The Christmas theme continued yesterday with Sunday's roast dinner leftovers being turned into a most excellent Bubble and Squeak. The husband has strange ideas about Bubble and Squeak. He wanted to put the gravy and cauliflower cheese into the frying pan with the other leftovers, but one look from me was enough to ensure that these were reheated separately. It's how they do it in the North apparently, but I reminded him that as an adopted Southern softy, he was to leave all these fanciful ideas behind. He'll be sticking chips in a sandwich next....
So it's about now that I start thinking that I have a lot more time till Christmas than I actually have. This manifests itself in a way that I feel Christmassy enough, but without the panic which closes in on me the nearer we get to the 25th. I'm not cooking Christmas lunch this year, as it is Miss R's turn, so that is one thing I don't have to worry about, but every year, I have a virtual back burner which everything sits on until all hell breaks loose around the 12th. It's then, and only then, that I start to worry about what I am going to get everyone, and I have been known to resemble a Tasmanian Devil (this year will be worse, as the menopause and the Tasmanian Devil are the best of friends I would imagine).
There is only one Christmas task that that gets done early, and this has been the same since time began. I always buy the Advent calendars far too early (the day before yesterday to be precise). Having so many children (and partners) I am terrified that the shops will run out, so as soon as the supermarkets have got rid of the barbecue tools and citronella candles, refilling the shelf with what is basically chocolate and tinsel, I am there with my basket. I had to buy six this year, as a couple of the children have partners, and although I now have them, calendar handover has to be timed very carefully.
Son number two and ELL have the purest of chocolate addictions, so if I hand them over too soon, there is the very good chance that they will have cut out the back of the calendar and eaten all the chocolate, before you could say 'three wise men'. The evidence of this would be a couple of prematurely skeletal advent calendars thrown in the bin, foil ripped back as if a couple of rabid hyenas had got to them.
Daughters number one and two are very sensible, and probably will forget that they even have them. But never fear, son number two, who can sniff out Dairy Milk at 50 yards, will have located the aforementioned confectionary countdowns, and eaten the lot. Daughter number one usually finds out what he has done sometime around Easter. This is what happened last year with her Cadbury selection box, which son number two had located, emptied and replaced (now devoid of any chocolate) within ten minutes of her going back to work in January.
I post son number one's to his student squat on the South coast. A couple of years ago, I also sent down several for his flatmates. When they called to thank me, the tone of their voices told me that the calendars would be lucky to survive the end of the phone call, let alone December. A student's lot is not a happy one when all your student loan has been spent on Frosty Jacks and doner kebabs, so I expect the chocolate was a most welcome change.
I do have a bit of a quandary this year though. Miss R, who turned up for my Winter 2016 Maiden Sunday Roast, came bearing gifts in the shape of four advent calendars for the kids. Please note, ELL and LSB how you two were overlooked...remember that when you are considering presents for your possible future mother-in-law.... Son number two and ELL already have their beady eyes trained on them, and I shall have to hide these carefully to avoid a repeat of one year, when I had to buy more calendars in December to replace the ones eaten in a November frenzy.
I suppose I could always give them to the husband as he bled my radiators last night.
As you know, I am a firm believer in rewarding good behaviour....