Tuesday, December 22, 2015


 I blinked and, as if by magic, Christmas is two sleeps away. Surely to goodness 12 months haven’t passed so quickly. It can’t be possible, but, yes, it is!  

2015 was overwhelmed by a multitude of tragedies causing despair and sadness - in our country and elsewhere. Families torn apart in grief; hearts broken and lives lost by senseless acts of violence.   

Why are people so angry? Why do humans want to hurt other humans?  Why do some despicable humans hurt innocent, helpless little children?  

Why is there cruelty to animals?

Hate, stupidity, impatience and violence abounds – why?  

Why do some feel they have the need to force their beliefs, religious or otherwise down the throats of others? 

Why is there such a lack of respect for one’s fellowman?  Why is there such a lack of respect of the property of others? 

If past events are any indication things don’t appear to bode well for 2016 and thereafter. No matter where we look, here in our own country; in the cities, suburbs and regional areas, and overseas, as well, humans are hell-bent on wanting to harm each other – one way or the other. It won’t be a quick and easy fix.  

Many, recklessly without consideration for their own welfare or for that of others are eager to take an easy fix to get a quick, artificial, chemically-enhanced high; meanwhile, uninvolved bystanders suffer the consequences.

Until humans wake up to themselves the downs will be the morbid soundtrack accompanying our existence and that of future generations.

There is no dashing, handsome fairytale prince waiting in the wings ready to plant a kiss the cheeks of all those sorry excuses for human beings who perpetrate heinous crimes; no kiss to wake them up from their idiotic behaviour.  

Imagine if there was a “happily ever after”! 

Nowadays too many people are roaming about with no understanding of “peace, love, harmony, kindliness, happiness”.  

It starts in the home.  It's time for parents to take responsibility for the behaviour of their children...teach your children well....

It’s time to calm down folks!  Get a grip!  Start acting responsibly Stop acting like bloody idiots.

Oh! Stuff the gloom and doom! Let’s be buoyant; let’s float far above the quagmire.

We’ll spread benevolence not malevolence.

It’s the Festive Season! Let us laugh, sing and dance a jig or two. We’ll scatter goodwill far and wide while having a pile of fun doing so.

Let’s never cease to experience pleasure when witnessing happiness and excitement on the eager faces of children; rejoice in the joy of hearing their laughter. Let’s encourage their innocent, optimistic expectations.

May we forever be in awe of Nature’s beauty, and always be protective of the wondrous gifts it bestows.

Let’s give a carefree cheer of thanks for the good things in life; and to the good people; to those we know and to those we don't know.

I enthusiastically salute everyone I’m grateful to have in my life.  My thanks go to those who generously shared their smiles and thoughts with me throughout 2015 - friends and strangers alike!  

I thank my blogging friends...thank you for your visits and your comments.  I do appreciate your friendship.  It is a fact we may never meet in the “real” world, but we do regularly gather on common ground...our blogs...and some of us have done so for years.  I hope our online friendships continue.

You are probably thinking I sound like I’m giving an acceptance speech at the Oscars, but the thanks I extend are sincere, from my heart. This is not a speech filled with trite platitudes; instead, it’s a bright expression of gratitude.

For me one of the most memorable highlights of this year was having the good fortune to be at my local supermarket early one Saturday morning at the same time the exuberant moppet Poppy, her baby brother and their fine-looking young father were there; a heartwarming vignette that has remained etched in my mind. 

My thanks to the pleasant, helpful local traders with whom I’ve dealt in 2015 here on this mountain upon which I’ve made my home since 2002 . Some probably feel they deserve a medal having had to deal with me!  

Shopping here on the hill is always fun. I love the village atmosphere that surrounds we fortunate hillbillies.  (I can't yodel, so I will spare you the pain)!

If anyone needs their battery recharged, forgo the massage or detox...Chris at Spare Parts Auto is an expert at kicking you into gear. His ready smiles while doing so are in the line of duty.  He and I enjoy similar TV shows...crime shows like “In the Line of Duty”. The occasions I visit his store we spend more time discussing the show (and others like it) than it takes for him to fit a new battery!  It’s just as well he doesn’t charge by the hour - it would make one's hair stand on end!

Jonathan, our Local Fisho, a lovely young family man, has the best salmon fillets this side of New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds.  He just whistles and the salmon swim across The Ditch; then they swim uphill to the mountain...and land on my plate!

I always have a lark when doing my grocery shopping; I also often grab a barbecued chicken with its parson’s nose definitely intact!

The local Supa IGA staff is to blame for my larking. David, the giant slayer does his best to keep them under control. It’s a huge responsibility for one alone to bear. Mostly he manages to succeed. I won’t dob unless threatened with a six-pack lamb rack!

I’ve not met a Scrooge or a Grinch amongst the folk whose paths I crossed or whose doorways I stepped through in 2015.  

Well, maybe I’ve had the misfortune to stumble across a couple...such as the woman this morning when I was out doing a bit of grocery shopping.  There is always one once in a while to spoil the show!  On the grander scheme of things, the humourless “Scrooges” and “Grinches” are in the minority, thank goodness!

Without me going further, I think you probably have gotten the picture. 

However, please bear with me...I will go a step or more further because what occurred this morning is worth relating, I think.  If you don’t agree you can skip of this next part – I’ll be none the wiser.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ll talk to all and sundry when I’m out shopping. I smile at those who look me in the eye when passing. I’ll even smile at those who may be looking at my nose (not that my nose is a prominent nose).  If they’re looking elsewhere on my being I’ll give them a wake-up-to-yourself slap!

A cheerful smile and a friendly word or two cost nothing. 

When exiting the supermarket this morning in a car near where I was walking was a Shar Pei.  The car window was fully down. I’ve seen this particular dog a few times before when his master has been shopping at a similar time to me; and it’s owner and I have, a couple of times, exchanged pleasantries. 

The dog was sitting on the driver’s seat waiting expectantly, so I paused and had a chat with him. We discussed the weather and what Santa was bringing him for Christmas. He enjoyed our discourse...for him it broke the monotony of waiting.

A woman was walking towards where I was passing the time of day with my four-legged acquaintance. The woman bore a slightly quizzical look on her face; a look with a touch of disdain tossed in for good measure. It was clear she didn’t understand (or approve) why someone would be standing having a conversation with a dog.  I think she could’ve been considering telephoning the fellows in white jackets!

As she neared, I smiled at her and said, “I was just having a chat with the dog.  Isn’t he a lovely old fellow?”

The rather stony look on the woman’s face didn’t alter as she grunted, “Yeah...” as she passed...widening her berth while doing so.  Almost indiscernible to the normal naked eye I’m sure she increased her pace as she headed for the store’s entrance.   I think her left cheek – on her face – began to twitch ever so slightly.  Perhaps she feared I was contagious.  

Life must be extremely boring for some people.

Still smiling (from the conversation I’d had with the Shar Pei, not from the grumpy, snobbish woman - I hate snobs), I continued on to where my car was parked, wondering why some people are so dour. 

Having just finished loading my purchases into the boot of my car, I glanced across to a see a young lad sitting in a car one space across from mine.  He gave me a beaming smile, to which I happily responded in kind.  The lad was probably around 13 or 14 years of age. 

Smiling, I said to him, “What’s Santa bringing you for Christmas?”

He pointed to a young dog sitting in his lap.  I walked across to the car.

“Oh! Isn’t he beautiful! Did you get him for Christmas?” I asked. The dog, a mutt of an indiscriminate blend had a look of sheer contentment on its face.

“Yes,” the young man replied.  The smile across his fresh, youthful face was the width of the Great Australian Bight.  His eyes sparkled and danced.

“What’s his name?  He’s a lovely fellow; a very lucky fellow he is, too!  I bet he knows how lucky he is; and I'm sure he's very grateful! ” I continued.

“Ned”.  The young lad kept stroking his new mate’s head as we spoke. 

Ned, the dog was lapping up the attention, the affection he was receiving. He had a look of pure contentment on his face; as did his young master.  I wish I’d captured their faces on camera...but the picture is captured in my heart and in my mind.

“Was he a rescue dog?” I asked.  I received a reply in the affirmative.

“Good on you!  He’s a beautiful dog.  And one very lucky dog - aren't you, Ned?.  Merry Christmas to you and Ned!  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!”

The lad, his smile still lighting up his bonny face, returned my Christmas greetings with thanks, and then we bade each other farewell.  As I pulled out from where I’d parked, the boy and I exchanged waves and more smiles.

The young fellow and his new pet made up for the sourness of the woman who had crossed my path those few minutes earlier.  The poor woman - she obviously lacks the joie de vivre gene - she doesn’t know what she’s missing out on.  Perhaps Santa can do a detour and drop some off to her as he passes by on Christmas Eve..

Driving home I couldn’t stop smiling. My heart felt happy, light and full of warmth; caused by the brief interlude chatting with the lad, his dog, and the Shar Pei. 

And that, my friends, in my opinion, is what the Christmas spirit is all about.

We’re a lucky mob; we live in a beautiful area. Naturally, we all have a whinge now and then, but I hope our gratitude outweighs our whinges.

May happiness, empathy and caring be in abundance through the Festive Season and beyond.  

Allow commonsense, respect, happiness, goodwill and love to prevail. Be kind; be thoughtful; stay safe. Give our men and women in blue, our paramedics/ambos and firefighters a break. Let them enjoy Christmas, too; they deserve it!  

Red Alert! 

Most important of all - let us never forget; let’s always keep it uppermost in our mind...there are more good people in this world than evil-doers.

The clowns and their idiotic actions receive more coverage than those who do good deeds; the decent folk; those who live their lives quietly and positively; those who are moral, benevolent, kind, compassionate and respectful.   We don’t hear a lot about the good people in this wonderful world of ours...that’s because they aren’t braggarts; they are humble, generous and unselfish.

We must always remember good surpasses evil.

Remy, Shama and I will be feasting our way through a bundle of fresh seafood on Christmas Day.  While peeling a prawn or three; cracking the claws on a couple of sand crabs and drooling over delicious Moreton Bay bugs, our best manners will be on display...I hope!  We’ll have our napkins tied securely around our necks.  Our finger and paw bowls will be within easy reach.  I’ve not yet told them, but the oysters are all mine...and mine alone!  They won't kick up a stink, they'll be too busy with the prawns!

Of course, I also have half a leg of ham sitting in my fridge waiting to be attacked; but I probably won’t start the onslaught until Boxing Day. 

The large Christmas fruit cake I made a few weeks ago was topped up with rum yesterday. If I hadn’t securely re-wrapped it I’d be knocked out by the fumes!  I made an extra fruit cake and sent it to Randall, my ex, as part of his Christmas gift.  He loves my fruit cakes.  He said he could smell it coming; also another dead giveaway was - he noticed the postman was staggering a little as he delivered it...affected by the aroma of the rum!

Oh!  The agony!  Oh!  The Ecstasy!

Fruit mince tarts that I didn’t make  (Mr. Balfour made them and others were baked by the local bakery) await my sampling. I lie...I've already sampled a couple....

As if I need it, but on Christmas Eve I will be making a small chocolate and vanilla trifle - smallish...just for me. Remy and Shama don’t eat desserts. I also made a ginger-date-walnut loaf.  They won't eat that, either.

My fruit bowls and platters are bursting at the seams and are groaning under the weight of stone fruit and mangoes; but I ignore the groaning because I’m used to their moaning.  One would think they’d be used to their load by now!  Not to forget the watermelon...watermelon is a must for Christmas!  I'll grab the watermelon and some more cherries when I'm out Christmas Eve morning. However, just because it’s Christmas nothing is new regarding the amount of fruit I always have on hand and in hand!  That situation never changes; similar applies to my supply of raw nuts.

The nutcracker doesn’t make an appearance these days.  It has been years since I’ve seen nuts in their shells (other than peanuts and pistachios. There are a lot of nuts of another kind roaming about...but enough about them for now).   

Gone are the days, the Christmas Days when the nutcracker had pride of place on our decorated Christmas table.  We always decorated our Christmas table on Christmas Eve. Such fun it was!

I hope that sometime over Christmas I do get to watch the ballet “The Nutcracker” on TV.  I love “The Nutcracker Suite”...thank you  Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Naturally, I have a good supply of Licorice Allsorts...Christmas ain’t Christmas without Licorice Allsorts...not in my home, anyway.  Crystallised ginger is a must, too!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!   

Enjoy the Festive Season – enjoy time shared with your loved ones...spend your Christmas the way you want to spend it.  Relax...soak in the atmosphere....

And, remember - best gifts to give and to receive are hugs and smiles.  (It probably is best, though, to keep the hugs for those you know....I’m just saying...)

And a purrrrrr-fect Christmas and New Year to everyone from Remy and Shama!

Cranberry Stuffing: Preheat oven, 200C. Cut 4 slices prosciutto lengthways into 4 pieces. Heat 1tbs olive oil; add ½ red onion, finely chopped and 2 crushed garlic cloves; cook 3-4mins; remove to bowl; add 2-1/2c stale white breadcrumbs, 1/2c chopped dried cranberries, 1 egg, 1tbs chopped sage and 50g melted butter; season; mix well. Shape into 16 balls; wrap 1 slice prosciutto around each ball; place on lined tray; bake 15-20mins.

Merry Cherry Christmas Dessert: Grease, line 6cm-deep, 22cm square cake pan; allow 5cm overhang on all sides. Spoon 2lts choc ice cream into bowl; soften 10mins; stir until smooth; spoon into pan; sprinkle with chopped glacé cherries; cover; freeze 30mins. Spoon 2lts vanilla ice cream into bowl; soften 10mins; stir until smooth; fold in 3 roughly chopped Violet Crumbles; spoon over choc layer; smooth; cover; freeze 30mins. Spoon 2lts choc ice cream in bowl; soften 10mins; fold in 125g roughly chopped Choc Ripple biscuits; spoon over vanilla; freeze overnight. Turn onto plate; decorate with frozen berries or glacé cherries, Maltesers and Violet Crumble pieces.  

Christmas Chocolate Trifle: Grab 2x85g packets of raspberry-flavoured jelly crystals and make as per instructions on packets. Pour jelly into damp pan; chill until set; then turn out onto paper-lined board; cut jelly into cubes. Place 500g sliced strawberries in shallow dish; sprinkle with 1/4c caster sugar; set aside 10mins. Have 250g raspberries on hand, too.  (Aussie frozen raspberries are fine.  You can also use whatever other berries you like...you are allowed to cheat and do it your way...whatever you desire).  Using 2x400g chocolate Swill Roll cakes, sliced 1cm thick, place half the cake slices over base and halfway up side of serving bowl. Spoon 1/3rd each of the strawberries and raspberries over the cake; sprinkle 40ml Frangelico liqueur (hazelnut liqueur) over the fruit and sponge (or strong, sweet coffee if you prefer). Lay half the jelly over the fruit; top with 1-1/2 cups chocolate custard, either homemade or thick store-bought (or half chocolate custard and half vanilla custard). Lay remaining cake slices on top of custard and up the sides of the bowl; top with more fruit; another 40ml Frangelico or coffee, jelly and more custard; cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Just before serving beat 300ml thickened cream (add some icing sugar or caster sugar to the cream if you like) until soft peaks form.  Spoon cream over top of trifle; then top with some more berries; and crumble a chocolate “Flake” bar over top; or preferably, grate some dark chocolate over top.

Hazelnut Shortbread: Toast 1/2c hazelnuts in 175C oven, 5-7mins until fragrant. Cool to room temp; then husky by rubbing a handful between your hands. If some of the skin remains, that’s okay. Place the hazelnuts and 1/4c white sugar in processor; process until finely ground.  Add 3/4c plain flour and a pinch of salt to processor; pulse to combine; add 1/2c cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces; process until dough forms, scraping sides with spatula if necessary; the dough will be soft. On flour-dusted surface, roll dough into 2 logs, each about 1-inch wide. Wrap each log in plastic wrap; place in freezer for 30mins; then in fridge for another 30mins. Preheat oven to 162C (325F).  Slice the logs into thin slices; place slices on baking paper on ungreased baking sheet, about 2-inches apart. Bake 12-15mins; cool on baking sheet for 5mins; then remove and cool on wire rack.  Using sifter, sprinkle the shortbread with icing sugar.

Shorty Shortbread: Process softened 250g unsalted butter, 2/3rd cup pure icing sugar, 2c plain flour, 1c rice flour in food processor until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Press mixture together until it forms a dough; divide dough in two. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper until 5mm thick.  Using biscuit/cookie shaped cutter, cut shapes from dough. Transfer to prepared trays. Sprinkle with caster sugar, if desired. Bake at 160C for 30mins or until dry and firm, but still pale. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Left-over Christmas Ham & Potato Rosti: Preheat oven, 180C. Peel and grate 600g Desiree potatoes; then place in strainer; squeeze out excess liquid. Transfer to bow; combine with 1 thinly sliced onion, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 300g sliced leg ham, torn, 1-1/2tsp cayenne and a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, leaving a little parsley for garnish; season. Heat 1tbs olive oil and 40g butter in 20cm ovenproof frying pan over medium heat; swirl to coat base; spoon mixture over the base; press down gently to even the layer. Reduce heat to med-low; cook 20mins or until base is golden and potato is almost cooked through; transfer pan to oven; bake 15mins or until top is golden and potato cooked and tender; sprinkle with reserved parsley to serve.

My apologies on behalf of  Shama and Remy...they're having a hard day's night or a hard night's day...they need their sleep.  They keep watch every night just in case Santa decides to turn up earlier than expected! They're do the night shift.


  1. The best part of Christmas is wishing everyone a Merry Christmas as you go about your business. It is a nice exchange I find and never get a grump from anyone. I think I will add your cranberry stuffing to my menu this year Lee .. Thank you.

    Have a lovely relaxing day on Friday .. I know I will be.

    1. It is true what you say, Carol. I know I feel a huge amount of pleasure from wishing others a Merry Christmas. I almost morph into an appointed Town Crier at this time of the year! 'Tis fun...and fun is good!

      I, too, will be spending Christmas Day in a very relaxing way, Carol. No hassles here....except, perhaps for Remy getting in a frenzy when the prawns are brought out! Shama, naturally, will be her usual ladylike self. She'll be waiting until her nails dry! :)

      Take care and my very best wishes to you for the Season...thanks for coming by. :)

  2. My God that is an Oscar speech - and so well constructed.
    Today at the W/worth's check out, the young girl who served me and she knows how to pack in plastic bags - a bonus, asked me if I knew where she could in Brisbane Overseas papers.
    I told her where - the Newsagency near Myers.
    She wanted a Kiwi newspaper and on thinking she may be from "over the Ditch", she informed me No. It was for wrapping her Christmas presents for her boyfriend???
    This completely befuddled me - on further enquiries as she diligently thumped away on the cash register - I was informed that she wanted "said" boy friend to know that she read NZ papers???
    Well you have to admit that is quite novel.
    Cheers and have a great Christmas.
    I get my drinks tomorrow - I might be tempted to start a bit early - ha ha.
    Just a salad with a brandy plum pudding which just has to be steamed for one hour - MAKE SURE THE WATER DOES NOT DISAPPEAR - I think I can do that? Then more "oomph" in the liqueur department - a dose of cognac, or a liberal helping of Cognac! Happy days.

    1. Oops - missing word - BUY overseas papers - Maybe I was thinking of that Cognac - ha ha.

    2. I understood what you meant, Colin. Enjoy the Cognac...it's a wonderful drink!

      I hope you, too, have a wonderful Christmas...if you let water disappear when steaming the plum pudding, just drizzle some of the Cognac over it...and all will be well with the world! :)

      Thanks by coming by....take care. :)

  3. Happy Christmas Lee, Remy and Sharma.
    I suspect that you three and Ned and his new friend will have a much happier Christmas (and life) than grumpy guts.
    Today I made a HUGE fruit salad. Over twenty different sorts of fruit. I will live on it for the next week or so. With added support from our very boozy Christmas cakes.

    1. You're right, EC...I'm sure we will. It's the simple things in life that one should learn to enjoy...they'd be happier people for doing so!

      Enjoy your fruit salad...and have a very Merry Christmas, you, The Skinny One and the two Js. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

  4. The trouble with the few who grump or chase artificial highs, is they are so loud about it, causing so much trouble, it seems there are far more of them than there really are.
    Luckily, I don't know any like that personally, most people I see are the smiling "Merry Christmas dearie" type.
    I love your Australian Christmas Greetings pictures.
    Merry Christmas to you and Shama and Remy.

    1. One is more than enough, I reckon, and unfortunately there are more than enough...but, all things consider, we're pretty fortunate here where I live...it's a rather small community...away from all of the madness, or most of it, anyway. It's a nice quite, safe area in which to live.

      A very Merry Christmas back to you and Angel, River...from Remy, Shama and me. Thanks for coming by. :)

  5. Ah yes to me Christmas is for kids and puppies and enjoying good food and the Nutcracker. Hope it graces our TV as well. Merry Christmas to you and Boxing Day too.

    1. For sure, Linda...that's what it's all about! A very Merry Christmas to you and your family...relax and enjoy. Thanks for coming by. :)

  6. If we knew the answers to those questions we would having nothing much to go crook about, I expect :)
    There definitely more good people than bad...
    Sweet cats there.
    Merry Christmas.

    1. Hi Margaret...I'd love it if there was nothing go crook. Maybe if we all tried it for a while we'd get to enjoy it! :)

      A Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope you enjoy it. Take care and thanks for coming by. :)

  7. Your post was timed perfectly since I've been wearing my Grinch suit with great pomp and circumstance. I, sadly, for whatever reason, have recently evolved into The White Witch.

    It could be because funding is short, I have an extra body in my home, my creative wood project dragon fell, or the fact I just can't seem to get all my extra chores done...the ones I WANT to do.

    What ever it is is, I will remind myself of your cheerful post when the green of Grinch of the white of the bad queen creep into my heart and out my mouth today.

    Thank you. Merry Christmas. I should think only of the blessings.

    1. I think this time of the year gets to each one of us at times Gail...we just have to try to take Taylor Swift's advice and "Shake It Off"!

      I'm sure by the time Christmas Day arrive the White Witch and the Grinch will have disappeared. Don't worry too much about the shortage of funds...you're not alone there either...look out your door....and the beauty of Nature will surely make up for the the lack of dollars and dimes. Take a look in your mirror...and there you will see a good person...she will lift your spirits. :)

      A very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

      Don't let yourself become overwhelmed by the Season...don't put pressure on yourselff...you are surrounded by riches. Thanks for coming by. :)

    2. You are too kind but you are right...outside my door are the riches and I'd do well to be more grateful.

      Thanks for your comment on Legacy.

      I am the designated dinner hostess so cooking will begin tomorrow. Cleaning will wait til after the company leaves and I won't have to do it twice!

      A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  8. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, full of love and laughter. Love, sandie

    1. And the same back to you, Sandie...Merry Christmas to you and your family. Hugs. :)

  9. No easy answers for those questions.

    Merry Christmas, Jo!

    1. Good morning, Susan...it'd be wonderful to have the answers. It'd be even more wonderful if we didn't have the need to ask them.

      A Merry Christmas to you and your family...may if be filled with much laughter and love. :)

  10. I'm a big fan of fruit too and I'm just out to go and buy some before the shops get impossibly crowded. Have a lovely Christmas and new Year, Lee, and I will look forward to more of your posts and gorgeous recipes in 2016!

    1. I shot out early this morning, too, Jenny, and bought more fruit...as if I needed more...but it will get eaten...by me...not by Remy & Shama! They'll help me with the seafood, though! :)

      Thanks for coming by...have a Merry Christmas with your loved ones....take good care. :)
      Thanks for coming by,

  11. Glad to have found you in our common ground of blogging!
    Now, come to my house and cook my Christmas dinner, okay?
    Great post, Lee, filled with love and laughter but with real serious points which we all need to remember.
    Peace to you and yours. Merry Christmas.

    1. Hahaha! If you hear knocking on your door, Kay...it won't be me! By time I got you would've cooked all your Christmas dinner and eaten it, anyway! So there! :)

      I'm glad we've met through the blogging world, too. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas...relax and enjoy it. Seize the day and cherish the memories. :)

  12. I read every word. You know, you are not a dragon after all - privately you are an awesome human being Lee. So alive. Of course I have known the term "joie de vivre" for decades but this post really clarifies its meaning. They should make you the mayoress of Tamborine Mountain then you could order Mrs Grumpy from the car park to attend a circus skills course run by Biffo the Clown.

    1. Awwww, gee, Yorkie! Now you've made me blush! I'll have to hide behind that fan! :)

      I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas...may you share much laughter...cherish every moment...because every moment is special and your loved ones are special. Take care.

      Thanks for coming by...and thanks for your good humour. :)

  13. It's coming up to six o'clock in the morning in Queensland so I suspect the cats will have already opened their gifts and are now looking towards lunchtime!

    I hope your day is pleasant and enjoyable as being with the dogs were!
    Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you, Mr. Ad-Man. Remy and Shama weren't at all interested in what I gave them! They looked at it and then at me as if I was stupid! If the truth be known, they're probably not far off the mark! lol

      They promptly went back to sleep! And I'm about ready to go up the road to have a coffee with my landlords ("up the road" being up the other end of this piece land...3 acres of it).

      Thanks for coming by, Adullamite....I hope you have a very pleasant Christmas Day, too...when it finally arrives up that way. I hope Santa has some gifts left by the time he reaches there! Take good care. :)

  14. Trust you didn't eat TOO many cherries??
    I will give myself top marks for my steamed Plum Pudding
    but overcooked to the dry part of the very large Chicken Maryland - maybe it really didn't want to be sold until Boxing day - ha ha. Still the salad was "passable", well I ate it and just finished the left overs today as I watched - the Test and the start of the Sydney/Hobart.
    Steamy isn't it??? Well here it is anyhow.

    1. It was steamy and hot all through last night (Boxing Day night)...even this light rain isn't cooling things down, but I'm glad it is raining and I hope it rains all day.

      I won't need to go food shopping again until Easter!! I've enough food here to last me until then! I'll never learn!

      Mince up the chicken and turn it into patties. I watched the start of the Sydney/Hobart, too...and a bit of the cricket...and I watched a movie yesterday afternoon..."Birdman"...the one Michael Keaton got the Oscar for last year. I enjoyed it.

  15. Well Christmas is past and gone (It's now Monday 28 January in your part of the world) and I've only just read your post. Scotland never celebrated Christmas with the same exuberance that it was, and possibly still is, celebrated in England and I can remember the day when the bins were emptied on Christmas Day just like any other. However when it came to New Year that was a very different story.

    This is only the second Christmas in the last decade that I have celebrated back in Scotland after having become used to a more relaxed Kiwi Christmas.

    For nearly three decades before that Christmas meant travelling down to family in England and it was a celebration of togetherness rather than partying.

    I suppose too that I've never been comfortable with the over-commercialisation of what is essentially a religious festival (even if I no longer have any personal belief).

    I enjoy the opportunity to write to people whom I rarely see otherwise and, of course, I enjoy the time with friends and family and the food although, to be frank, I looked at the table on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (not mine - I cooked nothing over the two days although I did make the most ginormous trifle) and as everyone said they couldn't eat another thing I thought of the millions in the world who would have no food that day. I remember feeling like that as a youngish man when food had become plentiful in Britain after the privations of wartime rationing.

    Now as I look at the £250 bottle of wine on my table (not, I hasten to add, bought by me) a certain guilt creeps over me because I know that I will enjoy it - with friends - but that many even in Britain would not have that amount of money to feed a family this month.

    So whatever else your words have, or have not, done Lee they have certainly made me think long and hard.

    I hope that you enjoyed your Christmas and that you have a contented and healthy 2016.

    1. Enjoy that bottle of wine, Graham...and don't feel guilty while doing so. Enjoy your life...because it is yours.

      Sorry...I've only just now found your response to my post. I had a very quiet Christmas and New Year...by choice...and am glad it's all over...I'm still surrounded by Christmas cake, fruit mince tarts and other bits and pieces...and a pile of ham slices, packed in portions in my freezer...plus containers of pea and ham soup!!! Why! Oh! Why! Do I do it...over-cater every year...and every year I say I'm never going to do it again. One would think I'd obey my own orders!!

      I hope 2016 treats you and yours kindly, too. Thanks for coming by. :)

  16. I hope your Christmas was good, Lee! I've been away from the blogs for a bit, but loving the catching up!

    1. I hope yours was, too, Lynn. I had a quiet one...and that was good.

      Thanks for popping in...and I hope you have a great 2016. :)

  17. Are you paying more than $5 / pack of cigarettes? I'm buying all my cigarettes from Duty Free Depot and I'm saving over 70%.