Monday 21 December 2020

Be Hale!


Yuletide. How did that sneak up on us, Dear Reader? In this wide brown land of ours, wassailing is officially Verboten as at today. So this rather leery Father Christmas shall be imbibing from his wassail cup on his jolly own. Ditto the rather more rustic traditions of Saturnalia, if your family traditions are a tad more pagan. Singing naked in the street, gambling in public and making noise alongside your feasting and drinking cannot possibly fall within the bounds of the present strictures.

Nonetheless, the tinsel tree is decorated and I triumphantly bore home a ham-ette from the shoppes yesterday* which I've decided at the last minute to glaze for the wild crowd of two for Friday's lunch. I think the rather Australian tradition of a prawn and mango salad shall also feature in there somewhere. And I believe today or tomorrow there'll be a bit of baking of ye olde Bethmännchen and I want to try out a Zimtsterne recipe, as in more recent years, I've been loving having a few German Christmas biscuits about the place. 

There's been a bit of Handel's harpsichord chirruping away merrily on the B&O but we've not cracked out The Messiah nor any of its ilk. Have to hold something back since the whole of Yuletide looms with only the cicadas for entertainments.

So, what's left? Summer solstice tonight and the 794-years in the waiting conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter will grace our Solar System. Eyes aloft, everyone! Wait ... what's this? ... the trusty Bureau of Meteorology says it'll be raining cats and dogs just after sunset. Drats. Scrap that delight, too.

Be Hale, Dears!

* Yes, I'm up and about again, just not able to get my bearings yet when upended, but that's an overrated posture, anyway. 

Image credit: Illustrated London News, 1857


  1. We're a day behind you, but went out and stood in the middle of the road & looked all around the night sky. There were some dazzlers up above. I look forward to manana's convergence!

  2. After months of not driving (in the lockdown, there was nowhere to go), yesterday was my first day behind the wheel again. I drove very cautiously, and will be more confident next time. But it goes to show that with some care and lots of luck, we can survive even a horrid year. Have a healthy, happy holiday and a new year of good blogging ��

  3. Bea: Lucky you getting an eyeful of sky right now. You will need to report. We've only one possible clear night here, next Sunday, so this creeping once-in-a-lifetime convergence will be best seen by me via the interwebs.

    Hels: Well done! I hope you get to go further afield next time and enjoy the sights and the novelty. What a nice wish; a year of good blogging to you, too, and much that is satisfying around this festive time.

  4. We WILL be wassailing here in France on 12th night. We anoint an Apple tree with cider, hang toast in her branches, and recite certain poems. I think we're the only people who do this these days, but so what!

  5. Cro: I do remember you anointing your apple tree last year, so look forward to documentary evidence of your household's wassailing tradition. It may be that the direction to not sing or carouse in this city may be lifted by Twelfth Night, but meantime we must only sit and wait for your pics.

  6. My offspring is into everything Christmas, although unfamiliar with the Messiah. Do people in Australia stand for the Hallelujah Chorus and sing along? I believe the custom where I'm from (it's been many years since my last live Messiah so the memories are a little fuzzy) is that we stand for the Hallelujah Chorus, then, after the show, there's an encore of Hallelujahs where everybody is welcome to chime in. And it feels very good to sing along. But singing, especially in a full theater, isn't something one should do these days. Must wait. Or put it on and sing along at home.

  7. Such a fabulous post from down under my dear - cheering me up no end!!!

    Yes, I too visited the 'shoppes' masked and gloved - to pick up just the poor turkey's breast for Bob's Christmas dinner. No meat ever for me, but vegetarian stuffing and a load of healthy vegs will be perfect.

    German stollen, Moravian sugar cake, Italian panettone, Scottish Christmas pudding, my homemade English mince pies, trifle, and ginger crinkles - a truly international feast for two only! So many calories, but what the heck we can all loosen our cozy, baggy jogger pants with elastic waists - so lets go for it - and of course there will be plenty left for New Year's Eve as we'll still be here at home by the hearth. . . . .and still snuggled in the more fitted comfy pants!!!!

    Happy Christmas to you both. We will look upward this evening!
    Stay well - be safe.
    Mary -

  8. Love your image of such a hale and hearty Father Christmas.
    We shall be a twosome for the very first time ever - no turkey here, but a Christmas tagine filled with chicken, chestnuts. dried apricots, and lots of spices - not the same, but hopefully it will suffice.
    Hope you caught the Christmas Star, we should be seeing it now, but it is too cloudy.
    Hope you all enjoy a wonderful time.

  9. ToF: Mr. P was in a cathedral choir in a former life and can attest that true aficionados will stand and sing along for the chorus in this land, too. But church singing is presently Verboten so it will only be for home. However, I have a lousy voice and produce only an off-key drone so only lip-synch to spare others and save some dignity for myself :)

    Mary: I'm still humming and hawing about baking a Stollen even though it's so late in the day, but I'm much more able to spring into action now so do have plans afoot. A couple of years ago I made it for Twelfth Night and thought it an excellent sub for Twelfth Night Cake, so may save it for then ... No leisure wear around these parts at present, summer frock-time and all, but I'll be with you in spirit as you sit comfortably at your hearth ... Enjoy the night sky and Be Hale tonight!

    Rosemary: Your tagine sounds lovely! Chestnuts sold from a brazier in the darkened London streets are something that I do miss from my time there. Utterly delicious ... The skies are heavy but we could get a break in the cloud-cover tomorrow night. I hope your Yuletide is delightful, too!

    Rachel: Thank you! The worst is like a dim memory now and I'll be touching toes again in no time. xx



    DREAMS DO COME TRUE................XX

  11. Contessa: Now there's a peculiar thought - me on the telly, not meeting the Contessa & Italian! That would be fun! I sent you a little card but who knows what snail mail across the Pacific is like during these Odd Times? Auguri to you, too! xx

  12. John: Thank you, and best wishes to you, too! x

  13. Merry Christmas. Hope it's merry and bright. My holidays start tomorrow and I feel like I need them more than ever this year.

  14. Loree: Thank you, Loree, and Merry Christmas to you! I hope you have some very relaxing times during your holiday.

  15. Hohoho and hail to you too!
    I am glad to have met your this year

  16. Ur-spo: I believe the pleasure may be all mine!

  17. Re "..and the 794-years in the waiting conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter..." - I saw it, but was rather unimpressed. Just two wee lights quite close in the sky, which is pretty much all that I was expecting. Halley's comet a few years back was much better. The universe must try harder to impress me...

  18. Andrew: Mr. P also reported what you did. The clouds parted for a few mins and a couple of spots showed themselves. We do get spoilt by the fabulous images sent back by the likes of Monsieur Hubble.


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