa had been, so he could safely go back to sleep, to dream of the day to come, until a more civilised hour!
Build a  Bear tentBuild a Bear Tent..
Santa had bought Nigel his tent and naturally, he wants to go camping NOW, but we have explained to him that it wouldn’t be too sensible, especially  in the midst of winter,  however, as his tent isn’t too big we are sure we can find a few choice places in the next couple of days where he could pitch it safely indoors, both here and in Wolverhampton when we go partying.
Gold Lame Ugg BootsDarrell also found his much longed for gold lame, fur lined boots in his stocking. It was an emotional moment.  He says he will be coordinating them very carefully with his festive wardrobe over the next few days.  Me thinks we will be seeing more of Darrell’s boots than his face in photos.
Personalised MarmiteI couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that my jar of marmite had been personalised with my name.  How brilliant is that? It’s so very special.
EyeglassAnd finally, Santa also left us a  proper zoom in, zoom out eyeglass for our bird, squirrel, barge and generally being nosey spotting!
THank You SantaIt’s been another very special Christmas morning, we hope yours has been just as special.  HAPPY CHRISTMAS from us to you xxxxxx

Saturday, 24 December 2016

It’s Christmas Eve

There’s a tangible and palpable feeling of magic in the air "Chez Nous”. I think I can safely say that we are all but ready for the Big Day tomorrow. Our stockings are hung, our chestnuts are well and truly roasted and the taxi’s are booked as we are going to Tom’s and The Lovely Laura’s for our Christmas lunch with cosmopolitan cocktails assured!  Lucy has arrived and all is well in the world.
Christmas Eve on the riverbank. 1However, there is one last thing we have to do, something we have thought an awful lot about over the past few weeks.  Back in the old days of The Castle we used to light a candle in the large lantern in the garden as it got dark on Christmas Eve.  It was our time to remember all the special people who wouldn’t be with us to share Christmas, and sadly, there are a few more names this year. 
Christmas Eve on the riverbank 2christmas eve on the riverbank 4
But, as we now find ourselves in new climes, we thought that perhaps it might be a good time to change that tradition. After a some debate (none heated), we decided that we would like to  a send a candle into the night on the river …….. not a real candle, as we were a bit frightened of setting fire to bulrushes or swans,  so we bought a battery operated one as a compromise.
christmas eve on the riverbank 3We tested that the candle would stay afloat when placed on a lid and then Darrell came up with an ingenious idea on how to get the candle into the water safely.Christmas Eve on the riverbank. 1The river bank was deserted, there was just the three of us and our memories. When we were all ready, Darrell lowered the candle in its lid into  the water with our large kitchen spoon ………..
battery tealight….. and then we watched it float slowly away.
Christmas Eve on the riverbank 2016We stayed for a while, until it was out of sight ……..
floating Candle Christmas Eve……..  taking a little of our hearts with it on its long, solitary journey into Christmas night.