Saturday, 31 December 2016
Old Year Out, New Year In
On Christmas Eve I hatched a real stinker of a cold and so the festivities were enjoyed through something of a fug which was unfortunate but the Farmer & I still managed to go to St. David's cathedral for Choral Matins on Christmas morning to hear the choir sing gloriously and then go to look at the sea crashing dramatically along the Pembrokeshire coast.
Before my head-cold made itself known we managed to throw a party the night before Christmas Eve. We had about 40 guests and it of course involved a lot of cooking, cleaning and the decking of halls which seemed to take most of the week. The end result of all our labours seemed to please people & I think we made a very good start to Christmas with the Farmer greeting our guests with glasses of mulled home-made cider & mulled home-made plum wine (very popular!). A neighbour had recently killed some pigs and very generously gave a home-cured ham & a joint of pork to the feast and I had made a partridge terrine as well as the usual sausage rolls, quiches and bread rolls. It was a proper old-fashioned country feast with as much home produce as possible including quince jelly, sloe & apple jelly & chutneys of various kinds to accompany the meats and even our own walnuts in the Waldorf salad. It was fun to do.
To continue the theme of old-fashioned & home produced the evening's entertainment was provided by a magic lantern slide show. The magic lantern is a unwieldy contraption that belonged to the the Farmer's great-grandfather and has a large selection of glass slides. Some are just views of cities such as Manchester in the late 19th century, others are, what to our eyes are very un-PC, comic strip cartoons involving wash-tubs and grotesque 'minstrels' (you get my drift, I'm sure) which are difficult to view in the 21st century. There are also a couple of sets of stories including the dramatic 'The Curfew Must not Toll Tonight' a tale of derring-do set in the time of Cromwell, who surprisingly turns out to be bit of a hero, but the most interesting is the set of slides depicting the Artic Expedition by Sir John Franklin in about 1875. These are beautiful engravings of ships trapped in ice, dog-sled teams and Englishmen dressed in furs braving horrendous conditions for the sake of the Queen & the Empire. They don't make heroes like that any more!
The farm work continues regardless of festivals and national holidays and between the three of them the Farmer & the Sons have shared milking duties during the week, allowing each one of them some time off to attend parties and take small children out to events as well as attending shoots and musical evenings.
So, at the end of 2016, an eventful year to say the least, I wish you all
Blwyddyn Newydd Hapus