Euan and I made some Mince Pies. We have been threatening to make mince pies for a week. I enjoyed making the pastry in a large bowl with both of our pairs of hands rubbing all the butter in with the flour. I used a jar of 'bought' Minced Meat but I added to it. I addend a few good slugs of Brandy, some grated apples, some grated lemon rind and the juice of a lemon. I added more dried fruit, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and some dark marmalade. The result is rather morish. Both Euan and I have been disappointed with shop bought Mince Pies this year. I have had to stop him from eating all these homemade ones. He says they are better than shop bought because he can taste the booze, the lemon and sugar. He also said the shop ones are not 'golden' and Mince Pies should be golden. I think I could have a chef or food critic in the making.
A 'Baby Guinness'. This is a tiny liqueur glass, honest! I use 'Tia Maria' and then pour Baileys Irish Cream over the back of a spoon so it floats on top of the Tia Maria. Last night I could not sleep, tonight I think I may sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
I find Christmas is a 'strange' time of year. I can get very 'reflective' during Christmas and the New Year. We have unexpected things happen at this time of year in our family. One year we found two very underweight German Shepherds and we phoned the dog warden to come and collect them, that was a bit sad. At this time of year 'pets' and animals can become an expense too far or a chore too many. . . many animals get abandoned at this time of year. Another year we had a little 'Zebra Finch' fly into the kitchen on Christmas Eve Evening. It arrived with a 'Beep beep'! That is what Zebra Finches 'say'. Zebra finches are 'African' birds I think, this one must have escaped an aviary and would not have survived the wild. We were not kitted out for a bird. We used a box and made a perch. All the shops were shut for Christmas, so we fed 'Beep' on crumbs. We had that little bird for years in the end. His name was Beep and he was very cute. He would come out and run around like 'Road Runner' 'Beep beep'. He would also fly around and sit on your shoulder. (actually 'he' was a 'she' because one year he laid an egg! Another year my Dad and I were walking our dogs on Boxing Day and we saw a beautiful Siamese Cat at the base of tree, in a damp ditch. We thought it was dead and were going to see if it had a collar so we could let the owners know. When we got to the cat it 'moved'. I quickly ran about half a mile to get a box from a large store. We put the cat in the box and took it home. It had a bad case of cat flu and looked very old. We took it to the vets and the vet prescribed antibiotics, eye drops and gave it a couple of injections. The cat 'peed' all over my bed! At which point my Dad said it had to go! I cried all the way to the 'Cat Rescue'. In the end through the local paper we traced the owners who were looking for their lost cat. He was quite old and they had just moved house so he must have got lost. They got reunited, which is a happy ending. Now at this time of year I half expect a 'Festive Animal in Distress' to appear over the holidays. Before you ask 'no' it won't be a little Sausage dog. I have lay low on that one!
I did have a 'Festive dilemma' last night though. It was not of the animal variety but of the human variety. I rarely walk the dog in the dark. Last night she kept pestering me, so I gave in and took her for a walk at about 9pm. I have to be careful where I walk at that time of night as this is not a 'trouble free' town. I was walking along the road when I saw a pair of feet in the air! Obviously you have to do a double check at such occurrences. Yep it was definitely a pair of feet in the air. I came across a 'drunk' rolling around on the ground with all of his money spilled over the ground. Thank goodness for big dogs! I am sure 'Lacey' would protect me. I asked the geezer if he was ok. He clearly wasn't. I picked up all of his coins and gave them to him. Then I offered him a hand up. He does not live far from my house. He was not far from 'home'. He was on his feet for about thirty seconds when he fell again, face first, whacking his head on the curb of the road as he fell! He cut his head and was bleeding at this point. I sat him by a tree and told him I would help him. I knew I needed to phone an ambulance. Luckily a car stopped with a young couple in it and three children, they helped me and the young man phoned the ambulance. We also managed to flag down a police car. The 'drunk' was bewildered and really incoherent. He kept putting his had out for me to hold it. I left him in the care of the police waiting for an ambulance. This has really made me think about 'needy' people living in our communities. I had a lengthy conversation with Henry about helping the 'geezer' and what you can do to 'help' people like that. If I had not have stood him he would not have fell and bumped his head in the first place!
The Police told me there was not much 'Festive Spirit' in our town last night they had already dealt with two 'stabbings'. This sickens me. I know I could not have left the drunk alone and vulnerable. I have wondered about 'Clive' the drunk all day. I have wondered about putting him a small 'Care Package together. A small box of basic supplies and dropping it around to his flat. Henry said 'it would be a drop in the ocean' but I said the act would give Clive as message stronger than words or written words. Maybe our society is so harsh because we are afraid to care? A stray birdie or cat is one thing but a stray person is an entirely different matter. I am yet undecided about the 'Care Package' I will reflect on. I really do not need a new 'friend' without sounding harsh. I think in the 'New Year' I may phone the Salvation Army and ask their advice as I know they regularly deliver 'care packages' to the 'needy'. Clive was not just drunk, he was disheveled and unkempt. I have seen him around for years as a 'local figure' he clearly has a long standing alcohol problem. I guess we can only conclude, this time of year is not 'happy' for many people and many creatures. I will be sparing a thought and a prayer for the vulnerable living within our communities this Christmas.
I really hope all your festive plans are on track and going smoothly.