I'm feeling a bit nervous tonight. I'm not in a blind spin and it really is very nearly Christmas. So, what have I forgotten, I ask? Mind you, I'm not cooking this year, and that makes a huge difference - Turkey Lurkey at friends' on Sunday and off to family ( about 30 of us!) on Boxing Day in Oxford - providing my reliable easy peasy Josceline Dimbleby mince pies with brandy butter and, of course, Wensleydale, for both occasions.
I was messing around with orange pastry at 3ish this afternoon while listening to BBC radio 4's carol service from King's College - my real Christmas beginning, followed by our very own beautiful local service. Each year we wend our way along a couple of miles into the South Downs, to a tiny candle lit church, filled to the gunnels, (or is it ginnils?) with holly, ivy and all of us singing our little hearts out.... Laughter and stories abound, and good will bounces round, reflected in every face. No shopping here!
But the shopping has been done - at least as much as I could. I have bought most of my gifts from small independent and, on the whole, local retailers, makers and crafts people and I discovered notonthehighstreet this year - what a find. Several friends do very well with their crafts and hand made clothes on the site - have a look. Anyway, you already know all about Miss Ruby's doll's house, nearly fully furnished now as well, but here are the portraits I have done for my beloveds of their beloveds! Sleeping Ruby in oil on canvas, and Mister at Home in charcoal on paper - so last minute did all this happen that Ruby is definitely a "look, but don't touch". She is still wet! Nothing like being prepared hey, but, without, I hope, sounding naff or cheesy, I do like to remember the non-commercial bits. I loved it when my girls were little and we would spend hours making lavender oil, or cookies, or whatever for Grandmas and aunties - it never rained and no-one ever got bored or cross in my memory wardrobe of course.
Anyway, however organised or otherwise you are, have a happy Christmas and all the very best for the year ahead. May it all be peaceful and not too dramatic or chaotic - so much seems to have happened in the last couple of years, I feel we all need a bit of a rest. Take care x