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Been busy

It's been a very Xmassy week. Monday went into town. Returned library books, joined loooong queue in Post Office to check stamps needed for large Xmas cards and shopped in the markets. Went there particularly for chicken breast fillets for dinner on Tues, and got some at a very good price.

Tues was Xmas meal for Steve, Helen, Iain and Vikki. I'd have liked to get dessert ready on Mon, but didn't have the energy after being out all day. So in the morning made a Xmas log using recipe from WI chocolate book. I made a kind of mousse, with whipped cream, cream cheese, melted chocolate, mandarin segments and Cointreau. Some of this is used to sandwich together about 16 plain digistives into a cylinder. The rest is smeared over the cylinder to coat it and be the 'bark' of the log. I dusted some icing sugar on top for snow and it looked pretty good. There was a slight hiccup when I came to serve it, as I discovered I'd got soured cream by mistake. I had to make do with a tin of evap from the store cupboard. The log itself was fine; quite rich but a nice contrast in taste and texture from the chocolate goo and the biscuit.  

For the main course, I did the chicken and orange parcels I made last year fortallbint  and wretch79 . Rice, Julienne leeks and a chicken breasat fillet topped with a slice of orange, all cooked together in a foil parcel. It's tasty and once the parcels are assembled, can be left to cook with no more attention, while you do other stuff. I did carrots and sprouts to go with the parcels.   I just managed to get the living room tidied and the table set with best tablecloth and placemats before guests arrived. We swapped cards and presents (but didn't open presents), ate and had a nice time. The cats entertained us by playing in the crackly tunnel that Helen had given me recently.

Wed night we all saw each other again at the Spitewinter ! concert in the catherdral. Vikki sings with the Sheffield Folk Chorale, who do the concert. They specialize in non-traditional and folk-based carols, including songs from around the world. They did some beautiful songs, including Gaudete and a lovely carol popular in America, called Carol of the Bells. They also did a couple with lyrics written by the choir leader, Graham Pratt. 'Christmas in the Family' is to the tune of 'Stop the Cavalry', and recounts a less than harmonious family Xmas experience (Wish I wasn't here, for Christmas..."). And where the original goes 'Dum a dum a dum dum' etc, this version has 'got a lot of socks now, got a lot o' socks; got a lot now, got a lot;, got a lot of socks'.   They also enjoy themselves performing Carollers from Hell:   'Ding dong ringing at the bell. Who can it be that's calling ?   It's the carollers from Hell; the prospect is appalling !" It was a most enjoyable night, and the cathedral was lovely and warm too. Glad I brough a cushion to sit on though.

Didn't do much Thursday. I was resting and catching up at home after being busy earlier in the week.

Friday I was off out again, though running behind schedule after discovering I'd accidentally set the washing machine to rinse hold, instead of half load, and therefore needed to run a rinse when I thought it was all done. Had my hair cut, only about two months after first thinking it was about time it needed doing. Then went just up the road to Wyndsor's World of Shoes. I'm very fond of my black suede slip ons, but the inners are fraying and the inside of the heels is worn away (I've had them two years) so my feet are at an angle, instead of being flat. As they have thick, trainerish moulded soles, they can't be reheeled. I was happy to get an new pair of exactly the same kind. The old ones went in the bin at the tram stop.  

From Shalesmoor to Hillsbrorough, to visit soul-rider and family for Xmas get-together. Took over presents for them and recieved a card from Adam and a lovely coaster from rich_jacko , had had them made from his snowy Sheffield photos, instead of handing out cards. The adults had a great time playing with Evie's toys, especially the Dalek mask/voice changer and the farm, where sheep football and animal Jenga were played. There was good food too, especially the delicious mince pies.   I managed to not fall over in the snow and ice. However, I  have dug an electric freestanding heater out to supplement the storage heaters, which just aren't keeping the place warm enough at the moment.

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