Welcome to the fifth day of Christmas, and today my guests are D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies), Lizzie Chantree and Joy Lennick. We will find out more about their most favourite Christmas memories later.
As I continue to reflect on Christmas Past… I came across some pictures of Saas Fee in Austria the Christmas of 1995, here is a mountain shot that I found on Pixabay which is far better than the ones I took with my old camera. It was to be a memorable festive break for more than one reason… We stayed in a lovely hotel which was family run and the guests were mainly German speaking. There was one other English couple and the management kindly put our two tables close together in the dining-room. We actually got on with them very well and over the course of the 10 days we went on some excursions as a foursome. The other thing that the management did to make our stay more enjoyable was to translate their morning newsletter and guide to the day’s menu from German into English.
These were the days before Google Translate was offering such a useful service and I know that the two pager must have taken considerable time to convert especially as there were only four of us who could not speak German. That is true customer service. However, it unfortunately did lead to some hilarity at the breakfast table despite our best efforts to maintain a stiff British upper lip. There were a number of ‘moments’ including our confusion over the ‘Cancer Butter’ to be served with the salmon at dinner (Crab butter) and the title of the Version Original film to be shown at the local cinema ‘The Hard with a Vengeance’ (Die Hard with a Vengeance).
David was hitting the ski slopes every day whilst I explored the trails around Saas Fee by foot. However, between Christmas and New Year the four of us decided to try out the very long toboggan run from the top of the tree line down into the town. Luckily there was a ski lift up to the top where we collected our individual sleds. I was not very proficient to begin with and the other three were soon on their way as I trailed tentatively behind. The route took two hours normally and by the time I got to the last down hill stretch David and our two companions were gathered enjoying a mulled wine and waiting for my arrival. That last slope was both steep and lengthy and I perched over the lip prepared for a fast ride.
At that moment the three of them turned to face the slope and began waving.. as did most of the other spectators. I was quite chuffed by the attention as they all waved both arms over their heads and shouted encouragement. Taking a deep breath I launched myself off and gathered momentum very quickly…. too quickly and barely keeping the sled under control I hurtled downwards towards the waiting crowd. The end of the run ended in a gradual slope upwards to slow the progress of over eager tobogganers.
It was obvious to those watching that I was not going to be stopping anytime soon and the crowd parted as I rushed through them and I heard what they had been shouting to me on the way down as they waved their arms in the air “Ice, Ice, walk down on the edge – don’t do it. I took off from that ramp like Santa and his sleigh and thankfully landed in a snow drift positioned as a precautionary measure…. As I rose to my feet unharmed I turned to find anxious faces peering over the edge. I was laughing with adrenaline overload and with that everybody began clapping and slapping each other on the back… It was obviously the best entertainment in town….
On a lighter note here is some music to get your feet tapping……Mariah Carey with All I Want for Christmas
Time for my first guest and it is D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies who is not just a wonderful friend and supporter of the blog but also a much valued contributor. In particular the monthly Travel Column which has taken us to warm and exotic locations in the Caribbean and The Lesser Antilles…on cruise ships with all the know-how necessary to get the best value and enjoyment from our holiday. Recently Debby has been keeping an eye open for funnies to enhance the Laughter lines including this recent post
Debby shares her very poignant best Christmas Gift ever.. the first year that she was married.
My best Christmas gift was marrying my husband in October 1999. One week after our marriage I became almost fatally ill and spent the first few months of marriage in and out of hospital. The steroids I was put on made me gain a bunch of weight and my face wasn’t spared with the often talked about ‘moonface’ many experience on that drug. I was sick, depressed and couldn’t stand looking in a mirror. My husband caught me secretly crying in the bathroom and asked me what was the matter. I tried to explain how I felt through my fit of tears and here was his response: “I love you to the moon and back. You will always be beautiful to me and that’s all that counts.” If I hadn’t already known I married a prince, I knew in that moment.
My Christmas gift to Debby is a reminder of something I know she is very much looking forward to, especially as Toronto is cold and wet at the moment… her month’s trip to Puerto Vallarta in the New Year… Not long now Debby.
Courtesy of DD Food & Travel
A recent review for Words We Carry Very insightful read. on September 16, 2018
Once in a while you come across a book that really speaks to you. Reading ‘Words We Carry’ by D. G. Kaye was like having friends over for coffee and revealing our innermost secrets or speaking to your mentor about life and how to make it better. The author, who has natural psychology opened my eyes and made me ponder why I react the way I do to certain things or certain people. I enjoyed author, D.G. Kaye’s writing style––so friendly and warm. This book is well written and is easily one that can change someone’s life. I recommend this book to anyone who ever felt insecure, self-conscious or inadequate. An easy 5 star read.
Traditionally on Day five of the Twelve Days of Christmas (29th December), the life and death of St Thomas Becket was remembered. He was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century and was murdered after questioning the ethics of the then King Henry II and his interference with the Church. Unusually St. Thomas Becket is saint and martyr revered by both the Catholic and the Anglican faiths.
Five Gold rings would be welcomed by everyone but over the years there have been various theories on the interpretation of this particular gift. One theory is that all the verses refer to birds in one way or another that were eaten in the 18th century – Partridge, Turtle Doves French Hens, Colley Birds, and the five rings referring to gold ringed pheasants, Geese, swans but then we hit the maids so some work needed on this hypothesis! I would say that it was more about how the lyrics fitted the song and in all the versions that were illustrated it was clearly in the form of actual gold rings.
Time to meet my second guest today and that is award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, who started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.
Lizzie shares her most treasured Christmas gift ever…
On Christmas day, the scent of pine needles and mulled wine are usually enough to bring a smile to my face, but I’ll always remember my children dipping their heads under the tree and giggling in excitement, at giving me what has turned out to be my favourite gift. As I opened the wrapping paper their faces peeped up at me through tissue paper and I turned page after page of photographs of family memories that they had spent hours and hours collecting, and presenting in a photo album, for me. It’s a gift that I will always cherish.
As I would Lizzie… lovely…..
As Lizzie is an award winning inventor, my Christmas gift to her is to virtually try out some of the lastest inventions for work and leisure.. my personal favourite the Orange Screw….courtesy of Quantum Tech HD
You can buy Lizzie Chantree’s books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC
And connect to her on her website: https://lizziechantree.com/
One of the recent reviews for If You Love Me I’m Yours
The author obviously has a love for, and knowledge of art in all its forms …and human nature as well. Clever the way she shows the influence of parents on their offspring, who either try to live up to expectations or deny their true selves to fit in. I felt for repressed artistic Maud, who was impelled to express her talent anonymously and leave her works of art to be picked up by anyone who wanted to give them a home. ( I also loved the brilliant descriptions of her amazing bedroom and her hidden ‘shed’. ) And then poor Dot, who only truly found her talent when she found Maud. The interweaving plot carries you along, willing and hoping for a happy ending for all these engaging characters. Another different story from Lizzie Chantree. It’s as funny and compulsive as her Ninja School Mum. More please.
Since we were in Austria for Christmas that year, it is appropriate that we look at some of their Christmas traditions. According to Why Christmas Austria shares many Christmas traditions with its neighbor Germany, but also has many special Christmas customs of its own. This includes an Advent Wreath made from evergree twigs, with ribbons and four candles for each of the four Sundays in Advent.. when a candle is lit you might hear carols being sung.
Austria and Germany are well known for their Christmas markets with visitors from all over Europe arriving to enjoy the decorations, food and Glühwein (sweet, warm mulled wine).
There will be a large Christmas Tree in the town squares and at home most trees are decorated in gold and silver with straw stars. As in some other European countries December 6th is also celebrated in some homes for Saint Nicholas and children might be lucky to get an extra gift. Otherwise they will have to wait until 4pm on Christmas Eve for the festivities to begin.
The main Christmas Eve meal is Fried Carp for those who are Catholic and observe the day as a Fast, and for others it might be roast goose or turkey which is becoming more popular. Dessert might be the famous Austrian Sachertorte.
As Stille Nacht (Silent Night) was written in Austria in 1818.. here is a wonderful version by the Dresden Choir. Courtesy of Brent Postlethwaite
One of the accompaniments for our traditional Christmas dinner is bread sauce and here is the recipe taken from last week’s full Christmas menu by Carol Taylor
Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use (I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer. The sauce can be made the day before and reheated on the day… I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas we couldn’t have turkey without bread sauce…
About half loaf of good quality stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.
• I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
• 2 bay leaves.
• Salt & Pepper.
• About half pint milk.
- Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- When cool remove Onion and bay leaves. This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.
And for my final guest today, the lovely poet and author Joy Lennick who is enjoying retirement in sunny Spain, but she is not spending all day at the beach as she supports her fellow authors and continues to publish books and blog posts.
Here is Joy in her own words….
Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…including a humour filled book called The Moon is Wearing a Tutu…
And here is Joy’s most precious Christmas gift ever….
Was it the ‘Coronation coach’ filled with iced gems in 1938? Or that ‘war-Christmas’ when we toboganned down an iced hill in Wales……Or appearing in “Mother Goose” at the Theatre Royal? And, one year, I had a new brother like an animated doll. A yuletide party in 1957, singing carols in a beautiful house in Toronto, Canada was special too. But the winner was the Christmas gift of 1959. Having returned to the UK, my doctor said those two magical words:: ‘You’re pregnant!’. Having dreamed of this for six years, it was the best Christmas present EVER.
It is tough to follow that precious a Christmas gift, and it took me some time to find the perfect Christmas present for Joy..
I worked in a hotel in the Snowdonia National Park, at Bontddu on the Mawddach Estuary and love it. There is now a coastal path along the entire length of the Welsh coastline and I thought Joy might like a virtual tour.
Discover Joy’s books read the reviews and buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/
Connect to Joy via her blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
One of the reviews for My Gentle War
I found this book totally enchanting, not just for the way it was written (which was completely original being unfettered by any rules on writing and therefore delivered with great feeling). It evoked some long lost memories from my childhood, of family forgotten or misplaced by faulty memory. I thought of my grandmother clasping a homemade loaf of bread under her arm, giving it a good buttering, then with a large bread knife, sawing it off and setting a ‘doorstep’ sized slice free for jam or honey to follow. I wasn’t born at the time of the war, which doesn’t spoil any of this account and although I know it from history books and oft heard tales, was not a good time to live through, yet I’m left thinking there was another side to these times, told here with great fondness. Sometimes I think we’ve lost a great deal for all our modern ways. This is a lovely book and worth a read. Pat McDonald British Crime Author.
A Snowball is a cocktail made with advocaat and lemonade in equal quantities with a dash of lime juice to cut some of the sweetness.
Advocaat comes from Holland and is made from eggs, sugar and brandy. It looks and tastes like a very luxurious custard and is similar to eggnog but whereas you can enjoy a non-alcoholic eggnog a snowball is not for all the family…..There are a number of variations using egg yolks, aromatic spirits, honey, brandy and sometimes cream. The best commercial brands on the market are Bols and DeKuyper.
I hope you have enjoyed meeting my guests, the music, food and of course a snowball or two.. thanks for dropping in and please let us know what your most favourite Christmas Gift of all time is. thanks Sally