Keep flat. Serving suggestion 400g.

At last – a cakerista who gets the instructions correct for Spendmas.

[See lower left-hand corner of lead image.]

I am very good (Olympic Gold standard) at keeping flat, and since 400g is the whole cake they must have read my mind, such as is left of it. ‘Whole cake’ is my very favouritest “serving suggestion”.

Anyway, that’s my Spendmas Day sorted, thanks to a large Red Cross Mystery Box from the Sis (as yet unopened – I have a modicum of self-control), a bottle of sipping-gin from the Bro and a slice of iced fruitbat from ASDA. Sis and Bro are both awarded an hour each on the Naughty Step for including me in Spendmas (but thank’ee both kindly as well)!

Oh there’ll like as not be open-fire roasted crumpets and pikelets for brekkers and the occasional Brussels sprout and Sage & Onion stuffing sandwich for tiffin, too. I am not one to neglect the lesser-known food groups, and STODGE is an important part of the narrowboater diet*.

*I am not on The Narrowboater Diet, mention here does not imply endorsement or a requirement to lose weight. The Scientific Data indicates that following The Narrowboater Diet will not help in re reducing body-mass index. E&OE.

*Not affiliated with S.T.O.D.G.E., the criminal and espionage specialists.


I added to the Apocalypse Comestibles yesterday by meeting a hairy Comestibles Dealer from ASDA (Every LIDL Helps) in the car park of the local marina, Venetian.

After a lonely but short vigil the lurid green van hove into view and stopped at the gate.

[Wasn’t Vigil the one who was always stuck on the space station, Thunderbird 5? Had B.O. and questionable personal habits, and nobody liked him anyway, that one?]

Headlights were flashed in code (M.R.H.U.T.S.O.N.O.R.D.E.R.N.U.M.B.E.R.

I used my small but powerful Boy Scout-issue torch to de dah dah dit dit a reply (Y.E.S.Y.O.U.P.I.L.L.O.C.K.A.N.D.I.A.M.C.O.L.D.S.O.G.E.T.O.V.E.R.H.E.R.E.A.N.D.G.I.V.E.M.E.M.Y.S.P.R.O.U.T.S.B.E.F.O.R.E.I.K.I.C.K.Y.O.U.U.P.T.H.E.E.X.H.A.U.S.T.P.I.P.E.) and we agreed on use of Parking Space Number 11.

There then ensued some slight professional embarrassment when my Bread Dealer also arrived, brim of hat pulled down low, collar raised, glances furtive, a selection of freshly-baked crusty delights inside the raincoat cash only please (which reminds me…) and do make your selection quickly; for tis likely that the Bread Rozzers are about.

[I selected a large unsliced with squidgy interior and elastic crust, perfect for one thousand and one recipes involving the toaster and Mardymite and/or Pimm’s Special Edition Strawberry, Tangerine & Mint Preserve. My bread dealer then melted away into the shadows and we could both stop listening out for the waah-waah blupp blup-bluup of the sirens of a Bread Patrol vehicle.]

Not some little portion of my vigil (or was that Alan?) was spent alongside a large container of self-warming grit/salt, pondering its use during the depths of winter to give boats some grip and purchase when the canal freezes over.

I think that the idea is that it is mixed with the water, and makes it easier for boats to get up and down the lock safely. What will they thunk of next, eh?

Ah well.

In Meteorological terms it has been “…bleedin’ freezin’ mate…” o’degrees here of late, with that flavour of bone-dampening cold so much preferred by a small island bobbing about in the North Atlantic

or to put it another way, as the Vicar oft said during choir practice

and, when you consider and factor in the obliquity of the planet which in Imperial Measurements is today roughly 23.439281° of angular angle, it’s no ruddy wonder that most of us can’t walk upright after several gins. We’re too busy holding on for dear life.

Life eh?

How I remember it well.

Well, I sort of remember it, vaguely.

Here in Blingshire in the top-middle left sort of corner of England we are, methinks, in legal if not moral terms, under El Lockdown Tier II, Sub-Section Chihuahua, but with proscriptions on the use of suede footwear on alternate Wednesdays and Thursdays unless permitted by a permission slip from a member of The Established Clergy. Or something. No more than six people may gather outdoors unless playing professional football and/or pulling down statues of ancient worthies.

English football, obviously, not that American nonsense that’s more akin to Scottish Rugby.

This is patently very silly indeed, since one cannot by any means see the whole of the outdoors from here, so how may we be in any way certain that no more than six people are meeting outdoors in the totality of the county at any one moment? They really ought to blow a whistle or something, when it’s our neighbourhood’s turn.

I’ve lost it again, haven’t I?

Oh well, I never did have much of a grip on it.

We did, a couple of evenings since, have a most splendid sun-settery.

Personally, I blame the ra-a-a-ains down in A-a-a-frica (I hear drums echoing tonight – this is a dangerous neighbourhood for a plump, oven-ready chap – but she hears only whispers of some quiet conversa-a-a-a-tion).

Who the helly-hell this “she” is I have no idea, but I do wish that she’d stop listening in.

Right, I must away, chaps, and tend to my Batteries Domestique. We had a brief hint of pale and weak sunshine this morning, but we’re back in the fullness of our political dull grey murk again now. Isn’t it splendid how they make the weather match the mood of the country?

Chin-chin one and all. Don’t forget to fork the awling birds and threef the wrench hens and to toot the urtle doves (other carols are available). I shall be finding and mayhap even installing my Spendmas decorations today. I’ll show them in a future blog post, and you will be utterly amazed and shocked and awed.


Aye, well.

Ian H., &etc.


  1. Do you have a ‘new’ old Spanish custom of your festivities on Cardinal Wolsey over Christmas and new year? If so I would love to know. I like to live vicariously imagining our peoples’ junketing, frolicking and general over-indulging of a Yuletide season? Bread does seem to figure largely in your countdown, countover and countafter to Christmas and beyond… Have you thought of bread sauce sandwiches yet? What about gilding the three tofu (knitted, crocheted and french knitted) bird you veggies love at Christmas it sure beats a nut roast, nuts down. Do tell…



  2. For some reason the Christmas spirit returned in the shape of the Twelve Days of Christmas, rugby club version. It is infuriating as I can remember all the way down from the six convicted vicars to My lord Montagu of Beaulieu while the numbers from 12 to 7 elude me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My goodness me but I found some fruity shanties when searching for the rugby club version of TTDoC! – Some of them vast improvements, although perhaps not suitable for children under thirty…

      With you entirely on the numbers twelve to seven – arithmetic was never my strong point too.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve just been to the posty box to posty me Spendmas cards. It was full to overflowingy and my cards fell out. (Not joking! It actually happened) so I had to take then to the posty official place where they only allow 6 people in at once.
    Weather score today: sunshine nil, cloud 100000000000000. Cold here too even in the bottom right of the country.
    Looking forward to seeing your Spendmas decorations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bottom right of the country? You’re practically on the equator there! 😉

      I’d love to send out Christmas cards, but I just can’t find any that I like enough to send. A photo of a drunken bum Father Christmas smoking a Camberwell Carrot, or of reindeer running amok on the M6 in rush-hour traffic. The ones available all seem to be too “nicey-nicey”…


  4. Incredibly you have so much sun to see set over there in the not too distance away, I suppose it had to be somewhere other than here. There’s an abundance of cold over here too. Was intrigued by the bread dealer, what sort of white powder is it made with? I miss fresh crusty chiabatta which I can’t seem to get delivered, it’s always well not crusty and contains garlic, can’t have everything I suppose. Glad you are with brussels this year, you can’t have too many of those, can you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The sun was indeed a surprise appearance not marked on the bill. I suspect that it was an error on someone’s part…

      Bread is an evil invention. Hot, moist, fresh-from-the-dealer bread is sublime. Evil, but sublime.



      1. I’ve started making my own. Only once a week, though. It’s a time consuming job. But it’s busy busy, then a long wait while the yeast thinks about whether it’s warm enough to do its stuff and produce the carbon dioxide to make the dough rise, then busy busy again.
        Still, the product is well worth it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Making bread is a most peculiar process – lovingly combining ingredients… and then waiting, waiting, waiting for a minuscule organism to have flatulence.

          My bread is usually fifty-fifty. Half of the time it’s fantastic, the other half it turns out like a house-brick. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.