Sunday, 30 December 2018

Celebration styles!

As New Year’s Eve approaches I came across this headline in today’s newspaper:-

        German police seize 850kg of fireworks from Hamburg home.

The occupant of the house was 23 years old. Young enough still to enjoy a good display of pyrotechnics I suppose. What did he plan to do though? Blow up his whole street?

Thinking back to the days when my father insisted that any fireworks we bought ready for November 5th, Bonfire Night, had to be kept in a securely sealed tin box, I wonder how the young man from Hamburg intended to ensure that his fireworks were not set off prematurely.

Back when my father was being so obsessively cautious, of course, the only time of the year you could buy fireworks was in the run-up to Guy Fawkes Night. Nobody had fireworks for their birthday parties or weddings; at any rate nobody in our social circle.

And fireworks for New Year’s Eve only came into fashion on Millennium Eve when everyone went bonkers celebrating the end if the 20th century. That night, turning 1999 into the year 2000, it was crisp and cold and clear. We had a fine view of fireworks all over the area. The last few years it has been damp and dull on New Year’s Eve. The fireworks have been something of a damp squib.

I suspect tomorrow evening will be much the same. We’ll just have to make our own sparkly with some bottles of fizz! We can do that!

Today we are having a day of calm and quiet, interspersed with frugal meals. Most of the last week has been a round of rich meals, corks popping from bottles of fizz, and more sedate wines to drink with the food.

Our grandson contributed a tiny Christmas cake which he made at school in Food Tech(nology). This subject was once called Home Ec(onomics) and before that just Cookery. New-fangled labels. The cake was not bad. We assume he made it himself but our daughter tells us that it originally had a label saying “To Matt from Seth”. Seth, Matt’s best friend, took home a cake labelled “To Seth from Matt”. I am assured that this was their idea of a Christmas joke but it could well be that they did indeed exchange cakes!

Our eldest granddaughter contributed her left-over sprouts with chestnuts on the day after Boxing Day, mostly so that we could see how well she had followed the recipe she borrowed from me.

This morning our son and his gang went back home to Buckinghamshire, managing to leave behind only a bag of books and chocolate, given to his small daughter by his uncle, and one small bead from a jewellery-making set. This is an improvement on the last visit, when he left behind a pair of trainers.

I have ventured out into the dull and damp outdoors today to purchase the ingredients for my contribution to the New Year’s Eve meal at a friend’s house. We began this regular celebration on Millennium Eve, which was her husband’s 50th birthday and have kept it up ever since. He always did the cooking and since he died, several years ago now, we continue to celebrate his birthday but share the preparation of the food. Around here this is known as a “Jacob’s Join”. I have hunted on the internet for the origin of this name. The only conclusion that my research has thrown up is that nobody has any idea why it is so called!

And that will put an end to my cooking frenzy for a while!

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