Happy Not-Quite-New Year!

Hello, dear friends! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay wherever you are! My family Christmas was fine, thanks, until a nasty little coughing lurgy attached itself to me somewhere amidst all the farewell hugs in the last days before I journeyed back North.

I soldiered on, went back to work to earn my crust, ignoring how my whole body shuddered at each cough. Hogmanay was spent by the fireside with a hot toddy watching the telly til after the bells, well, there was no point going to bed earlier – those fireworks are very loud and they went on longer than ever this year!

New Year’s Day morn I rose with one mission, to climb the Seat That Belongs To Arthur, no lurgy was going to hold me back. And, by George, Andrew and Murgatroyd, it didn’t!! My adrenaline pumping, my dander up, I was gonna scale that Seat or die in the attempt. Dear reader, I nearly did! (thank goodness I had my emergency hipflask of Laphroaig to revive me)

Since then I’ve been confined to bed and fireside, but am starting to feel much better now, so I thought I’d drop you a line. Expect stuff soon on Dr Who, Dracula and Dark Materials, also some Tuck and squirrels’ nuts.

Yours truly on reaching the top…

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And after a reviving glug or three of Laphroaig…..

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Merry Christmas!

It’s just gone midnight, oo, it’s Christmas! I’m back in the family fold in dankest Yorkshire. If I survive in one piece, I have my homemade Christmas cake waiting for me back in Edinburgh, only a small one. Cousin Edgar announced a few weeks ago that he intended to make the family cake this year, great, well, not as great as mine! I was round at his yesterday, offering tips on how to do the icing. Tomorrow we get to try his attempt, mmmm! Better get my head down or Santa won’t come.

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas wherever you are 💛

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The natives are revolting!

Finally, it’s over, November’s done for another year, yay! Christmas is already old hat in the shops and the ever-expanding Christmas Market is causing the usual ruckus with locals. Yes, not everyone loves a Christmas Market! The local evening paper’s Facebook following have been pouring out vitriol by the bucketload about the council and the Underbelly (aka the Plunderbelly!). Some paint the Underbelly as the evil villain and the council as dumb, some just hate the council as totally money-grabbing and/or inept (they have a point there).

Probably a lot of local papers have similar followers on Facebook, i.e., people who love to complain and will at very opportunity.  This brings me to the point of Facebook’s “Top Fan” status; I assume this is bestowed purely on the number of times a person has responded to posts, I wouldn’t really call the Edinburgh Evening News top responders fans! The latest news stories (or often non-stories) are often “Suggested” for me, and like a guilty pleasure I succumb to the Comments where I’ve found that the Top Fans are the top lambasters and rather entertaining to those of us who don’t take it seriously.

A few weeks ago everyone become construction experts as the city was shocked by a picture showing part of the lower scaffolding holding up the market. The scandal grew when it was reported that Underbelly were going ahead without planning permission, meaning that when the market collapsed (deemed inevitable by all these new experts) it wouldn’t be covered by insurance. Many were threatening never to set foot on such a dangerous deathtrap!

I grew bored of it all. Quite obviously the construction was fine, the Underbelly are now a very big, successful company, like they’d risk everything by cutting corners on something THAT important, seriously. The planning permission thing, well, that is dodgy and in my opinion is all about the council being happy to cut corners, being lazy and inept, and only being interested in looking after big businesses rather than the local population.

Will I set hoof on the Market of Doom? Sure I’ll go for a meander round one weekday evening, I’ll even take a few pics pics for you. Will I buy anything? Most likely not, I’ve seen all the same stalls every year and have already bought anything I liked a few years ago. The market, like the Fringe, is a victim of the premise BETTER=EXPANSION, but too many stalls and none will make enough money.  Also the fact is that many people go to the Christmas Market like it’s an art gallery – great to wander round looking at everything feeling all christmassy, maybe have a mulled wine, but not to actually buy anything.

The council claim that Edinburgh needs a Christmas Market to compete for tourists. Oh yeah, Edinburgh has nothing to offer tourists without it, actually the council probably do really believe that, they seem to be totally blind to what tourists love about Edinburgh (like the history, architecture, scottishness). Every city seems to have a Christmas Market these days, maybe I’ll pop down to Durham or York, beautiful old cities, spend an hour in the Christmas market, then enjoy the ambience of a grand old cathedral city.

Hope you have a great December wherever you may be!

Time to go to home

It’s very late, tomorrow I head down to darkest Yorkshire for Christmas. Finally all packed up, did take a break to find out about Grindelwald’s crimes, he’s a bit of a wrong’un, ain’t he? I would love to have a niffler, rather reminds me of a platypus, methinks – without all the coarse language  (I do know a platypus, swears like a trooper, so he does).

Anyhoo, just thought I’d show you this year’s cake. Oh, and if you’re concerned about the penguin, don’t be. He’s not having bad thoughts, he just does it to freak people out.

Toodle pip! Merry Crimble!

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Strictly elephants and zombies!

Oops, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Christmas will soon be upon us but before it comes the Strictly Come Dancing Final, and absolutely no one is surprised by the final line-up; Joe, Faye, Ashley and Stacey. Who’ll be the first one out? My elephant friend confidently predicts Ashley, who? why?

My good friend FB likes to watch Strictly, he’s a lovely soul, says how things are but most folk don’t even acknowledge his presence, he is after all an elephant in the room. And FB? It stands for Fan Base, without one a celebrity can only do so much, especially once in the Final when the judges can no longer save a contestant on merit. If Ashley, even with high judges scores, can’t get enough public votes to be kept out of the bottom two, then how will she fair when it’s strictly down to a popularity vote?!

Mind, a week’s a long time in social media and it might just be long enough for the anti-Ashley mob to get up enough noses to generate an anti-anti-Ashley mob! They’ll vote for her in the Final just to annoy the anti-Ashleyers! Then there’s also the “journey” voters, who’s journey are they most moved by, Stacey’s or Joe’s? Faye stumbles at that hurdle, as like Ashley she’s seen as having previous dance experience. Also, let’s not forget that Joe has millions of followers on social media, have they been voting? Will they vote on Saturday?

My personal favourite is Stacey, and she is dancing with Kevin, another favourite of mine. They may sneak in a win being well-loved by many – and surely Kevin has to win sometime!?

So what about zombies? Well, my second favourite film from this year’s EIFF has been in cinemas this week, Anna And The Apocalypse, saw it three times 😊 (the benefit of having an unlimited card to my local multiplex). Everything about it is brilliant, certainly a new christmas must for me! I may turn evangelical next yesterday – the DVD will be a great present for friends, hell yeah, the ones who missed it this week do NEED to see it.

Time to go,

Nightly night,

Don’t let Zombie Santa bite…..

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On the Fringe of Christmas

Oh dear, I haven’t put anything on for a while, I do hope Mr Claus doesn’t warrant lapsed blogging as bad. As (hopefully) you will see I have been busy making my own christmas cake. Yes, it is all my own work, cake, almond paste and icing. When I was a young calf the christmas cake and pudding were made in October. The pudding mixture was made in the morning so that we could all have a stir of it and make a wish before noon – I have no recollection of any rhyme or reason for this tradition but we always did it so. But it was the christmas cake mixture we all loved eating, in fact I’m surprised we didn’t end up with a small cake considering how much tasting we did before it even made it into the cake tin from the mixing bowl!

And now I make the family christmas cake for the annual gathering, following my mother’s recipe, of course. Ours is not one of those dark, dry, cramped full of dried fruit affairs, no, it’s not too much darker than yours truly in colour with a nice ratio of fruit to cake and baked just enough. The almond paste is messy to make but I could never use shop-bought! Besides, the unused egg whites go to making the icing. I’m not into this fondant malarkey, good old fashioned icing is my thing. Okay, so my thing isn’t pristine smooth cakes, but it’s depicting windblown snow, that’s my excuse!

Tomorrow I head down to deepest, darkest Yorkshire, laden down with presents, cake and games to play.

Wishing you one and all, a very Merry Christmas  x

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(Yay! The picture looks to be here in my preview, hope you can admire my handiwork too!)