Food House sitting Life with us Retirement

Christmas is coming……

We are 8 weeks away from Christmas and some in the family have already tuned in to calling me the Christmas fairy! Normally about now I’d be not so subtly reminding our children that At Christmas all roads lead home ,,,however given that Gordon and I are absconding this Christmas to the deep South I’m skipping that quiet word in each ear. We’re off to enjoy the pre & post Christmas fun with young Lachie (Grandchild No. 5) while his parents work solidly on the orchard getting New Zealand’s best cherries out to you lot. So for all of you who normally enjoy my cherries along with me (that Rach & Tim box up & lovingly courier to us- with the proviso mind that I reciprocate with a a box of my Christmas baking) you’re out of luck this year – I’m going to the source and plan to feast to my hearts content, fresh from the trees.

I’ve been  cruising the Trusted Housesitters site with the idea that one year we would like to experience a white Christmas! Don’t get me wrong I love barbeques on the beach, breakfasts of ham, Camembert & cranberry croissants & sparkling wine under the sun umbrella in the backyard, but it saddens me too that by the time the sun goes down and the candles can take affect or the lights come on in my garden lovingly  draped with Xmas garlands – we’ve all long headed for our beds. It’s exciting to see that sooo many in Europe also desire to take the road home at Christmas, leaving behind  the picture postcard white Christmas we’ve grown up dreaming about or only experienced second hand through movies , & need someone to care for their fur babies. Every day the site offers a chance to housesit in quaint French stone farmhouses set in cozy hamlets or the opportunity to try dog-sledding in tradition-conscious villages in Italy……2020 and retirement –  when we plan to take up these offers –  suddenly feels a long way away. One day Roger Fitch!!

I fast track my thoughts back to NZ & by the delicious aroma wafting from the kitchen area,  to my baking that needs to come out of the oven. I’ve tried a new recipe this year that so needs to go in my next recipe book – I’m calling it Xmas biscotti. Not a true biscotti, more fruit bread (made with egg whites, crystallised ginger &  pineapple, walnuts, red & green cherries) then sliced thinly and re baked – hence the biscotti texture – yummmm. Gordon is on to his 2nd cup of coffee, happily devouring the off-cuts as he watches the formula One (still in bed at 10am). In a score out of 10 he gives it a ” I’ll eat the lot – we’re not sharing this”.

We have a tradition in our house that stems from the teen years. Like all homes the world over, Xmas left overs cram the fridge for days afterwards. When Gordon joined our fold he soon learned that not much survived past 4 growing teens, he started labelling the leftovers he particularly enjoyed, with Gordon’s or mine please leave. He was naive enough to believe the goodies would still be there in the morning. The empty plates he found gracing the fridge shelves were often left with a similar note reading too late or not any more or one even read Tasted good see why you wanted it! While Lachie is only 2, it’s our first Christmas with him, so a good opportunity to introduce him to this family tradition. Grandpa hasn’t got a show!

As we have 7 children between us, I need to start my baking early so I have enough for each with their families to enjoy ( 2 are overseas this year – both the youngest from each of our families – & sadly have to miss out) , some to share with friends & to  wrap as small gifts of delight. I’ve just taken the last tray of Xmas biscotti from the oven and Gordon has found the heat seal to bag them & keep them airtight. We’ve only just embarked down the long road of truffle making completing the rum truffles & mint truffles…a few more flavours to go yet so I’m off to carry on before this long weekend opportunity passes me by.




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