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Double blow-out

As if I didn't get enough to eat at Xmas, there's a double-whammy of eating to see the New Year in.

First stop was the Nightingales' bash. Lots of lovely food, generous, lovely pressies, lots of friends and children underfoot. I'd hate to miss it. Lovely to see everyone I saw there. I was hoping to get there beforeJenny, Ian and bump left, and luckily did. I chose a blue coaster with wonky yellow stars on it, which is charming, and also a little fridge magnet. What with the fab Snowy Sheffield coaster I got from rich_jacko , I had to do a shuffle round of the coaster in my flat to accomodate them. Snowy Sheffield is now on my bedside table, and the yellow stars are on the computer desk - rather appropriate, given the number of sci-fi figures and stuff also on there.

New year's eve itself was spent with the D&D group and friends as usual. Only nine of us last year, down from about 11 last year. Myself, the host, Chris, Steve, Helen, Asha, Colin, Iain, Vikki and Iain B.My course was first; French Onion soup with slices of thick, malty bread from Beanies and cheese on that for those who like it. Then was Asha's fish course of smoked salmon mousse, which was tasty but has a little too much horseradish for me to finish it. First main course was Chris' beef, leek and potato pie, which was delicious. This was accompanied by roast carrots and parsnips and broccoli. After a couple of minutes to digest that, we had Steve's main. This was a very rich venison cassarole with rice, boiled carrots and any veg left from the first main course.
  We took a longer break before starting on the desserts. Helen contributed a lovely lemon tray cake with a syrupy custurd underneath, accompanied by homemade lemon and rosemary icecream. You couldn't taste the rosemary, but it added a freshness and was lovely. After that, there was a huge bowlful of Asha's Eton(ish) mess - cream, meringue pieces and assorted, mostly homegrown berries - red and white currants, raspberries and strawberries. Steve opened his toffee vodka, which is all the rage in Wales, apparently. Wasn't that bothered myself.
   After sitting around the table a while, we made our way into the living room. Iain B, Iain F and Vikki had brought snacks for nibbling, and drinks for the evening. We played a round of Operation, Dalek edition and then settled for a game of Nomination whist (to use a polite name for it). We put Jools Holland on for about 10 minutes running up to midnight. After the bongs, we went up to Chris' attic games room to look out of the mini conservatory on his roof. It's basically a full-length extended dormer window with double doors that currently lead out onto a scaffolding platform. It has a fabulous across the east and south of Sheffield, and we could see fireworks going off all over the city. Chris stood outside in his T-shirt for a better view, saying it wasn't much colder than the games room. Er, it was about minus 2 - the games room didn't have the heating on, but it certainly wasn't that cold.  Iain B is a games geek, and was thrilled to see the fabled games room, especially the impressive collection of early Dragon magazines and vintage D&D modules.
  We went back down to finish the game of whist. I was second, pipped in the last round by Iain B. It wasn't bad considering that I had a lousy start, and had started a cold in the afternoon, so I spent the evening blowing my nose and sneezing. Aside from the last thing, it was a fine evening. I hope yours was good too.

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