Christmas 1

It has been quite a week in Montreal. On Thursday we broke a 40-year record for snowfall in one day, with a whopping 51cms falling. Of course there were also high winds
so, by yesterday there was a drift as tall as myself, outside the back door. 
Thus, since Thursday, an inordinate number of hours have
been spent shovelling!!! 
But, I’m getting ahead of myself; after all, this past Monday was Christmas Eve.

As you may recall,
last Sunday I included the “Unexpected Christmas” video in my Post.
Well Christmas Day took an “unexpected” twist for me too!!  
      I had previously announced to all and sundry that I intended to have Christmas Dinner ALONE at HOME; That I LIKED it that way and that NOTHING and NO ONE could persuade me to join them at their festive family gatherings. After all, the Christmas Story is all about Family, I’m very thankful that the core of Christmas, for me, is the whole worship experience which starts at the beginning of Advent and runs through to Epiphany but, one
has to admit that customs and family celebrations are another important aspect of the festival.
      I REALLY do not enjoy sitting at other peoples’ family gatherings, kind and thoughtful though they all are in inviting me, I still feel like the
odd one out (I think I’ve ranted about this before!!) 
 So there I was happily hunkering down and planning some nice scrambled eggs on toast when a very longtime friend called from their car en route to Montreal.
   “You MUST come and have Christmas Dinner with us” he announced……..
 (Now you need a little background here. I have known this family since I was 6 years old. This friend’s Mum is like another Mum to me and his wife a friend since we were in our teens.They have one daughter who is chronically ill and I am very fond of all of them.)
 “But” I said, “I REALLY prefer to eat at home”
“No, we want you to eat at Mum’s with us, there will just be the 4 of us and you, not a crowd or anything”
        Then of course he added the clincher…..  he told me his daughter wanted me to help her with some new hairstyles AND she wanted my advice on dog breeds as they are thinking of getting a puppy.
      “Couldn’t I just come and visit some other time?”
      “No, we are only staying until Boxing Day”
      What could I do?……. I went.
       You would think such an ungracious guest would not be wanted, but they all welcomed me with open arms. He teased me, his Mum hugged me, they gave me gifts, his daughter and I poured over dog breeds in a magazine and on her new i-pad.  I braided and brushed and styled her hair AND I categorically refused to wear a paper hat from the crackers OR to have my picture taken!!!
        So that was my unexpected Christmas.  It was hard to do, but it was right and I was extremely thankful for the privilege of drawing close to these friends and, I hope, helping, just a little bit, to make a happier evening for their daughter.

On the feast of St. Stephen I welcomed Anna, Charles and Nathanael to High Tea. Anna is our Prayer and Share Brochure editor and has been a part of Day Camps in so many ways:
Team Member and Leader, Games Chapter editor and latterly, several times, Training Day Camp Team Leader. 
I just love Nathanael (age 2) his vocabulary is amazing and many of his remarks are priceless so we had a very pleasant evening, with much laughter.

 Then on Thursday the storm hit, and I also stuffed and cooked my friends’ turkey. They ended up postponing their dinner until yesterday but by the time I found out the turkey was already in the oven!

 Everything worked out in the end. I roasted the bird and then removed the stuffing to a casserole and refrigerated everything. Last evening they carved the turkey and reheated the meat in the juices, and nuked the stuffing. When she dropped off the empty dishes today, my friend said everyone really enjoyed it and also the frozen peppermint cheesecake I had made for them!!

       After the misery of  the storm, yesterday and today have, at least been bright and sunny, which is a mitigating feature when one is spending several hours outside
trying to deal with 5ft high drifts!

And so “Christmas 1” is upon us tomorrow.

I shall close with my Crumpet recipe; I’ve been making
scores of them with all the High Teas in the last few weeks. They toast on the fire most successfully (but if you are wimpy, they also work in a conventional toaster, even if that method lacks caché!!)                                              


Tea Time Crumpets

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. bread yeast
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt     
  • In a large bowl stir together the flour, yeast, sugar and water until smooth, set aside in a warm place, for 20mins. Add ½ cup milk, soda, salt and remaining flour. Beat together to form a thick batter.Heat a griddle or cast iron frying pan over medium het. Grease lightly. Drop 3 tbsps. of batter onto the heated pan, placing about 4 crumpets in the skillet. Try to keep them as round and uniform as possible.
    Cook for 8-10 mins until bubbles appear on the top and the
top is firm to the touch. Flip and cook for another 5 mins, until both sides are lightly browned. 
Repeat with remaining batter. 
Cool crumpets on a rack. Split and toast butter liberally and serve with jam or

Makes 12-16. They freeze well too!

Sunday Thoughts…..

             Would you believe we had another 5cms of snow last night!! 
I had to shovel for an hour this afternoon which was pretty annoying after the marathon of the last few days.

          This morning I was blessed  with a ride to Church after some neighbours saw me waiting for the bus.They were driving in the same direction and very kindly took me all the way to St. Stephen’s. 

         There was a small turn out at Church as travel within the city is still hard going. I must admit I was pretty disappointed that we did not sing any carols today. I had been sorely tempted to stay at home and shovel this morning so as I trudged home through the drifts in -10C weather with a strong wind, I tried to reflect on what I had gained from the Service. 

         Since it was the last Sunday of the year, I did really feel I needed to make the effort and go, but some weeks, honestly, it is very hard not to miss the Church and Church family of which I was truly a part for most of my life.

  So I have been satisfying my desire for the music of Christmas with a lovely Service of Lessons and Carols from Kings College, with which I will leave you... 


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