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... is really the only word for it.  Cold outside, and it keeps drizzling with rain, and I seem to have done things every night last week to the point where I just curled up next to the fire for the whole weekend.

Well, almost.  There was the tree to put up, and a mad search for another gang plug so that we could have white and coloured lights on the tree (I managed to break the first two sets of 100 bulb white lights as I was putting them up, which left one sad little string of 50 bulbs working. That only covered about half the little 4ft tree, so the extra long string of coloured lights had to be be found a plug socket to fill in the gaps.  Convoluted, methinks...)

It looks pretty now, anyhoo.  Just the outside lights to go up at some point (not my responsibility, phew) and it would be nice to drape the little red cranberry lights up somewhere, but it's not looking very practical at the mo.  I've only had to rescue three baubles from the Demon Doodle Dog so far (he likes the big red/gold harlequin ones, apparently), as Kitten restricts herself to snagging things from the tree and chucking them on the floor (where the dog finds them. I'm starting to think they have a tag-team thing going on here.).  She's still completely agoraphobic, which means she's stuck in neurotic baby mode for a while longer and needs to be constantly amused.  I miss her being all grown-up and staying out all night playing with the foxes next door, even if that did entail 4am crying outside the back door. *sigh*

Ack.  Thursday night was our annual Grinch and eggnogg and present wrapping night, but it didn't start all that well.  Five minutes after I left, I noticed the car in front swerve and had to slam on my brakes and hazards when I realised there was a little white dog lying in the road. 

Read more... )

Friday night was what they usually call the Frost Fair down on the South Bank, although this year they actually ditched all the historical 'Frost Fair revival' schtick and started calling it the Winter Fair.  Not as much going on this year, by the time I got down there (the huskies had gone home for the night!) but it was pleasant enough.  We walked further down to the Festival Hall to catch the Cologne Christmas market, which was fun - Dutch pancakes and cutesy wooden ornaments and a carousel right out of Mary Poppins (of course we went on it!) so I proceeded to spend far more cash then I intended... Oops!

Today was.. constructive.  The bathroom is clean, the pickled onions are currently having a pre-pickling soak in salt, and a big vat of Nigella's Butternut and Sweet Potato Soup is sitting on the stove.  I maybe should have checked the veg a bit sooner while they were roasting so as to avoid quite so many burnt bits, but hey... tasted good enough to have for dinner with stilton crumbled on top. Nom!

So I managed to watch the repeat of the finale of Devil's Whore, Persuasion (the replacement dvd arrived, yay!), the Strictly semi-final (yay, actually pretty damn glad their mathematics went wonky as the judges were being mean to poor Tom) which has caused much upset from strange people who apparently don't want to see all the cool dancers do the final next week, then caught up on the last three eps of Prison Break (lordy, just realised there are so few series left to ship anymore, as Sarah and Michael are breaking my little heart and this series is playing out so well).  Tonight was... the big shock eps of Eastenders, which even I had to watch after all the drama this week, then the bits of Merlin I missed from last night (surprisingly, this has been a fairly respectable effort all round, although they are seriously just playing into the idea of Merlin/Arthur slash in some of the scenes from the final ep, and I am never going to buy into this Arthur/Guinevere in a million years.  Sorry guys, but they have zero chemistry - Gwen/Merlin are quite sweet, as they're both Rather Nice People, and the battling Arthur/Morgana were always fun, although Morgana is seriously vindictive/crazy/psychic enough for this to end Very Badly.

To end with a complete contrast, I finally watched Elf (awwww! And Zooey Deschanel as a blonde!) and then the final Wallander...  Very impressed with the three Henning Mankel adaptations they had, and an intriguing way of adapting foreign language detective fiction to TV.  Still identifiably Swedish -- all the writing was in Swedish, and they filmed on location in Ystad like the Swedish language adaptations did -- but acted in English with English accents, so they find ways of translating any vital written Swedish to being incorporated in the English dialogue so you don't miss anything.  Elegant, harrowing and very grown-up, it's a complete mystery why playing grey and rumpled makes Kenneth Branagh quite so adorable, but my god it does...

Lordy, it's late, and my hands absolutely still reek of onions after hours peeling for the pickling... off to find the scrubbing brush!

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Jennifer Howell

July 2015

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