Monday, 7 January 2008

All over for another year, then

Well, the Christmas tree has come down and been chopped up ready for going on the fire. All the decorations are packed away, cards taken down from all the bookshelves, floors swept and mopped and the kitchen looks very empty and white. Good job we ordered a reclaimed pine dresser on Saturday from the lovely Foxwood to fill some space, and more importantly hold the increasing amounts of glassware we seem to be acquiring recently.

I’ve been planning a post for the last week or so – but somehow things have got in the way, such as Christmas, planning and hosting a New Year’s Eve party, clearing up after the same, and going back to work. Having read what seems like squillions of newspaper articles and blog posts all about people’s New Year’s resolutions, lists of the year for 2007, and festive goings on, and given the title of my blog, you’d think I would be more up to speed with my own. Good intentions for 2008 will probably come in a later post when I’ve thought of some (they won’t be much different from the intentions that I posted during 2007); so for now I’ll just round up the end of the year.

Ali and I had a really lovely quiet Christmas at home by ourselves, the obligatory roast beef for dinner and rather too much of different sorts of wine. It was really good just to have a whole day with nothing to do but open presents, cook the meal, eat it and watch TV (though Christmas telly was particularly crap this year. Even the festive edition of SCD was a bit of a let down – clearly none of the celebrities and their partners could give a toss about the result, given that it was only the studio audience voting, and Darren Gough was a shoe-in to win as he’s on the SCD tour so they had to keep him sweet and remind the public to go and book their tickets). Boxing Day we travelled to Hitchin to visit our friends Cameron and Elaine, taking the remnants of the chocolate pie I’d made for Christmas – and believe me there was more than 80% of it left. In Jamie’s recipe it looked lovely and light and fluffy – but with an ingredients list of chocolate, sugar, butter, crème fraiche, more butter, cocoa, more chocolate and butter pastry, it was never going to be the healthy option. Cameron and Elaine nobly said they’d keep the remains and finish them off but I’m willing to bet a lot ended up in the bin…

A few pub jaunts later and we were in the throes of planning for NYE. By 31st we’d got 3 polypins of real ale from 2 different local breweries (Butt’s and West Berkshire); dozens of bottles of wine and mixers galore; I’d made our biggest stock pot full of beef stew plus 2 smaller pots of veggie chilli, 24 fairy cakes (sprinkling the hundreds and thousands on the chocolate icing was so satisfying!) and a pear and almond tart, we’d cleared Waitrose of all the dips and chips you could think of, and we were ready to go. So ready, in fact (I’d done a lot of the cooking on Sunday) that I’d cleared up, showered, and dressed up by 2pm and felt a bit at a loose end – after all it would have been suicidal to start drinking then...

It was the first time we’d mixed up 2 different groups of friends – the Oxford crowd who I’ve known most of since 1992; and our ‘local’ friends who we mostly know from where Ali previously worked. Add in one 4 month old baby (Freddie); one toddler (Evie) and 3 kids between 6 and 10 (Bailey, Courtney and Bethany) and there was a fantastic mix of people in the house. With around 30 people our ground floor was full to bursting and I don’t think we could really host anything bigger, unless it’s summer and people could go outside, but it’s good to know our limits! With a 4am finish and the kids up at 7.30 (Evie liked the sound her feet made running up and down on the wooden floors of the bedroom above ours) it meant a very sluggish start to the new year but with some strong coffee inside us and a bacon sarnie we were ready to go to Robin and Anne’s for a New Year’s Day dinner. Being presented with a glass of bubbly at 2pm after 3 hours sleep was just the tonic (!) and while we were seriously flagging by 7.30pm it was a great start to the new year. Back to work on Wednesday. Hmph.

Some 2008 good intentions to follow, hopefully before the end of January. Nerys and I were at Body Balance on Sunday though so despite not having a booze-free day since some time in mid-December, I think I’m on the right lines.

[From top to bottom - fairy cakes and a clear-ish work surface before the party; Dr Brown's real ale bar; Andy at 11.10pm (before too much fizz was consumed); Ali & a stubborn cork]

3 comments:

howsoonisnow said...

Happy New Year! Glad to hear you had a good one - mine was enough to send me & the Kiwi headlong into another January detox. Trying to fit into that swimsuit for a trip to NZ in Feb...


(her, not me, although for my part I'm concerned Air NZ will fine me for excess baggage before I've even shown them a case...)

Kathryn said...

New Year greetings Dan! Hope your detox is going well. Of course I can recommend another diet if you want one ;) What excess baggage are you taking to NZ then - all your snorkelling gear too heavy??

Anonymous said...

Wow - can't believe you managed to make it to 7:30 on New Years Day AND consumed alcohol...I struggled all day and was very glad to follow Evie to bed at 7.
Once again great job of hosting - thanks very much.
Andy