Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Five Tips for a Merry Christmas

I love Christmas but, as a heavenly host of TV chefs are fond of telling us, a little bit of preparation can make the holiday so much more enjoyable. So here are my top five tips for Christmas 2014:

1) While the devil makes his Christmas pie from lawyers tongues and clerk’s fingers (according to my book on ye olde business lore), I prefer pork. A reduced stock made from boiled pigs’ trotters makes a tasty jelly which will help to preserve the pie for a good week – although there’s not usually much left after breakfast on Christmas morning.

2) If you’ve made your pie and ordered your turkey, you might just have a little bit of space left in the fridge for some sweet Morcambe Bay Potted Shrimps – order them now from, the last day for dispatch is Monday 22nd December. While you’re about it you can order your Christmas pudding from The Cartmel Village Shop website – I couldn’t choose, so we’ve got Sticky Toffee Pudding, Sticky Figgy Pudding and the Cartmel Christmas Pudding. No danger of losing weight this month. 

3) If you’re spending yuletide with one or more girls aged under ten, then you need to know about the Disney Frozen Princesses: Elsa & Anna. If you haven’t bought the dolls yet then you’re probably too late and you’d better start praying that someone else has. Asda are selling a cardboard model of the Frozen Ice Palace (on offer at £16.97 – yes it really is made of cardboard) with a fiendishly awkward set of instructions. Requiring at least one cup of coffee and no more than two units of alcohol, the optimum time to tackle construction will be between 5.55am and 6.35am on Christmas morning. 

4) Look up the times of Church services well in advance, it’s always embarrassing to walk in half way through communion – especially if you’ve rushed your breakfast and dribbled pork jelly down your new Christmas jumper. At Cartmel Priory there is a service of nine lessons and carols at 6.30pm on Tuesday 23rd December, Christmas Eve services at 5.30pm and 11.30pm and Christmas Day services at 8.00am and 10.15am. 

5) Make sure that all your guests have gone by noon on Boxing Day so that you can settle down and enjoy the coverage of the racing from Kempton – unless of course you’re planning on attending one of the race-meetings at Wetherby, Huntingdon, Market Rasen, Towcester, Fontwell Park, Kempton, Wincanton, Sedgefield or Wolverhampton. I’ll be rooting for Wishfull Thinking in the King George VI Chase, unless he’s a non-runner in which case the race will be won by Champagne Fever.

...But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, because this week’s selection is Activial – running at Ascot on Saturday.

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