But the scene in front of the fire has been delightful. What could be nicer than sitting on the sofa, warming up after a brisk walk with a cup of tea and a toasted crumpet, and surrounded by recipe books? I'm thinking of making the Incredibly Easy Chocolate Fruit Cake, as pictured in Nigella's Christmas book. It's the phrase 'incredibly easy' that's tempting me... oh yes, and the word 'chocolate'. I'm also keen to find an excuse to use my 'Hologram Gold Disco Glitter' once again - it looks stunning on top of a dark cake such as this one.
The Jane Asher book is from the local library. I'm glad I didn't buy it, her writing style really irritates me, although there are some nice-looking recipes that I might just take note of before returning the book.
A little later on and the tea and crumpets are replaced by wine... and the Christmas socks have emerged! Ho ho ho. It's still a little early for us to be decorating the house, although we nearly went to buy the Christmas tree this last weekend - we've decided to go next Saturday instead. We did however collect some lovely holly. Last year it was almost impossible to find any with berries on it, so this year we were keen to grab some as soon as we saw it. We put some behind every picture in the sitting room, and I'll add some ivy too soon. I like to use as much natural greenery as I can... but leaving plenty of room for some tasteless kitch decorations too!
Talking of kitch, we've also started playing our extensive collection of Christmas music. Before we went to Canada we had a very tasteful selection of classic Christmas carols and festive choral music. Now we have a broad range of other 'classics' such as Elvis' Christmas Album and The Beach Boys sing Christmas (thanks to a crazy moment in the cut-price music section of Walmart!). My favourite album is a double CD I bought - rather oddly - at a Bath and Body Works shop in Las Vegas, entitled Glitter and Glow. It has a fantastic selection of Christmas hits, some classics, some new recordings. One of my very favourite tracks is this one from Bing Crosby:
Now if only the rain would stop... let it snow!