First off: Happy New Years! I trust everyone had an enjoyable few days of family, food, and tinsel/sparkly things sticking to you.
Christmas in Bristol was a balmy -2 and we had just enough snow to classify it as a “white Christmas” (although it promptly warmed up to +9 and it had all melted away). Our Christmas Eve meal was a hit and a miss; perogies were amazing – thank you Alexa for the dough recipe, our rendition of cabbage rolls led something to be desired, but we blame the passata – it was so sour it was almost like we had poured lemon juice all over them. The beverage for the evening was that of a Black Velvet, a Guinness-Champagne concoction that looks like Guinness, smells like cider, and tastes somewhere in between.
We were able to go on a nice jaunt Christmas day, and it was quiet. Eerily quiet. But it seems that the British really do have Christmas lunch instead of Christmas supper – wandering the streets and peering through windows (everyone has a bay window, I wasn’t creeping up) families were all seated having Christmas lunch.
We opted for the more prominent tradition in Canada of the Christmas supper dining on a cajun-style roast chicken (which I dropped on the floor!!! The oven tilts and it just slid out of the oven when I went to baste it, and onto the floor, sending chicken juices cascading onto my slippers), and the very British items of goose fat roasted potatoes, sauteed brussel sprouts with bacon, and to finish it off – Sticky Toffee Pudding!
My god, do the British ever consume too much fat. Between the goose fat, bacon, cream, sugar, I opted not to make gravy. The redeeming factor of the meal was that somewhere underneath the lard were remnants of potatoes, brussel sprouts, and there were figs and dates hidden in the pud. But it was all delicious!
Jigsaws, CBC Radio 2, Muppet movies, and Chocolate continued to reigned this Christmas and with the beauty of Skype, we were able to have some famamily chats, not quite the usual Festivus, but at least I didn’t have to wrestle Gramma.
My birthday was another nice and relaxing day full of waffles, beet and apple salad, and baked macaroni! Yummm. We went for a walk to go see the piglets, but they had been moved. But instead we finally found a way up into the hills overlooking the area! We went sledding on makeshift crazy carpets I fashioned out of cardboard and a door we found on the road, but as you can see, there wasn’t much snow. We ended up getting really dirty and just sat on a hill drinking and watching a fox roam the park and paper lanterns float through the sky.
A fantastic illness left me incapable of much but sleep for a few days and I was lucky to stay up late enough for New Years. It was one of the more enjoyable New Years Eve’s; usually there is so much hype about the night, yet no one really knows what they’re doing until late, and you end up with 3 places you have to get to before midnight. James was working so I set about the evening with no expectations; just myself, movies, and a box of Advil Cold & Sinus.
About 5 minutes before midnight, James showed up after work and Bristol exploded! Fireworks, music, yelling, car horns, people hanging out of their windows, and paper lanterns everywhere! Living on a hill, we were able to see fireworks all across the city – and not just little pitsy ones, big fireworks, the ones that light up peoples faces enough to tell the colour of their eyes.
The people in the flat above us were setting them off behind the flat and we had a drink with the neighbours as they set off fireworks on the garden wall. They had to be positioned just so, so that they didn’t hit the power lines or the flats across the street.
Successfully, nothing was hit. But the fireworks that drop army men arched so very close to the flats! Luckily, the train tracks are behind them, so several little army men will be littering the tracks. Hopefully the British transport system will be able to handle army men!
It turned into a wonderful New Years – no expectations, no build up, no juggling various parties through snow and ice – and something incredibly enjoyable happened!
Hopefully this week will have a few hours of employment for me as students go back on the 4th (who sends students back to school on a Tuesday?) and then on the 8th – Amsterdam! From the 8th to 14th I’ll be taking my late-Christmas holiday all around the Netherlands! Haven’t had much traveling in as of late so it comes none to soon!!