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I have suddenly realized that attempting a new recipe on Christmas Day for a starter, when I’m already trying a new way of doing the turkey, is potentially harmful to all around me.  It won’t be a season of goodwill around here if the soufflé I’d planned to create from an intriguing jar of artichoke and lemon pesto doesn’t rise to the occasion.

But I quite like the challenge.  Unless I come up with a better idea, I’m creating my own recipe and hoping some festive magic will result in perfectly puffy Pesto Souffles. If they sink I’ll blame the dodgy oven not my culinary skills.  I’m calling them that because I can’t be bothered to make up a different name for them. I’m too tired from doing all the wrapping. And writing my To Do list.

Mainly, this consists of cleaning. I hate cleaning. I hate it even more because I HAVE to do it.  A house elf won’t magically appear and do it for me (even though the Other Half is very good at hoovering and bathrooms you couldn’t call him an elf. Well, you could, but then he would down tools in protest and I’d then have to do it all). 

Top of the To Do list is Cobweb Watch. I have a little telescopic fibrey brushy thing with which to chase spiders round my cornicing.  It’s curiously satisfying, a bit like waving candyfloss around without the stickiness. The best way to find out where the cobwebs are is to lie on the floor and gaze into space, as if that is your main preoccupation. If you think about it too hard, all the spiders come out, gather their webs in and wait until guests arrive before hanging them out again.  And seeing as how I don’t want the house to resemble Miss Haversham’s pad, I’d better do it. Soon.

Next on the list is to go to the Post Office.  I loathe the Post Office, almost as much as I do cleaning. This is because every single time I go in there I do something wrong. I’ve either not got a customs form, have used the wrong envelope, I’ve overpacked or underpacked parcels, I’ve not got enough cash when everyone knows that plastic slippy envelopes and sellotape are paid for in cold hard money when all the other items go through on the card.  I’m sure the lady behind the counter is perfectly lovely but you can see her recoil as I inch towards the front of the queue, hoping and praying that I end up being served by her husband.  Needless to say, she serves me 99% of the time.  I can tell she thinks I’m too slow, stupidly ignorant of Post Office Etiquette and therefore dangerous to stamps.  As a result I get even more flustered and befuddled.   So then I start trying to have a friendly chat in a ridiculous attempt to make her realise I am a nice person, really.   Which nearly always backfires as she can clearly straight through me and my pathetic sallies are met by no more than a twitch of the lips and a glance at her watch to remind me just how long I’m taking. 

I don’t understand why, when I operate perfectly well in most other spheres of modern life, the Post Office remains such a mystery to me.  It makes me want to snarl.  But short of sending everything by courier, I can’t escape going there.

Unless I send the House Elf.  I’d not put one of my Christmas list but I can clearly see that was remiss of me.  I shall write to Santa forthwith – good job I have some stamps in my wallet. If I hurry, I’ll make the afternoon collection.  I’m sure two second class stamps will make sure my missive gets there in time for Christmas Eve.   On second thoughts, I’ll be modern and Facebook Santa.  Which will save me going out.  Meaning I can just lie here, on Cobweb Watch, figuring out my Souffle recipe and the meaning of life.

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