Be a social butterfly...

 

It’s that time of year again.  It’s not time for Christmas decorations, but the (non-existent) Summer days are well and truly behind us.

Looking at our Garden we have a lot to do before the first frost.  I’m not very good at guaging size ;-P but I’d say our gardens are the size of small school playgrounds!  The front is mainly an Alpine garden; which won’t need much care apart from a quick trim of the lawn and planting the pansies and violas that have been waiting patiently in pots for two weeks.  Then a rake over to tidy up all the fallen leaves.  It’s the back garden that will need the most attention.

Although it’s much smaller it is heavily planted with all sorts of shrubs and bushes.  We bought an evil looking trimmer type thing, but as yet neither myself nor Phill has taken it out of the box!  A job for the weekend methinks.

Other jobs his week have included the soaking of fruit for our Christmas cake!

I’ve had comments about how organised I must be to be doing this already.  Already?? I normally have Christmas Cake baked in September! This is me running late!

I’ve never made the same Christmas Cake twice.  Though the basic recipe remains constant, I alter the ratio of various fruits each year, sometimes omitting or replacing certain ingredients and using a different ‘tipple’ to feed the cake every Christmas.  So far my most successful has been a cake heavy with Cranberries, fed with Sherry.  I say most successful but I can only gauge this from the noise coming out of others and their eagerness to eat more, as I cannot bear the taste of Fruit Cake!!

Why make it, I hear you cry!  Madness I suppose? Or the fact that for me, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without home-made Christmas Cake.

Every time I smell the fruit and spices, mixed with the strange smell of warm newspaper and twine, it takes me back to Autumn as a child.  My Mum baking our family Christmas Cake.  Dark evenings, crispy leaves on the way home frm school and that warm sense that Christmas was coming.

So my Christmas cake is made for the purposes of nostalgia, so that I might pass on skill and tradition to my daughter and as an offering of love to visitors over the festive period.  This years offering is heavy on the cherries and orange zest (provided by Bethany) and is soaked in Amaretto…glorious!

Speaking of Bethany: this child is quite clearly of my making isn’t she?!   No sooner had she seen the jar of cloves than she was stabbing them into a satsuma!

This is one of the many things that I love about being a Mum; those moments when without my suggestion, Beth will start to do something independently that I have taught her.

“I’m making one of those things” she said as her Pomander began to take shape.

“Of course you are sweetheart”.  Of course she was!!

You don’t always realise when you are starting traditions or when you are teaching; but later when you see the influence you’ve had; it’s an astounding feeling.

When Beth is a grown-up, she will remember the same baking smells, the same crunch underfoot, the same sense of comfort that comes with family traditions.  I hope one day she will do this with her children and if I’m lucky, she might even let Phill and I come round and watch! 😉

It really is the little things that mean the most.

Rachel

ps.  I will post my tried and trusted Christmas Cake recipe for your perusal shortly x

 

Be a social butterfly...