Christmas food on Orkney ...

Mark and the gin !
Porkney Pies - all eaten!

About 2 – maybe 3 – weeks ago, Mark and I wandered up to the Dounby butcherto do our “Christmas order”. This was going to be something of a challenge as we hadn’t actually decided what we wanted to eat on Christmas day! Goose was off the list (very expensive and after trying it two years ago we weren’t that keen). Turkey – well they are so BIG and you .. or we … eat the thing for months. And as I am not overly gone on turkey we had decided we probably wouldn’t go for turkey.

So … after talking to Barbara we ordered a capon (look it up if you don’t know what it is exactly, not going to go into graphic detail here). And a piece of gammon which Barbara told us was brining as we shopped. And some sausages – if you are on Orkney and haven’t tried her beef and caramelised onion sausages beat a path to her door NOW. They are delicious. Some pork sausages. And some pork chipolatas to go with the capon. Streaky and back bacon. And Barbara told us about the different stuffings she was going to make so two different types were ordered. Eggs were added to the haul. Followed by lovely muddy grown-in-earth carrots in a variety of colours, ditto parsnips, beetroot and a neap.

All to be collected the day before Christmas eve.

The day before that – the Thursday - Mark had a phone call that he reckoned made his Christmas complete, from George Bain. Paint and Wallpaper supplier. Yes really. To say that the special paint to cover up the knots that had come through (owing to the original decorator being in a hurry and not using knotting before painting with a water based gloss) had been delivered. So you see we simply had to go into town to collect it. And as it was late-night shopping, we went for a wander … which turned out rather expensive as we tried a new gin at Kirkness & Gowrie. And it was rather good. Well very good actually. So we had to buy it. And the delightful Porkney Pies from the Porkney Pie Company. Then as we walked out we turned to each other and said “that gin would make a cracking martini”. So we had to go to Tesco (sigh) to get the martini. Obviously.

So come the Friday we went to Dounby a howling gale. We had 60 mph winds here – and bear in mind Mill Cottage is quite sheltered – but the open road was still pretty windy !! Came back with all our goodies … and battened down the hatches. Dustbins into the garage, anything that might blow around put away. And settled down to a very quiet but one of the most relaxed Christmases ever …

Today is Thursday 29th December, and as I write this we have enjoyed a lovely “week of Sundays”. Late to bed each night, replete with good food, good wine and relaxed. And oversleeping every morning ! We decided that – given that Storm Conor, the second one to hit us over Christmas – was going strong on the Monday when the Ba’ was held, we would see if it died down and perhaps go in later to watch for a while. But we were well and truly thwarted by the Ba’ being over in a near-record 20 minutes. So that put paid to that idea and we stayed put. However, we have been out and photographed places, pottered in the house, cut back some of the hedges and overgrown bits in the garden, started on tidying the garage (well, Mark has), made a brief foray to the Co-op for milk, raisins and tomato puree, baked some bread, started to build a Lego HotRod, programmed Alexa (Amazon Echo) cooked good food watched rubbishy films on TV and generally enjoyed an extended break. And there are still some days to come … getting used to this could be dangerous as getting back to work next week is not looking great.

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