So far, I have to say, the omens for Christmas in the Ling household are looking good on a number of fronts.
- The brother who was snowed in at Heathrow has escaped the icy clutches of the U.K. just in time, and will arrive in Sydney on Christmas Eve.
- The constant rain forecast for the Sydney summer has yet to materialize, which gives an extra frisson of pleasure to every sunny day.
- The dog, overcome by having so many people constantly around the house, has been extraordinarily well-behaved, apart from an interesting episode where he vomited under the table during a meal with my parents.
- Husband has just rung to ask what shoe size I am—this is a considerable improvement on last year’s last-minute panic where he wanted to know the website address for a kitchen equipment supplier and also wondered what size I would be in a full-length body stocking. I had images of receiving the kind of outfit the Playmate of the Month might wear to whip up a soufflé—a type of bunny boiler so to speak.
- The Economist magazine this week has banner headline, “The joy of growing old (or: why life begins at forty-six)”, that I think I might frame and adopt for my motto for the year. I’m feeling remarkably smug at being endorsed in advance as it were by such a weighty tome.
- Mercifully, the twenty-two two-dollar shops I have tried have all sold out of furry reindeer antlers for the car and accompanying red nose. I already feel fairly conspicuous at the wheel of a large lime green car without adding on the Christmas trimmings.
- I saw a sign yesterday that I feel should be a pointer to an excellent Christmas season ahead. It advertised a “Chocolate and Health Café”—obviously catering to all tastes—and perfectly fitting my own philosophy. I have tried the no-chocolate route, but to be honest, I find a day without a Freddo, the small chocolate frog beloved by Australian children, and indeed adult expat imports, is a boring and bland day.
- We have managed to reach family agreement on a suitable compromise for a Christmas meal in the heat, incorporating both traditional turkey plus tuna tartar, oysters, prawns, roast potatoes, an avocado salad, Christmas pudding, and Christmas ice-cream cake. The menu is quite enough to ensure that all participants are lying flat on their backs at end of the day, groaning gently. The only downside of this take-a-little-of-what-you-fancy approach is that Delia Smith fails to map out the whole thing, which as I am the type of cook who follows the recipe with furrowed brow, is obviously going to cause problems. But hey, how far wrong can you go with an avocado for heaven’s sake?
Merry Christmas—wherever you may be—and good luck with the avocados.