Monday, 24 December 2007

lunch for eleven.

It started well. Thanks to last night's cleaning binge, I had a good set of clear surfaces to work with. I had planned how to squeeze the dining table into the playroom, how to move the girls' chairs from there into the sunroom, what I'd need to cook and when.

And then Bob turned up. Possibly the only builder on the planet to be working on Christmas Eve. OK, they use the sunroom as their workroom, so no chance of moving furniture there. They need to walk through the playroom to get water for the cement, cups of tea, to and from the van. So no chance of having a leisurely meal there either. Rethink. Everyone who is coming for lunch is staying with my parents, should we cook the meal and then bring it to them and eat there? Excellent thought, except that Mog's birth family were planning to collect her from here at some point around lunchtime, dropping her back again some time later on. So, we needed to be here.

No problem, the cleaner has also arrived and together we move furniture around in the sitting room (I'm aware listing all these rooms makes it sound as though we live in a palace, we really don't!) to make space for the table there. Judicious moving of the piano stool means two people can share it, if one of them is a small child, which means we now officially have enough seating for everyone. Excellent.

Right, onto cooking. Lasagne sauce mulls beautifully. I have garlic and butter for the garlic bread, I have salad in the fridge. It's time to layer the lasagne and at this point I realise I have only half a dozen sheets of it, not really enough for eleven of us. I call home, and ten minutes later my baby brother turns up with a big box of it. Marvellous. Lasagne is in the oven, garlic bread all prepared, and I ask my brother to double check we have enough icecream in the freezer. He informs me we have barely half a tub. Ooops.

No problem, I still have those sixteen boxes of apple sauce, we make Swedish Apple Charlotte to eke out the icecream. Family arrives, we chat, we eat nuts, we have the meal. It is as I am removing the "barely half a tub" of icecream from the freezer that I discover the second, larger, tub which was apparently invisible to my brother. Oh well. Apple Charlotte is always nice.

Next mission is to keep my Grandmother and Great Aunt out of the kitchen as we clear up. They are on a competitive tidying binge, which would be lovely except that they are both now very slow. So we keep them occupied pouring coffee and do a lightning fast loading of the dishwasher instead.

A good day, probably very boring to read about. We are now all ready for tomorrow; Little Fish is fast asleep, Mog is in pyjamas sitting opposite me and grinning, the house is tidy once more and Mum is coming over in the morning to help me get the girls ready for Church.

I just figured out why it feels odd to be sitting here at this time of the evening with nothing left to do to get ready for tomorrow, even though our day tomorrow will be spent at my parents' house. The reason is of course that normally at this point in the evening I am getting myself ready for the drive to Goldy's Grandparents, to collect her from their Christmas (on the 24th) and bring her home to fall into bed before celebrating our Christmas all over again in the morning. I'm sure you're celebrating anyway, Goldy, but it isn't the same without you here.

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