Hail The Light

I know some of you will have wondered where I was with such a long absence of posts. I am still here, I am still suffering a bit since the fog and grey skies have persisted, but in general all is well. This has been a very different winter so far from our previous four here in Spain.  Our Yule celebrations in the past have been outside on the veranda in the sunshine, this year we held the feast indoors but to complicate things and to give myself a challenge I decided to cook it all in the wood burning oven and BBQ.

It’s been a long term goal of mine to perfect the art of cooking with fire. I am always in awe of the skills mastered by our forebears and always a bit contemptuous of people saying things like ‘you couldn’t do that nowadays’.  So a feast was planned, executed and completed more or less successfully.

I have always been  aware of the truth in Mrs Beaton’s statement about the similarity between a General preparing for battle and a woman planning a special dinner.  But this time it was a really striking similarity. And what I lacked was foot soldiers.. tending the fire and preparing food and setting the table was impossible to do alone so Steve was ordered about like never before - do this, do that, fetch this or that and a few ‘no! Not like that!!’ All of which he took without a blink of the eye - you can always spot an ex-military man!

The Yule Celebrations usually come bang in the middle of the olive harvest and is a very welcome day off. This year, we have not yet begun. The Cooperative who buy our olives are not ready to receive them (the explanation being that they have not found a buyer who will pay a good price) and until they are everyone is poised to begin, like sprinters at the starting line. It’s a little worrying as we have plans for the olive money and if rumors are to be believed the price may not be very good. So we wait and watch as the olives get riper and riper and then they fall to the ground.

For us, this kind of thing can be frustrating and annoying but for many people here, who depend upon a good olive price as their main income for the year, the anxiety as we wait must be immense.  Hopefully it will all soon be resolved, and happily so.

And as the mid winter festivities approach we are strangely at a loose end and indulging in Saturday afternoon films and cosy snuggles with blankets and favourite books in front of the fire. To all those kind enough to read about our sometimes mundane lives here in south west Spain I wish you everything you would want for the perfect festive season, and here’s to a good new year filled with hope.


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