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New things in December

March 21, 2014

New Things in December

Again this is very late but better late than never.

December’s new place is Bruges. I’m afraid there are no photos because I forgot my camera which was disappointing. I went on Eurostar with a friend – Eurostar is such a civilised way to travel. It’s a beautiful city but I can’t say I see why people call it the Venice of the north. It’s nothing like Venice. The canals and medieval buildings are lovely and we enjoyed wandering around the town.

Food was a challenge. I’m a strict ovo-lacto vegetarian who is allergic to Goats cheese and my friend is a vegetarian who eats fish but is allergic to nuts. They don’t really do vegetarian in Belgium. Happily Belgium is the home of frites with mayonnaise. There was gluhwein and crepes too.

My new author was Fiona, The Countess of Carnavron. My sister gave me Lady Catherine and the real Downton Abbey for Chrismas. It’s not a scholarly book and there’s no real analysis but it is an easy entertaining read. The author is clearly find of the subject of the book and had access to all the material she needed. I can’t help but think it would be a better book in the hands of a more competent writer.

As previously described this month’s knitting project ended up being the same as November’s because it was far more time consuming than I thought it would be. But I did begin a quilting project I’ve been putting off since April. It was a kit but the colour of one fabric wasn’t right. I’ve a pretty good eye for colour and one fabric just jarred. It took me until November (and a visit to C&H fabrics in Canterbury) to find the right replacement.

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If you care the fabric supplied with the kit was a bright blue satin and I decided to use the dark green mistletoe print instead. For future reference the pale green plush was a nightmare to sew with as it slips and slides as you machine it. I’d choose an alternative fabric next time. Although my more experienced mother tells me that I should have pinned it together with tissue paper then ripped it away when I’d finished my sewing. I still need to finish making it up as I want to make it up in a different way to the instructions and I’ve not quite figured out how to yet.

I cooked lots of things in December but it was so long ago it’s hard to recall what was new, mostly I cook the same familiar things at Christmas. I made coconut ice mice with my niece and a friend’s small daughter but I do this every year. I was under huge stress so I didn’t bake Christmas cookies for my colleagues as I usually do. I felt bad about that. I do know I baked my first Stollen. I used the recipe in Jane Brocket’s Vintage Cakes but I didn’t like it. It involved putting a roll of marzipan in the middle of the dough and I think it made it stodgy. I may try again next year but I’ll find a better recipe.

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