This afternoon I was on a very determined mission to find the black hole of missing things as the list of missing things has been mounting steadily. I've realised that there's a simple explanation as to why things are going missing: our house is a tip. So the boys were told that we were spending the afternoon having a treasure hunt so that we could find:
- my very expensive watch
- my missing slipper
- my library book
- son 1's school trousers. We're down to one pair. This is not good.
- the charger for the rechargeable camera batteries so that I can actually get some pictures of son 1 in his play next week. The batteries died which meant we failed to capture the our small wailing sheep clinging to his teacher's leg at today's pre-school nativity. Shame really.
Son 2 quickly lost interest in the treasure hunt and decided to run himself a bath instead. As you do when you're 3. He obviously needed a restorative soak in the tub after the stress of his woolly performance. However, while rummaging through the toys in the cupboard under the basin he said very nonchalantly: "here's your watch mummy" handing it to me, before choosing a mouldy submarine to play with.
Fabulous. Tick. Found the first and most important item on the list. So the fact that I asked, begged, pleaded with the boys to let me know if they had stashed my watch anywhere and them denying it emphatically, turns out they had decided my Longines needed to live with some wet, smelly toys. Good.
After that triumph, I set son 1 to work on taking all the shoes, handbags and clothes that have fallen off the hangers and onto the floor, out of the bottom of my cupboard. I asked him to look for my missing slipper and to rearrange the shoes into pairs. He found the slipper. And decided to make a long line of shoe pairs around the bedroom. Not quite what I had in mind, but my lost slipper was found. No more hopping on one foot in the morning. Two quick hits. I was feeling brilliant.
I then rummaged under a pile of clothes that needed to be ironed thinking the missing school trousers might be there and low and behold, the battery charger showed itself. Remarkable. Still no trousers though.
We then set about finding the book. Despite son 1 taking every single book off my study shelf and asking me 'if this is it?' (it never was), we couldn't find it. I shall have to write a novel called 'The mystery of the missing book in the night'.
Anyway, while all of this hunting was going on, I stumbled upon a black, leather bound book that I have used for the last few years to write out my menus for Christmas, New Year, Thanksgiving and other big feasts. Not only have I written out my menus, I've also listed all the ingredients to be purchased in advance and those that need to be bought last minute. Apparently I have OCD and I didn't even know it.
Here's last year's menu for example:
Xmas eve: Salmon canapes (except for me as otherwise my head would have swollen up and exploded), hungarian goulash with braised rice, garlic bread, loose leaf salad and finely shredded red onion, pear cranberry crisp with vanilla bean ice cream.
Xmas morning: Eggs benedicts with salmon or canadian ham, bucks fizz
Xmas lunch: Nigella's super spiced turkey, all spice gravy, gingerbread stuffing, chippolatas in bacon, roast parsnips and potatoes, buttered carrots, green beans with toasted pine nuts, cranberry sauce with port and figs; Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.
While reading this, it occurred to me that Christmas is just 14 days away and I haven't given a minute's thought to this year's Christmas meals. About mid-November I did get my recipe books out and I bought a couple of magazines with Christmas menu ideas in them. And did nothing further. But since then, I've simply had a nagging feeling that I really ought to be doing something about it given that we're hosting people for Christmas eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day all the way through to New Year's Day.
For new year's eve we're holding a small party with a rat pack type theme, plenty of cocktails, Frank Sinatra tunes, and chi chi dresses. I don't have a party frock. I haven't thought about how to make the house pretty or what cocktails to serve (although obviously cosmopolitans will be in there) and I've got as far as saying that I'll make boeuf en croute. And that's that where my planning has started and stopped.
I don't know what's wrong with me this year. Exhaustion possibly? I just seem to be completely lacking in Christmas inspiration. Normally by now I'd be whipping up batches of gingerbread men for the tree and trays of mince pies just for shits and giggles. This year...nothing.
I'm going to have to do something about this otherwise I'll wake up on 24 December and instead of heading off to the farmer's market for my lovely free range pre-ordered turkey, I'll be heading off to Iceland for some turkey twizzlers and a Kerry Katona £5 party platter of nastiness. I must find some inspiration. I must, I must, I must. Just not sure where to find it. Perhaps it's loitering in the same place as my missing book.