How good must it be when your older sister is in possession of a pink plastic Peppa Pig recorder that you want and that she will not let you have because she does not want your slabbers on it, and then, when you are at Nellybert's (your grandparents) Boxing Day party, a kind lady (Swisser) gives you a long tubular present wrapped in shiny red paper that looks like it might be a recorder? And your eyes light up with delighted anticipation and your granny helps you unwrap it (quick, quick!) and it is a recorder, a beautiful wooden recorder, all colours, including pink!
I think that the sight of Evie's thrilled face, when she got that recorder, was one of the best moments of our Boxing Day party. And Swisser didn’t even know she wanted one! What an inspired choice.
Miss Martha got a harmonica which delighted her.
This was the best Boxing Day in years. The food turned out well, a traditional turkey and ham dinner, with curried lamb for those who preferred it and a choice of five desserts. I made all the food myself except for the two very delicious ice-creams which were created by Zoe and Martha.
Tirimasu, Pear and Ginger Tart, Fruit Trifle, Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate & Whiskey Ice Cream
But as successful Boxing Day dinners do not make as entertaining a read as the disasters, I offer this for your reading pleasure,
The 2011 Boxing Day Disaster
It has taken me a while to be able to share this story. I must warn you in advance that it is a very sad story and that you will probably cry. This is the story of Nelly's Boxing Day Dinner Disaster.
My day began at 6am Why so early? I wanted to get a handle on my day and a start made on my enormous 22 pound Black Norfolk Turkey, a gift from Clint.
By 10:30am the turkey was thoroughly cooked, in fact it was a tad over-cooked. I was a little dismayed but Bert said, never to worry, sliced in gravy, nobody would notice a thing. Still I was embarrassed to see it sitting there all black skin and singed legs so I got Bert to slice it up and I tucked it away out of sight.
All was under control – desserts ready, most vegetables prepped, a nice pork roast sizzling away in the slow cooker. I just had some stuffing to prepare. At 2pm the pork was succulent and only needed a quick blast in the oven to make the crackling. This was a method I was quite confident about as I'd cooked pork in the slow cooker at least a dozen times.
I put the oven on to high and left it for thirty minutes. To tell the truth I got involved with other tasks. Suddenly I remembered I needed to put the pork in for a blast of heat so transferred it to a roasting tin. Over to the oven, door open....
Oh dear God! There were my turkey slices, burned, dried out, totally fucked. I was so distraught I dropped the pork whereupon it fell on the floor and disintegrated. See! I said you would cry. I certainly did.
What Happened Next?
I saw Bert coming across the yard carrying a bucket of logs. I ran to the door. I sobbed,
Bert! Come in! Something terrible has happened!
He took one look at my anguished face, dropped the logs and ran in. I believe he thought I had discovered his mother lying dead. Little did he know it was far worse than that.
Then What Happened?
I had hysterics.
Then What Happened?
I stopped crying and went to collect Hannah and her friends. On the way in I started howling again thinking of that noble turkey who had lived and died in vain. I gathered up my guests who. I believe, were rather apprehensive about their evening's entertainment.
Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch
Zoe and family arrived and measures were discussed as to how dinner could be salvaged. With the help of my lovely guests we saved the day. There was enough meat underneath the burned turkey and above the splattered pork to feed us all. Second helpings were in short supply but thankfully there were lots of desserts.
Last Year's Boxing Day Dinner
I seem to remember that there was also some sort of disaster at the 2010 Boxing Day dinner. I don't recall what it was about but it culminated in me running out and sobbing in the polytunnel and when I allowed myself to be persuaded back into the house the guests had eaten all the food. Ah well. I dare say it served me right for being such an hysterical bitch.
Next Year's Boxing Day Dinner
If God spares us things will be very different in 2012. There will be no more trying to serve two kinds of potatoes, three kinds of vegetables, stuffing, turkey and other festive meats to a party of a dozen or more, all at the same time and without a warming oven or enough chairs. Next year I'm going to go for a Polish-Irish feast. There will be thirteen dishes, desserts, casseroles, fishy things, pickled cabbage, mixed vegetables, turkey, pork, soup, flans, salads etc. Many of these dishes will have been prepared in advance. There will be a stack of napkins, plates and cutlery. There will be glasses and at least three bottles of vodka. There will be crackers. Because this year I forgot to put the bloody crackers out. Ah well. Next year.