Snow is all around, muffling the cars on Main Street, blanketing the grass, and frosting the windows. Colored lights are twinkling, Christmas songs are playing but shopping is a test of patience and Christian values. On these dark and chilly days, there is nothing better than luxurious, cream-laden, fat-heavy helpings of rich food. And you are safe in the grocery store. Stock up!! Our burgeoning waistlines can be disguised under those bulky sweaters and puffed fleece lined pants. If necessary, we can follow our seasonal gluttony with a new year of determined savage restriction and exercise.
The best English Christmas cake heavy with fruit is already in OUR pantry, a welcome gift from our friends, the Masters. Serve it late afternoon with a slice of extra sharp cheddar, and a Scotch. Don’t miss the pot luck lunch at the Christmas Card Workshop, or the Yule Mules with friends down the street. Dine on Beef Wellington at P’s birthday party. This indulgent dish of beef, slathered with a mushroom or foie gras, given a kick by Madeira and baked in pastry, was the Duke’s favored fuel for fighting the French, a dish created to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Waterloo, and when served, he could come to the table in his boots! We could still find room for glasses of Tobin James, a Wampanoag turkey and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving with the Beller’s.
Our culinary excesses have been balanced by my new silversneaker status at the gym. And although we were not aware…there is a champion among us! We competed in a pickleball tournament, and Pete and partner Hes, brought home the gold. We all had a great morning burning up calories only to replace them, and add many more, enjoying a generous courtside lunch.
Sometimes, weather permitting and dressed in many layers, I take an evening walk. The days may be short, but there are hawks, and deer with racks, beavers sporting in the cold water pond, and often a flaming sunset over the fields. If you take a camera there are plenty of subjects to paint, snow on branches, orange glow from windows, lamps and headlights. Sketch quickly outside or from the car or work from bright photos on the screen.
Watercolor painting is particularly difficult in the dry warm air of the classroom, the washes dry too quickly. I mentioned to Cunard that I was getting engrossed in the studio and beginning to lose both hope and interest in the prospect of a long adventurous voyage. By magic all the paperwork suddenly appeared; a contract, an outline of expected duties, dress codes and days of work, tempting new destinations. We don’t need visas, we found flights to and from Southampton, we have all the formal gear. We should go…..After all there will be four months of 5 star cuisine. We’ll get evacuation insurance! No diets for us!