The day began well with everything in the oven that needed to be in there. Pots and pans were on the oven top waiting for their turn, which also included the compulsory Sprouts. Bits and pieces were in the fridge cooling and chilling, including the mandarin cheesecake with white chocolate. All cats and dogs were out in the sunshine, otherwise they would be trying to guard everything whilst supervising and getting under foot. All of a sudden the bell at the front gate goes, if it was our friends turning up early they could be plied with drink. It turned out to be our lovely neighbour from across the lane, with a freshly made Banitsa for us. I couldn't swear to it, but I am sure that our oven became related to Doctor Who's Tardis for the day. It seemed to be a never ending supply of things emerging from it. Fortunately there was still room for us all to sit around the table once various dishes of Christmas fare had been placed there. A minor logistical miracle that everything was able to be shoe horned into place, the table must have been groaning. I know that my stomach was by the time I had managed to sample a bit of everything, and maybe have seconds too.
One downside to the lack of snow, is that it removes one avenue of how to burn off some of those excess calories, which might possibly have slipped through, cunningly disguised as a Sprout or two, or perhaps it was the pigs in blankets. At the moment my snow shovel is close to hand, just in case, but is playing host to a few spiders and some dry leaves. So I had to resign myself to sitting uncomfortably and wishing I had a pair of 'Expando' trousers, knowing full well that on the Boxing Day it would be just as bad with the addition of Bubble and Squeak. The fires only seem to be lit in the late afternoon for a couple of hours, just to take the chill off the rooms, so the firewood piles are still looking very healthy.
Comparing this December to a previous year, it is surprising to see the difference. All four photos in this group are in colour, and it is easy to see how grey and dreary the usual winter sky appears. As of yet I have managed to resist temptation, and get the lawn mower out just to keep everything trimmed and manageable. Well, that's my excuse, and I am sticking to it. Despite stocking up for the usual winter siege, the cupboards and freezers are still full, we are planning a trip into town in the next few days just for a trip out more than anything else. I will have a go at trying to get the new Vignette for next year, maybe even redo the car insurance, a Post Office visit, stock up the New Year's Day goodies for when the village children come knocking and definitely a coffee or two. Looking at the 10 day forecast the temperatures are set to plummet, so maybe Winter will put in a guest appearance. Hopefully we will manage to escape the usual icy road conditions though, still there is always the village bus. We can't complain about our weather though, because compared to the North of England and Wales we are having it an awful lot easier. So if you are in one of the affected areas, or have family or friends there, I hope that all are safe, warm and dry.