On making the first mince pies of the season (or ever)

I don’t remember the last time I waited until this close to Christmas to start making mince pies…

Last night, a friend came over. She’s German and had never even heard of mince pies, let alone thought about making one. That obviously had to be rectified. Here’s the process of rectification:

Pre-rolled puff pastry. It was supposed to be specially amazing with extra butter, but it was sticky and soft and just generally hard to work with – next time I’ll stick to the usual stuff 🙂
Normal sized tray – miniature moulds
6 rolls of puff pastry later there was still mince meat left in the first of 6 litre-tubs…
No way I’m going to faff about with a pastry brush – I dunk the lids in a mixture of milk and beaten egg, push one side into the top of a pile of sugar and hope they land sugar side up when I throw them towards the cases…
The first plateful (proper sized) – mostly straight out of the oven

🙂 🙂 🙂 I think she done good 🙂 🙂 🙂
(Photos feature my friend’s hands – I was wielding the camera :))

On the first weekend of Advent…

…thou shalt decorate thy house.

It doesn’t matter what else needs doing, 

all will be dropped, it’s time for decorations.

Do not miss out any  opportunity to put lights up

No space is too out of the way for a statue or two…

On not talking about Christmas

It’s the 25th of November.

That makes it exactly a month until Christmas.

I am ignoring that, and all other Christmas related things.

Between now and then, I have:

4 exams to revise for

a book to finish compiling and find pictures for and format and send off in time for printing

3 aquariums to look after, including water changes, getting rid of the duckweed and reinstalling a pump/filter

a 10 day holiday which DB wants to cancel because I’m planning on revising through it and he thinks staying here and working is more efficient…

I think I might not acknowledge that Christmas is even a thing until the 23rd when I will already be on the way home, and passed caring too much.

On breaking the spoon

It’s nearly my birthday, which means it’s mincemeat making month 🙂

Originally I planned to spend Sunday afternoon chopping apples and peeling lemons and squeezing oranges in a yearly tradition of stickiness. Then a phone conversation happened and I ran out of afternoon before I ran out of things to say.

When I got home from work today, I discovered that the first of the lemons I washed on Sunday were peacefully going mouldy at the bottom of the fruit bowl.

Time to wash the rest, and get started on the mincemeat project.

Just when everything was in the saucepan and I thought I was almost finished, I broke my wooden spoon.

Luckily I have a second wooden spoon spare…

On flying home* for Christmas

Two weeks ago I bought a ticket for a flight to Berlin.

Last week I checked in online, printed my boarding card and packed my bag.

On Friday I got a train from work to the airport (and was there on time), went through security, unpacking and repacking most of my suitcase in the process.

Once on the other side, I scanned the departures board to find my gate. I got there with a few minutes to spare.

Half an hour or so later I was still waiting. No one had said anything about a delay, but I fly fairly often and they rarely bother to inform you if it’s less than an hour or so.

Anyway, I phoned the DB to let him know that I would be late and that he didn’t need to set off yet. He was already on the road and asked me how I could phone him from the air. I did a slight double take, and told him I was still waiting for take-off. He’d apparently checked the website and it had told him I was in the air. This caused a puzzled silence.

Turns out there were 2 machines scheduled to fly to Berlin simultaneously with 2 different airlines. I hadn’t checked the departures board properly, and hadn’t even registered the miniature symbol in the corner of the screen at the gate.

I asked the hassled people at the gate if I could fly with them instead (there weren’t many people waiting) but obviously that wasn’t going to happen, they couldn’t even sell me a ticket for the flight because they’d already started boarding (at least on the computer).

After I checking the alternative Berlin gate and finding no one there, I went back to the main hall.

It appears one isn’t allowed to go through security the wrong way. You have to be locked in a small box first which then opens on the other side.

Almost an hour and a lot of talking later I got my ticket rebooked for the next flight.

(In the meantime I’d phoned the DB a couple of times, spoken to the staff at all the airline help desks including asking the other airline how much tickets cost for their next flight, but their computer booking system was down and the bloke said it would be extortionate being as how it was so late. It isn’t their policy to fill as many seats as possible…).

I went through security for the second (third if you count going the wrong way too) but this time it was full and I didn’t bleep.

The plane was delayed by about 15 minutes and once on the runway we had to wait for ages because of an accident.

The flight itself was non-eventful but man, was I glad to get to Berlin.


*Berlin isn’t my home, but DB’s…

On landlords, strange noises and holidays

Well.. that was weird.

I was in my dining room, with music on, when I heard a noise in the hall. It sounded like something opening; a door or a cupboard or something. Living by myself means if I’m not opening anything, nothing should be being opened. So I went to look.

Apparently my landlord had heard a noise too and come to investigate. Only he’d heard a different sort of noise and created the one I heard by letting himself into my house.


I’d told them (technically I told his wife) I was going away for Christmas and not told them I was back, so I suppose I don’t mind them checking that everything’s ok… Not sure I appreciate them coming in without ringing the bell though. Even if ringing when you’re sure enough that whoever you’re visiting is away to make it necessary to check everything’s ok is kind of silly. But if they’re not there, they won’t know how many times you ring, and if they ARE, then it saves yourself the embarrassment of being caught red-handed breaking into your tennant’s house like my landlord just was.

Now to look for the ‘Original Noise’, the one he’d heard, the one that caused all this breaking unlocking and entering.

‘peep-peep-peep    peep-peep-peep   peep-peep-peep’ (his description of The Noise)

Sounds like an alarm clock to me. Or a baby chicken.

I don’t have any baby chickens. And all my alarm clocks are unplugged (ooh! must remember to plug them in over the course of the day) so the only thing that could make peep noises is my phone. Since I got up it’s been lying on my desk in the dining room. Silently.


It’s a mystery. I will have to look for stray chickens.