Seasons treacheries

Tree decoration

'Tis the season to be jolly... and to attend many and varied social gatherings. But the hidden pitfalls to all this fun and frivolity are untold.

Two people close to me insist on celebrating their birthdays right before Christmas. Despite our endless requests, they have resolutely refused to change the anniversary of their births. And so amongst the Christmas preparations and parties we must also squeeze in birthday celebrations.

This year was no different and the first occasion was planned: brunch at a park cafe. Lovely.

Given the time that brunch is generally consumed the most junior recipe tester and I planned on delivering two slightly larger recipe testers to school and continuing directly to the party. This plan was executed with military precision, until, on pulling away from the school, I realised the birthday present was still sitting on the kitchen bench.

We rounded the block and headed home to retrieve it. Giving the junior recipe tester strict instructions not to get out of the car, I ran back into the house to retrieve the present and was back to the car in record time. The gift I placed on the seat beside me. The keys, however, were safely on the kitchen bench where the present once sat.

I am unsure how many times this year I have confessed in this forum to misplaced keys. It is more than I am willing to admit. Regrettably, it represents only about half of the times I've done it. I have since asked Santa for a lanyard and have made a New Year's resolution to tie my keys round my neck. Permanently.

Due expressly to my propensity to be without keys (the senior recipe tester has never done it in his life) we now have an emergency plan and I was able to break back into the house, retrieve the keys and reverse out of the driveway.

This whole procedure took such a long time we were now running late for the party. Not to be impolite, I phoned ahead to warn the party organiser of my tardiness. The birthday girl answered the phone.

"I'm running late, but I'll be there in 15mins."

There was a pause at the end of the phone. It was at that moment I became aware that it was a surprise birthday party. My attendance had not previously been shared with the person whose birth we were to celebrate.

Our cover blown and the surprise plan irrevocably stuffed, we continued. We arrived ready for a relaxed, if not surprising, brunch. I pulled into a parking spot and switched the car off. Removing the key from the ignition it split into two pieces. I was left holding the half with the lock/unlock buttons. The key itself, now a stump, remained in the ignition...

The treacheries to attending parties at this time of year are unfathomable. If you're finding this celebratory season a bit much you may find calm and solace in having dinner done for you.

Next week is our final week of deliveries before Christmas. We'll then be taking a short break and will be back on the road in the new year. We're delivering through January so you can have a holiday from cooking!

From all of us at Dinner on the Table, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessing-filled 2016. Thank you for letting us cook your dinner. We look forward to more of the same in 2016.

As always, please contact me with queries, for lists of ingredients or for recipes.

Order by Friday night for dinners delivered next Tuesday.

At the end of every day we all need dinner on the table. And I look forward to cooking it for you.