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So, December...

Well, I've turned over two of the three calendars in the flat; the one near the computer still has to be done. Xmas preparations and plans are piling up. I've got my ticket for the Spitewinter concert in the cathedral by the Sheffield Folk Chorale on the 16th. Vikki sings in the choir. Her husband, Iain, will be there - work permitting - and Steve and Helen attend too. We'll all be seeing each other the night before for dinner and present swapping at my place. I need to decide what to serve. I might do the chicken and orange in foil parcels again, as they worked very well last time and can be part done in advance. Maybe some kind of homemade mousse for dessert; white chocolate perhaps.

Looking forward to soul_rider and family coming over Wed 9th as usual to help in putting up Xmas decorations. I'll put the tree up a day or too before to let Iella get used to it and have the chance to climb it if she wants, without the decorations on. I always put the less breakable ornaments (wood, wire and plastic) on the lower branches but there may be fewer there than usual. Iella is less of a magpie than Diesel was at her age, but the dangly things will be a temptation.

I've booked the train tickets for going to my parents' over Xmas itself. I'll be away about a week. Need to double-check with Chris that he's willing to take the cats in while I'm away. At D&D on Sun, I pointed out that we needed to start thinking about the New Year's Eve dinner. It will be at Chris' house again. Everyone brings a dish, which means two or three each of starter, main course and dessert. I may do a starter this year - probably soup. I've also invited Iain B; he's not part of the group, though he knows them. It's usual for one or two guests to show up so about a dozen people somehow get seated at table in Chris's dining room - which is an ordinary Sheffield terraced house sized dining room.

I've done most of my present buying/making. Mum doesn't know what she wants and says we can go round Wymondham together and she'll pick something for me to get her. I've already got some edibles for her. so may get more. Saturday I went to the Simply Christmas fair in the exhibition centre in Harrogate, with Steve, Helen and Vikki. Helen was given complimentary tickets by one of the stall holders, whom she had taken an afternoon's jewellery making class with. Lots and lots of stalls, selling jewelery, scarves, handbags, beauty products, clothes, shoes, toys and all kinds of gifty things. You could get all kinds of stuff from fancy, handmade wrapping paper to psychic readings guided by archangels. I was particularly taken with the bull and sheep footstools made by The Furniture Farm - Helen and I both observed that you'd probably have to shift a cat from one every time you wanted to use it
In the end I only bought food stuff. There was plenty available to sample - so I did. I didn't bother with the vegetarian caviar, as I don't like the real stuff, so there's no point in eat fake, really. I bought a pack of Lincolnshire sausages made from Anna's Happy Trotters free-range pigs, as the sample was lovely. I also had some Hot Toddy fudge, which has been eaten, and a small tin of Jesmona's liqourice and blackcurrent sweets, which I haven't quite eaten up yet. I got some ginger marmalade and whiskey marmalade as Xmas presents for Mum and Dad.

I have been putting some decorations up. I thought the Sindy house should have some, so I bought craft stuff and a 12" tree from Hobbycraft last week. Rather than sort out a box and put it away for a week or so, I just decorated the living room. I'm pleased with it, and I'll take photos. Not tonight though...

Got to get ready to be off to London in the morning, to see Denis Lawson in La Cage aux Folles tomorrow night :) More sparkly, shiny stuff. 'Tis the season !

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