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First of all…

December 29, 2016

I’d just like to give the finger to 2016.  Bloody awful year.

There have been too many premature deaths, from celebrities to children in Syria, or should that be the other way round?  Politics has taken a bizarre and scary turn to the right.  Trump will be president of the USA.  A new word has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, post-truth.  It looks like two words to me, but since facts don’t matter and experts are the new unwashed, who cares?

So, anyway, I had a lovely Christmas, how was yours?  And before Christmas, in a daring move towards dammit, it’s my one and only life and the world has gone mad so better make hay etc, I went to Barcelona for four nights with my beloved.  It also helped that the flights there and back for two of us cost under £100.  The misery and guilt in helping tip the world toward it’s demise by flying on easyjet was balanced by the afore mentioned ‘dammit…’ (partially anyway).

Here are some photos for you to look at.

There are of course dozens more pictures, and I could go on and on about what a glorious city Barcelona is (it is), talk about their weird custom of having models of shepherds defecating in their Christmas nativity scenes, the ease with which you can eat for very little money, mostly good, sometimes seriously mediocre food, the entrancing beauty of the architecture, the obvious lack of funds for maintaining much of it, the poverty and the wealth, the bonkers and delightful hotel we stayed in, the little shops dedicated to just one thing (e.g. slippers), the charm of the people and the fact that Russell is now going to learn Spanish so we can go back there and all over Spain (and to visit Azahar of course!) with the ease of a native (kinda).

So, there was that.

Then Christmas spent in Somerset with a branch and some twigs of the extended family, about 15 all told.  I volunteered to cook (it’s my way of keeping focussed and in control of my control freakery), although it was definitely a 50/50 split in the end with my sister Sue (I was turkey, she was beef) and helped by many elves, tall and short.

oyster shuckers

oyster shuckers

Menu

Oysters (natch)

Prawn cocktail

Smoked salmon

Serrano ham

Roast rib of local, organic beef with mustard rub

Boned, rolled*  local organic turkey stuffed with sausage meat, parma ham and truffles

Tricoleur of carrots, sprouts & celeriac

Green salad

Roast potatoes 

Christmas pud, brandy butter, cream

Negroni jelly.

Yes, we are middle class and we do eat a lot, soz.  It was over about five hours though, with giggling concerts from small girls to aid digestion, some very damn fine wines brought by a non-family guest from the cellars of one of the colleges at Oxford University (don’t ask me which one or how he had access to them, Aunty Lizzie had been on the parsnip wine for most of the day, though not singing songs about bleeding hearts and death luckily) and by golly  it was delicious and one of the bottles had the date, 2004, embossed into the glass.

Boxing day brought us back to Bristol, with the lesser-spotted son and his kitten.  A more unlikely pairing would have been hard to think of a few months back, but Spooky, who does star jumps and loves sellotape, has become part of the family now, and he and his Person are a very good team.

Spooky, part of the family.

There I will leave it for now.  One of my new year resolutions will be to do more of this.  Writing.

May 2017 bring some peace and hope to this world,  mine, yours, theirs.  May Trump get lost at sea never to be found and Mike Pence put in the docks and have rotten cabbages thrown at him forever.  May Farage overdose on real ale and go and live in the gutter.  May May see sense and rescue the NHS and our trains.  May Syria find some peace and it’s people be allowed to return to their homes to live their lives and bury their dead.  May Putin fall off his horse, bang his head and wake realising what a complete arse he is and be very apologetic and make amends to everyone he has ever harmed.   May the Women’s March on Washington be without violence or negative incident.  May the Women’s March on London be likewise.  Who’s coming??

Over and out. xx

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