Christmas stamps, geese, and the problems of doing a Christmas Lunch in Milan!

7.20 p.m.

Hi to all my readers.  The list is growing and there’s now about 6 of you out there reading this!  I can’t believe it and feel quite guilty that I don’t write something much better!

However, on to the subject.  Italians do Christmas stamps.  Not even the Italians know that!  So, you will have seen (but, to be honest, probably didn’t notice) the very special Christmas stamps on the cards I sent!  As with everything else here, getting these is a matter of who you know and not just going to a Post Office.  Luckily, a girl in the office suggested she could get me stamps, if I liked, to save me queuing up at the Post Office.  She ordered them from her Mum, who works in the main Post Office in Milan.  The next day, she presented me with the stamps and, apart from the service, which, of course was superb, I saw that they were Christmas ones.  So I pointed this out to several people who all said, including the girl, V, that they didn’t even know that Italy had Christmas stamps and had never seen the like before!  So, if you didnt throw the envelope away, save it as they are rare stamps, I guess!

So we have geese (two because we are catering for 10 this year).  One is now in the oven.  Quite expensive here because they don’t really do the goose thing at Christmas.  However, we are lucky in that the local butcher (literally, just round the corner), does geese.  This year they look particularly good – or maybe I am hungry.  Sprouts, I can only find them at one supermarket near us and I bought all their stock.  Cooking apples have not been so easy, so I have some slightly sour desert ones, which will have to do.

Parsnips are not sold here at all, so they are being brought from the UK, with our UK visitors.  Can’t wait as I find I really miss the stupid things, parsnips being one of them.  Bread sauce is OK as I make my own.

This year (as there are so many) I have made two trifles (or Ethel’s Trifle, as my American friend, N, likes to call them), thanks Nan for a desert that everyone loves.  Miss you & Bampa loads and I’m sure you would have loved it here.  Also done a Lemon Meringue Pie and, because I haven’t done one for ages, a Ginger Biscuit Log.  The ginger biscuits aren’t brilliant.  Had to buy them from Ikea as that’s the only place that seems to have them and they are a bit on the thin side, but it looks OK, so we’ll see.

Can’t get Stilton, but have a really fantastic Gorgonzola which we got from Novi last week, plus some ham to die for and some really wonderful salami called Varze or Verze, that we really love and we can only get around Novi.  We have so much wine, liquers, port and baileys that either everyone will be drunk by mid-day or we will have enough to last us well into the New Year.  Well, maybe mid-January.

Thanks to all who sent Christmas cards – real or via the internet.  I particularly loved J and K F’s email card, which, every year, is quite stunning.  Thanks, also, to those who sent emails.  It’s so nice to hear from friends at this time of year.

Anyway, have to go and get ready as we are going to N and S’s for Christmas Eve dinner – which should include eel, if S has managed to get some.  Will finish this later – but may be a bit drunk, so let me apologise in advance.

See you later.

Well, I wasn’t drunk, but I was far too tired.  We didn’t have eel, but we did have a lovely chilli.  We did go to Midnight Mass, but I’m not sure why.

And now it’s just gone 7.30 on Christmas morning and I’m up because I’m doing the cooking.  I expect everyone else is asleep.

Anyway, have a lovely Christmas.  And, in case I don’t write anything before, a very Happy New Year.

Ciao

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