Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The pleasures of hibernation

Brrr... baby it's cold outside! I'm deeply hunkered down into the couch, furry slippers on my feet. I walked home in the dark with a cold wind blowing through my hair and making my ears ache. It's hibernation time.

So, what are some of the pleasures of this time of year?

Mulled cider

Photo: John Wright
I'd never had mulled cider until I moved to Bristol (the South-West of England is a big cider region). I recommend you give it a go as it's delicious!

Recipes vary wildly but my suggestions include:

* Making sure it doesn't boil (or it'll lose all its alcohol)
* Adding traditional spices like cinnamon, a little nutmeg, about six cloves.
* Peel the skin off an orange in small strips and add.
 * Be cautious about adding sugar. Use caster sugar so it disolves more easily and taste after every dessert spoonful. A lot depends on how dry your cider is.
* Add an extra slosh of Calvados (apple brandy) or dark rum when serving.

Rugging up


Now it's gotten properly cold I can wear a jumper or cardigan to work all day and not get too hot. Often I'm in a scarf most of the day too. Gloves are a necessity for walking outside and I'm back to being grateful for my warm wool and cashmere duffle coat.

I'm carrying a few more pounds that I have for a while, but winter clothes are so forgiving that I'm okay with it for now.

Also, I can pull tights over my dry, white, unwaxed legs (sounds appealing, non? Luckily my husband doesn't care and nor do I).








There are many lovely festive things about December but robins are one of my favourite. They sing beautifully, they're unshakably perky and cute, they're quite tame and common enough that you're likely to see them regularly.

The only slightly odd thing is that they're clearly orange at the front, not red as popular culture insists. Wikipedia informs me that the colour name 'orange' didn't exist in England 'till the 16th Century as the fruit hadn't been imported yet.

Anyway, they're lovely and particularly good on bare winter branches.

So, I'm enjoying a nice quiet week at home after all my gallivanting. What about you - are you hibernating or running around like a mad thing? Or is it summer where you are?

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