How Do You Defrost A Turkey Quickly? Asking For A Friend

The red cabbage is out of the oven to the somewhat predictable retching noises from NC – proof that she is a rubbish vegetarian. The presents are wrapped and under the tree – apart from mine, which I have no doubt will be remembered sometime between the closing credits of Elf and bedtime. And the Princess thinks that I haven’t noticed the number of gingerbread biscuits she has snuck from our mouths.

I’m freaking that the turkey won’t be defrosted in time or that I’ve forgotten something major from the list of what I am contributing tomorrow – even though it feels like I’ve done a supermarket sweep of the Coles’ shelves every day of this month. I’m worried that Kurt will forget that tomorrow is the big day and that I need my vacuum back, or that the Princess won’t fit into her outfit.

But we are as ready as we will ever be, or need to be. For we will be in the company of good friends – our surrogate family in Oz – who will forgive me if my turkey gives them listeria or if the pavlova cascades off the plate like a volcano because I didn’t want to put my glass down long enough to whip the cream to soft peaks.

We are lucky, but some are not.

A good friend from the UK posted this on her Facebook timeline a few days ago:

This time of year is not great for everyone, so my house is a safe zone. Coffee or tea can be on in minutes. Wine can be brought out as well. My table is non-judgmental. Any family or friend who needs to chat, eat or drink is welcome. We can talk, share a laugh, a cry, or just listen. If you’re hungry, I’ll feed you. I will always do my best to be available… you are always welcome!! This is an old-school value that has been lost to technology…a text, Facetime, gif or emoji is NOT the equivalent. I’m hoping that at least one friend copies this and posts it if you feel the same. I just did from another friend. Merry Christmas!

Likewise, there’s always room at our table should you find yourself alone on Christmas Day on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

I’ll save the New Year’s reflections and aspirations for 2019 for once the Christmas craziness has died down and I’ve reduced my medication back to its normal dosage. It will give me something to do in that scary vacuum of too much over-thinking time between Christmas and New Year.

But until then, thanks for reading, and a Happy Christmas to everyone!

BTW: How do you defrost a turkey quickly? Asking for a friend.

Everyone Needs A Token Baby Jesus At Christmas

I’ve got earache.

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The Princess was too mature to adorn the silly moustache. Obviously, mine is real!

It’s either payback for jumping into the pool for that revitalising swim on Christmas Day, (sometime between dessert and cheese), to celebrate the end of a glorious lunch that finally made it to the table in spite of my oven’s best attempts at sabotage when it decided to switch off halfway through cooking the turkey.

 

Needless to say, I remained calm, if ‘calm’ can be defined as drowning in a bottle of Moet. You can only imagine the military operation to get it going again – thank you God, Google and the Bosch forum.

 

Or it might have been caused by the swim on Boxing Day morning to help clear the Whisky cobwebs and give the locals a good laugh at my first attempt to glide gracefuly through the water with my new flippers.

 

It was a memorable Christmas Day.

 

If I’m honest, I’ve never understood those people who get super-stressed about cooking what is essentially a posh roast. It’s not the food that maketh the day, it’s the people you share it with. And we were lucky there. Good friends, who have become surrogate family here in Australia, with their new addition this year of the cutest token baby Jesus ever to grace our table and Instagram.

 

You need small children around you at Christmas, especially when your own children have grown up and disappoint you horrbily by sleeping straight through the morning, which left the old man and I twiddling our thumbs, wondering how to start Christmas without them. 

 

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NC tolerating our token Baby Jesus, the closest she will get to a baby, or so she tells me.

NC engaged Santa to deliver the old man and I both a stocking this year – my first since I was fourteen – and I might have shed a tear. The old man surprised me (hmmm) with the best handbag EVAR…as well as some new kitchen scissors (!), and Kurt bought me a mystery book, whose clues to its genre included the keywords ‘humor’, ‘perversion’, ‘sex’ and ‘women.’

 

If ever a son knew his mother….

 

Not everything went perfectly according to plan, OBVIOUSLY. The custard on my trifle never set and had to be sucked up with a straw; there was mild panic when the ‘pigs in blankets’ were still pink inside; Kurt scared the fuck out of our token baby with his impression of Mr Napkin Head, and no-one apart from me touched the Brussel sprouts or red cabbage and so avoided the obligatory flatulence afterwards.

 

Even the fact that the next generation thrashed us at Trivial Pursuit (who the fuck knows the names of the Transformers) couldn’t spoil the day, and nor could Kurt and one of his ‘in between sofas’ mates who turned up at 11pm and drank my entire bottle of Vodka between them. 

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The trifle might have been a tad runny…

 

The old man spent the day clearing away wrapping paper, tutting as he emptied the bottle bin, humming ‘Christmas Is Nearly Over’, and intermittently yelling at Kurt to PUT THE VODKA BOTTLE DOWN. But I’m sure I caught a couple of smiles of near-contentment when he thought I wasn’t looking and he hasn’t started counting the receipts from Myer yet.

 

And new BFFs for this one day of the year, NC and Kurt entertained us towards the end of the evening with their annual drunken dance off; the only time they truly bond, with their joint ‘garden sprinkler’ and ‘filling the shopping trolley’ moves.

 

To crown the day, a moment as pure as ‘Silent Night’ when drunk as a skunk NC moved us all to tears and reminded us of the true meaning of Christmas with her beautiful rendition of Phoebe’s ‘Smelly Cat’.

 

How was your day?