Christmas eve is my time for getting ready for Christmas day as far as the grub is concerned. The goose and red cabbage with apple have been slid out of the freezer and defrosted. I've made the chestnut and apricot stuffing, wrapped prunes and sausages in streaky bacon, simmered the goosey giblets for stock to make the gravy, dug up the parsnips and beetroot for roasting, watched the bread sauce glub on a low heat and made a fish pie for tonight. The house already smells like Christmas, and there's just sprouts to prepare and an apple pie left to make.
I've walked the dogs and listened to the dessicated oak leaves still clinging to the trees tremble and susurrate in the light breeze, and sploshed through the sodden lower fields which stamps out any other sound.
The banks are full of holes. No, I hadn't ventured onto a High Street near you or into the City. The Devon banks are full of holes and the lack of foliage reveals all the rabbit workings, fox diggings, badger scrapings, shrew, vole and stoat earthworks. Every yard reveals recent activity; disturbed earth, droppings, heaps of dried grass, discarded twigs, acorn cups and natural detritus of all kinds.
At 3pm the light starts to fail, at 4.30 all the birds are put away for the night. Christmas is coming, fast and furious. Hope you have a good one.
Our local pub, The George, burned down last night after six centuries of existence. Everyone is shocked by the loss of this beautiful and ancient building, and rumour is rife about how it started.