Christmas starts for me when we put up our tree. The glorious aroma of pine fills the room, and the twinkling lights bring out the child in me!
When I was growing up, in a small house, with four brothers, there was tremendous excitement when my Dad came home with the tree strapped to the top of his Ford 8! An old brown suitcase appeared, filled with paper chains, lights (all bulbs had to be tested) and of course, the angel for the top of the tree.
By the following morning, the ceiling was completely obscured by a criss-cross of multi-coloured paper chains, balloons, and the obligatory sprig of mistletoe in the hall, close to the front door.
Soon after, there was the trip up to Regent Street, to see the Christmas lights, crammed into the Ford,(it’s number plate would be worth a few quid today; BS1600!)
Christmas Eve, a glass of sherry and a couple of mince pies were placed on the hearth, and by the time my younger brothers performed this task, I was joking with my father that Santa would be Brahms and Liszt after delivering to our street alone!
Lunch was also my Dad’s domain. The turkey, weighing in at around 15 pounds, would be stuffed, tied, and put in the oven overnight! When I relate this story now, I often muse, that he could have just banged the table when bringing the beast in, and the meat would just fall off the carcass!
This year, in our new home, certain of the traditions will continue, and on Christmas morning, festive music in the background, and wearing my Christmas jumper, I will ponder the yuletide of yore.
However, time has moved on, on the culinary front, I will be serving turkey to my guests, with moist breast, and well- cooked leg, sprouts not boiled to death, but green with a slight crunch! And Christmas pudding, made to my adaptation of the old Savoy recipe!
Christmas at Carlton Court, Torquay: