24 December 2019


At Christmastime, I have got in the habit of e-mailing a "card" to known people who mean something to me but are not on our list to receive physical mailed cards. This year's e-mail "card" uses a photograph I took in February of this year when walking near the town of Mirepoix in the foothills of The French Pyrenees.

Among others, I sent it to blogging friends Graham Edwards, John Gray and Kate Steeds but if I had had all regular visitors' e-mail addresses, I would have sent it to them too.

It is just turned midnight on Christmas Eve and in ten hours Shirley and I will be London-bound.  It will be the first time in thirty five years that we have not enjoyed Christmas at home with a big, fat turkey. Instead, we will be having a vegan Christmas dinner this year with our son Ian. We'll be staying with him for three nights - returning on Thursday afternoon.

I won't be taking this laptop with us so it is possible that I won't  post again till later in the week. In the meantime, I wish you all a Happy Christmas wherever you are and whoever you are with. Let's hope we all make it safely to Christmas 2020.


  1. It's good to step out of tradition now and then and I hope that this year's celebration with your son will be one that stands out in all of the memories.
    There will always be another turkey but I bet you anything that whatever it is that Ian makes for Christmas dinner will be delicious and memorable.
    Enjoy! And love to you and yours from across the big, big pond. We're not having a turkey either but I'll eat a bite of ham for you. How's that?

  2. Hello Neil from the deep South where it is 2.40pm and a pleasant 20 deg.I'm busy in the kitchen preparing for tomorrow's family meal which like yours will for the first time be at the Offspring's house. A roast chicken has historically been our meat of choice as we could never afford the turkey but this year we also have a baked ham to go with the North/South mixture of new potatoes and salads and roast veg. I'm looking forward to just being a contributor rather than host. I'm sure your turkey-less meal will be full of flavoursome treats to distract your taste buds.
    Tonight I'll be singing as usual in the Parish choir for Christmas Mass. It's the most emotional service of the year as thoughts turn to Christmases past and all those no longer with us, family and friends.
    Thanks for all the funny, quirky, informative posts this year, for sharing the personal highs and lows, the magic of your daughter's wedding and your son's tv success and for your amazing photos. What a busy year you have had. Long may this blog continue.
    Enjoy your break. Mere Kirimete, Arohanui Adele

  3. It's always nice to get away. Happy Christmas.

  4. Have a great time at your son's home! Maybe he'll put you to work in the kitchen if you ask nicely :)

    Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  5. A rather stark landscape (not least the cross). Reminds me, to some extent, of my earliest childhood. The first few years of my life I was lucky enough to be brought up by my beloved maternal grandparents; my grandfather, an avid walker, would take me on many a hike which, no doubt, accounts for my muscly legs. Our landscape was varied. There were mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers; the drama of those thin mountain rivers gushing down vaguely unsettling, and meandering paths just like the one in your photo with intermittent crosses and depictions of Mary. One of those shrines along the way I remember in particular. I was only four or so, when things do have potential to leave a major impression. A fox had ravished, I don't know (a chicken?), a rather large bird. Feathers and a bit of gore everywhere. Even Grandfathers can't shield you from reality. Big snow in winter, lush meadows in summer. Happy times.

    Enjoy the feast (ours is, traditionally, goose. Goodman's, Worcester. Hung for ten days. Delivered yesterday. Giblets and all. HA!). Judging by his books, not only will Ian will push the vegan boat out for his parents, he'll leave you stuffed.

    Wishing you and your family an enjoyable and relaxed Christmas. May I call you Neil from now on? Though you will always, first and foremost, be YP to me. In honour of you I shall try and squeeze some Yorkshire Puddings onto the menu between Christmas and New Year.

    Merry Christmas, Gravy Greetings,

  6. Merry Christmas and a Joyous Yuletide to you and yours, Neil.

  7. Have a wonderful time with Ian! A break from the computer during Christmas might be a good thing, especially since you will be with family.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog along with your friendship. May you, Shirley and Ian all have a Peaceful and Merry Christmas!

  8. All the best to you and yours, Mr pudding. May 2020 bring you health and happiness. X

  9. A wonderful Christmas day to you and your family, may you enjoy your vegan meal and stride out once more onto the moors in the New Year.

  10. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all YP. Safe journey.

  11. That is a fabulous scene. Merry Christmas Mr Pudding. Enjoy your vegan delights and I hope Ian doesn't create too much washing up. x

  12. Merry Christmas. Have a safe journey.

  13. Merry Christmas, Pudding.

  14. Merry Christmas to you, Shirley and all the family and friends you will no doubt see during the holidays.
    I am looking forward to reading about your vegan Christmas dinner!
    As always, it will be Wiener sausages and spuds salad for us on Christmas Eve.

  15. Yuletide Felicitations. Have a good one YP.

  16. Happy Christmas, YP. Safe travels for you and Shirley.

  17. Happy Christmas, YP, to you and your family. I hope you'll at least get a Vegan Yorkshire Pudding to live up to your name. All the best for 2020.

  18. Enjoy this "different" christmas. We're never too old to learn some new tricks.

  19. Have a lovely Christmas Mr. and Mrs. Pudding.

  20. Merry Christmas YP, Shirley and the kids.


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