Month: December 2013

Mint cream chocolate biscuits

  Bloody hell, it really is Christmas. I have a repeated nightmare that’s based around Christmas. The big day suddenly comes into being without any prior warning. Everybody has shopped and planned without me and I sit down to lunch, faced with boiled carrots because I wasn’t there to patronise everybody on the fact that roasted carrots are far superior. Oh, and the brussels sprouts – always overcooked, and where are the chestnuts and pancetta – what the hell would Nigella say?! Then I wake up in a cold sweat because there’s nothing more traumatic than losing control over vegetable cooking times. It is odd, how we all clamour for the perfect Christmas, or more precisely, our arrival at that highly anticipated state of festive nirvana: when one feels, officially, “Christmassy”. The road to this sacred place is traditionally marked by dried fruit, mulled liquids and low-level lighting. But like many forced attempts at emotion, sometimes it just doesn’t go to plan. Much like Christmas 2011’s failed roast potatoes – despite meticulous research on the preferable fat (thanks a Read More

Coming home

There is the Christmas tree shining into the grey lane. Home is warm and carpeted, with bedside lamps turned on, as always. When I was a child the gentle slump of the car in the drive would always be a bit of a bother. “We’re home.” I’d be half asleep in the backseat, sighing in tune with the silencing of the radio. Soon I’d have to wriggle out of the car onto the cold pavement: a bitter interlude between warm car and warm home. I was a sleepy child, always lulled to sleep by short journeys and cassette tapes. My sister used to taunt me for it – she still does. Even now, home provokes a drowsy knowingness that London tries its best to shake out of me. Here, there is a new puppy, and ironed bed linen and fields and fields of Suffolk somewhere beyond my window. The town of Bungay clings to our house. I type to the thrashings of rain and perhaps it’s because our lane is silent and my room is Read More