Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year, New Leaf – or not

                You already know my New Year’s Resolution – well, one of them – which is to keep my blog more up-to-date.  I know there are advice columns out there for bloggers, most notably which was the one I found when googling for advice about blogging, and one of the key things that Anne recommends in her column is not blogging too often.  But then I wondered if she’s really addressing the sort of blog that I’m doing.  I mean, it’s almost a very biased local newsletter, in which case I should be blogging whenever there’s news to report. (Not that I’m biased, of course, but obviously even I only ever know one side of the story, until someone complains and tells me the other side.)
                Anyway, the upshot of this is that I have decided not to be limited to one blog entry a week.  My apologies if that means that some of you end up with too much to read.  Most of what I write is only going to be of interest to people in the village, and I know for certain that some of them have too much time on their hands, so using some of it up by reading my blog will a) help use up some of that excess time, and b) possibly put a smile on their faces.
                Celeste has also pointed out that I don’t seem to have mentioned my biscuits for a while.  She is correct in this, but in part this is because I haven’t made as many since Edith told me not to give her any for a while.  However, I did make some for Celeste to take back – she headed back to Uni on Thursday, courtesy of a lift from the OH so that she could celebrate New Year’s Eve with her uni friends – and used one of my oldest recipes, from a cookbook I was apparently given in 1978 that probably came free with a dozen pints of milk, since it’s the Dairy Cookbook and every recipe contains either milk, cheese, butter, cream or yoghurt.  Or all of the above. 
Anyway, in case the 60 biscuits that I made for Celeste (by doubling the recipe) don’t last, here’s what you need for Cinnamon Biscuits: 8 oz self-raising flour, pinch of salt, 5 oz butter, 4 oz caster sugar, beaten egg, 1.5 level teaspoons cinnamon.  Sift flour, cinnamon and salt together. Rub in butter (though I always use marge) finely. Add sugar. Mix to stiff dough with beaten egg.  Knead on lightly board.  In theory, you can put the mix in the fridge for 30 minutes, but I never bother. Roll it out fairly thinly. Use a fluted 2 inch biscuit cutter to cut 30 biscuits. Prick well (oh Ainsley, where are you when needed?) and place on buttered baking tray. Bake at 180C for 12-15 minutes until pale gold. Leave on tray for 2-3 minutes, transfer to wire cooling rack and then store in airtight container when cold.  I was going to take a photo of them beautifully arranged in the Tupperware box, but Celeste had already hijacked them.  They’re so easy to make, though, I should think even a novice could do them justice.  Rephrase that – a novice did do them justice, back in 1978.
So, New Year in the village.  In previous years, Verity has held a party from which we were all unceremoniously thrown out at around 12.15 am, but last year she was away and someone suggested that we all go and see in the New Year at one of the local pubs, which for the sake of anonymity I shall call The White Lion.  There was a half-hearted attempt by some of the group last year – well, 2009/2010  – at fancy dress, but it was generally regarded as Quite Successful.  Consequently, this year, as in 2010/2011, we agreed to go there again, but without the attempt at fancy dress.  I went down for a while, and encountered much merriment and a fair quantity of alcohol, but since everyone was walking home afterwards, that didn’t matter much.  I joined the smokers hovering outside the door at 12.05 for the fireworks that our local Lord of the Manor had organised.  The bangs and oohs were accompanied by some howling from a couple of nearby dogs, but fortunately it was over quite soon.
I was feeling quite tired by then and walked home, but the OH, after escorting me back (not that I needed it, he just likes to feel gallant) returned to the pub.  There had clearly been other parties going on elsewhere because I could hear people wandering down the middle of the road for some time after I’d gone to bed, and George phoned to wish me Happy New Year and left a message, since I was in the bathroom, from what sounded like the middle of Party Central in Dundee.  At least, I think it was George.  It was loud and there were Scottish accents in the background, and when he hobbled towards the train station on Tuesday, he had said he was going back to Scotland. 
As soon as I finish writing this entry, I have a somewhat embarrassing job to do. (Don’t worry, nothing to do with toilets.)  In the process of tidying up once the children had both left, I found a stack of Christmas cards that I wrote, long before Christmas, stamped and then put to one side because of the snow.  So I’m going to post them.  They’ll not even have the right month and year on the postmark, but I wrote them before Christmas, so the thought was there.  And I can’t waste all those stamps!  Apologies if you’re one of the future recipients.  I really was thinking of you before Christmas....

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