Seasonal gifts, shit card, Christmas cake

There’s a 12ft chanukiah on Gants Hill roundabout.

Received: Perles de Lalique from Matty, as well as books by Anthony Crosland, Colin Thubron and a dummy guide to SLR photography (having a spot of bother with f-stops and shutter speed (not to mention light metering – in fact exposure generally). Champagne, a Camping and Caravaning Club book, millet for 15 Africans for a year, candle and candlestick, a faux-Tiffany lamp, chocolate, chocolate, soap, an ironing board cover, Field Music, and some other stuff. No jewellery this time, everyone seems to have got the message. All the same a proportion of it is in the charity shop. £100 from Mum and Dad for my birthday. Christmas was alright, pretty funny. Got quite cranky towards the end. Doesn’t feel right having Christmas, but it makes everybody happy. Dad liked his birthday present camera and seems quite capable of using it.

Picked up my 2Gb Lexar card from Mum whom we got an MP3 player instead. The effing card only works through Palm Quick Install, which isn’t. Neither Matt’s nor our laptop can talk to it. It’s a replacement too. In order to use it I have to set up a custom HotSynch or strange things are liable to happen. Custom HotSynch takes a while to set up. I lost it in fact because I had to log out / log in to get HotSynch to work. Now it’s having trouble with The Clash.

The Christmas cake recipe from the Readers’ Digest Cookery Year works in my 8 inch tin – egg replacer as directed and a couple of bananas. Less time than suggested though, less marzipan and more brandy. The royal icing wasn’t really a great success. I used Orgran No Egg and lemon juice to make it as stiff as I could but although it has a thin crust it’s more like fondant on the inside. Matt and Brian like it. I think it’s fine.

One neighbour gave us Ferrero Rocher, wine and her customary blessing. The other side gave us Elizabeth Shaw. I’d given the first lot some of my cranberry sauce because they’re always plying us with gifts, and the other side a card.

Tomorrow we pick up Brian and head for Craven Arms. Plan to paraglide.

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