On Christmas Eve Anne was still recovering somewhat from a minor illness but she got over to my place in reasonable shape. I had our usual Christmas eve food -- French cutlets -- ready to cook and Anne cooked them nicely. They were rather thicker than usual so I ate only four of them, which is well down for me. I made my usual salad to go with them and added some pickled onions to it. Anne LOVES pickled onions but they are bad for her (reactions) so I put in only two for each of us. Putting two strong tastes -- vinegar and onions -- together gives a very strong taste indeed.
It reminded me of when Jenny made seafood paella, Maureen would always have some even though she was allergic to the seafood in it. I remember her once telling me about her reaction the day after -- adding "But it was worth it". Apparently it's common for people to really like what they are allergic to.
Christmas day was a bit unusual. Jenny had gone to the trouble of having four kids but not one was in town to celebrate Christmas with her. And Anne's three kids were away too. So Anne had her Christmas lunch with some old friends with whom she has had Christmases before and I went to Jenny's place.
It's interesting that Jenny's kids have gone to opposite ends of the earth, Scotland and New Zealand. And yet both are completely at home -- speaking their native language freely and understanding how things are done in their new country. It's because we are the descendants of brave British people -- seafarers and settlers who went to the ends of the earth despite the ever-present risk of death in their fragile little wooden ships. So many places on the planet are now home to us.
So there were only three of us at lunch -- Jenny, myself and Nanna. Nanna was in good form however, depite her 93 years, so it was quite a jolly occasion.
And the opening of the presents had a real highlight -- a sturdy cardboard box all the way from Scotland. Scotland has always had a place in my heart so presents from Scotland was really special to me. It was of course from Paul and Susan. It contained cups with artwork on them done by the kids and some excellent photos of them. I reproduce below the one of Primrose. She seems a great kid so I am looking forward to meeting her one day.
As she always does, Jenny went to great trouble with the dinner -- ham, roast chicken and all the trimmings. The ham was particularly good.
And the dessert was remarkable, a big Pavlova, which is one of my favourites. Nanna made it, despite her never before in her 93 years having made one. And it was perfect. I had two helpings.
It was very hot in Brisbane on Christmas day -- around 35 Celsius. So when I got home at about 3pm, I immediately thought of the cats -- cooped up in Joe's flat while he and Kate were away. I thought they might be suffering heat stress. As it happened, they seemed to be OK but they must have been uncomfortable in their little fur coats. Humans are the only animal that can take its coat off. So I closed the verandah door, the front (lattice) doors and opened my door. I thought they would sit in front of the lattice door as the lattice enables full contact with the air outside. With typical cat perversity, they didn't do that however. They were much more interested in wandering around in my apartment.
Anne came over that night and we dined on some of the excellent leftover ham on bread rolls. We do that every year as it's the only time we seem to get first-rate ham.
After dinner we watched a DVD of a rather peculiar French performance -- by a Norman (Rouen-based) opera company -- of Purcell's opera "Dido and Aeneas". There was an awful lot of dancing and prancing and leaping about which added nothing to the story so I won't watch it again. If I want to see acrobatics I will go to a circus. The mezzo who sang Dido -- Vivica Genaux -- was quite a fine looking woman and emoted very strongly. I thought she would have to be French because of that. We British types emote only sparingly. But she was actually born in Alaska! The words were all sung in English as that was -- for once -- the original language.
Anne thought that the visuals detracted too and suggested that we might enjoy it more if we turned the video off and listened to the music only. As Purcell's music is excellent, I might just do that.
After we went to bed there was a lot of wind and heavy rain, which we both enjoyed