On Christmas Jigsaws – day 1


Every Christmas, my family does a jigsaw puzzle.

This year they’re doing one without me, so I’m doing one without them… πŸ™‚

DB is helping, but hasn’t had nearly as much practice…


On Crumbs for Christmas

This morning, after breakfast, DB and I made up some biscuit bags:


More accurately, I put the biscuits in the bags and cut the ribbons and DB tied the bows. Partly because he does that better than me, and partly because we were already running late.

I placed them carefully into my satchel, filled my 1,5L bottle and, in a typical Tuesday morning rush, crammed it in on top, squashing most of the biscuits in the process – nothing like giving someone a bag of crumbs for Christmas…

As it turned out, two of the secretaries I was planning to give them to weren’t in today.

I ate most of the worst bashed packet, and handed out three more (newspaper salesman, secretary, colleague).

I’m on the way home now and there’s one bag left, I wonder who’ll cross my path looking hungry on the way home…


Here’s hoping the recipients find them as tasty as I do πŸ™‚


Edit: I gave the last one to a homeless guy selling Motz magazines in the train πŸ™‚

(First part 18:00, edited ca. 21:30)

On falling for bizarre advertising

My vacuum cleaner transforms my house into a feel-good oasis.


That’s what packaging of the new vacuum bag said anyway.

I think I need more convincing.


The bag came with a sealed plastic packet of tiny gel balls, much like the ones that swell up to look like oversized frogspawn when you soak them in water but which are almost invisible when put round cut flowers (and covered with enough water).

The instructions read: put vacuum bag into vacuum, open packet, scatter balls on the floor, vacuum the balls into your vacuum and your house into a feel-good wellness oasis.

What actually happened is I followed the instructions and instantly wished I hadn’t.

It appears the vacuum pearls advertising works better than the vacuum pearls themselves…

The promised magnolia glade complete with swirls and glittery stars turned out to be the kind of headache-inducing perfume the air fresheners in shopping centre toilets have in them.


If the instructions had said, “pour balls into empty vacuum bag” I would have had a chane to smell them and could have emptied them out again. Instead, I’d chosen to scatter them all over the carpet on the landing, on a day when the landing really (really) needed vacuuming. The carpet was covered in dog hair and people hair and the pocket fluff and tissue remains I pick out of the washing before I hang it up.

Like I said, there was a good reason for vacuuming on that day. **

At least, there was until I’d vacuumed all the balls up, and then all the grott was in the bag with the smelly gel balls, and I didn’t want to stand over the wheely bin and fish everything back out again (I’d love to add “in the rain”, but it actually wasn’t raining, I was just lazy/a wimp), so I left it. I finished vacuuming the rest of the house and had to open all the windows to let the smell wellness oasis out.

I can’t take that much oasis in one go.


* (Yes, obviously I should take the tissues out of the pockets before I put the clothes in the wash, but my world doesn’t always work like that).

** We’d binned the vacuum bag week or so ago, which meant when I wanted (=needed) to vacuum, I couldn’t because we hadn’t been shopping anywhere other than our nearest mini-supermarket yet.

DB and his mother bought the same model of vacuum cleaner a couple of years ago, so we asked her if she’d got a spare we could have. She didn’t, but promised to buy us some on her way home.

She did, saving me a trek out to wherever sells vacuum bags, and afterwards I did have a vacuumed house, which I suppose has oasis tenancies, so I can’t exactly complain, but I’m not sure I enjoy vacuuming anymore…)

On making the extra milk jug

Because if you’re going to make a chocolate teapot in the middle of the night, you might as well make a milk jug to keep it company…

(And also because I am more likely to be asked to make a chocolate teapot than to walk even the first mile…)

On momentary connection

Usually, when I get on the train in the morning, it’s full of other people who are all minding their own business, and presumably trying to wake up before they get to work. People read if they have space to hold a book or a phone, or stare out of the window if they don’t. We all squish up to each other, but try not to actually acknowledge anyone’s existence.

Occasionally something happens which breaks the spell, even if only momentarily. People catch each other’s eyes and smile. It lasts a couple of seconds, and then it’s gone. Except it’s not really gone, there’s still the faintest hint of connection in the air. The slightest remembrance of the smile on the faces of strangers.

It doesn’t happen nearly often enough, but it doesn’t take much, just something a little bit unexpected.

Last week, as the train doors closed and the train pulled away from the station, the driver, who usually says, “Train to Spandau, next stop ..XYZ..”, announced, “In case anyone wanted to know, it is exactly 7:10 am, NOW!….” There was a pause, we all looked round to see who might actually want to know what the time was. Eyebrows were raised slightly. “…And incidentally, have a fantastic morning!”. We smiled, grinned even, and went back to our books, our phones and our vacant gazes out of the windows.

The connection was short, but real.

At the next station we looked up, waited expectantly for the next announcement, “Train to Spandau, next stop XYZ.”

On mince pies and cheesy trees

Line the tins with pastry circles
..and fill with mincemeat
Cut out circles...
..and trees
Brush the lids with egg
Sprinkle sugar on top - I like the crunchy granulated stuff, but caster's fine too


Et voila!


Leftover pastry
Coated in Parmesan cheese and baked, then coated with a gouda tree and baked again..