Cosy times and Party Skeleton

A redheaded white woman in a chunky Aran sweater. It's a deep teal colour, with heavy cable and honeycomb stitch patterns.

Halloooooo! Did we all make it through the festivities without getting too stuffed? I admit, we couldn't manage Christmas pudding yesterday, and we made the pudding to Mr Robot's mum's recipe. Still, the good thing about those is that they'll keep. I'm wearing my Big Pressie in this photo – my husband gave me a real Aran jumper from the Aran islands, made of pure wool. (He said he had a panic after ordering in case it got lumped with customs charges, but fortunately it didn't. 

I also got all sorts of extra bits and bobs for my cocktail making adventures, including The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock – a 1930s classic, so full of cocktails made with proper spirits rather than modern artificially-flavoured oddities – pineapple-shaped glasses, and a professional-grade ice crusher. And I got Christopher Frayling's new book on a century of vampire movies (I'm not fannish about many people, but I have masses of respect for Professor F), and a gorgeous Paperblanks book to encourage me to draw more, though I'm terrified of messing it up.

The Mr liked his new slippers, Moroccan lantern, posh aftershave and other goodies. I'd expected either the lantern or aftershave would be his favourite, but it seems the fake-fur-lined slippers are what he's really enjoying. The cats had managed to find their catnip toys a day early, but were still enjoying them on Christmas Day. Pippin hogged the toys at first, so Ziggy decided to fight Pippin instead...

A tabby cat lies on a wooden floor, frantically kicking a beanbag toy. Another tabby cat is biting the first cat's ear.

We also enjoyed a big goose dinner. We started with dry martinis (made using an English vermouth that was another Christmas gift), then had prawn cocktail in my late mother in law's dishes that she always used for it at Christmas, accompanied by fino sherry. Then a full roast goose dinner with a bottle of very good Ribera del Duero, after which we gave up on food and watched The Fellowship of the Ring. We always watch the Lord of the Rings films between Christmas and new year; I'm something of a tall Hobbit myself.

I realised I didn't share my brilliant secondhand find in my last post - behold PARTY SKELETON.

A Georgian print of a skeleton at a masquerade party. He has removed his mask, showing his skull, and all the other partygoers are recoiling in horror.
We go over to a nearby town, Devizes, to the butcher most Saturdays. (They used to have a branch in Trowbridge but closed it some years ago, and the food's so good we've got into the habit of trekking over to the Devizes branch.) I'll often look in the charity shops on the way to/from the car park, but for some reason on the 17th I decided to walk a little way out of the way, past the antique and junk shops. And there in the window of one was this fellow. I had to have him. He wasn't cheap-cheap – £22 – but the print is from 1815, from a book called The English Dance Of Death, and I've never seen anything like it. So now he lives with us, and can carry on partying.

In the spirit of Bill and Ted, and Party Skeleton, if I don't speak to you before the new year BE EXCELLENT TO ONE ANOTHER, AND PARTY ON, DUDE.


  1. That jumper is gorgeous - what a lovely colour. Mr Robot really does buy the best presents.
    The Urchins scrapping is hilarious, I do so miss having cats, the house isn't the same without them causing chaos.
    That lithograph is absolutely incredible, I'd have snaffled that beauty, too. xxx

  2. Party Skeleton is worth everything you paid for it, and more. The jumper is beautiful and in a perfect colour for you. Sending you all happy new year wishes.

  3. Merry Christmas, Mim!

    It sounds a like a proper feast was consumed on the day and your Aran jumper is exquisite - what a gorgeous colour it is. My granny and Aunty used to knit these and sell them many years ago. They knitted one for me which I wore throughout my nurse training and beyond and I don't know what happened to it. I loved it.

    Party Skeleton is fabulous!

    Hope you have a great New Year.

  4. Glad to hear you had a lovely Christmas, I bought Himself the same Christopher Frayling book as I too think he is amazing. The skeleton is magnificent and absolutely had to come home with you! xx

  5. I should also add I too have an Aran jumper, though I'm pretty sure it doesn't fit anymore I would never part with it. My Mum made it for me with proper Aran wool to a traditional pattern over 30 years ago now. I get it out and admire it sometimes.


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