We're a month back from Yorkshire, and I'd like to report that British men are looking good! They were wrapped in chic cardigans and scarfs, shoes polished and witty charm on full blast. Of course, my husband has nothing to fear. He keeps a closet of clothes at my parents' house: wet weather things and tennis whites acquired fifteen years ago at Pescadero's thrift shop. A fine establishment, and naturally my husband looks very fine, as you'll notice from the photo.

You can't have everything - slick cardigans, witty charm, ready cash… - but I have got the most wonderful cook. Our New Year's Eve feast was pheasant and goose, prepared by my husband with assistant son and nephew. We ordered the birds from the extremely well-supported local farm shops in Yorkshire. Most people shop locally in the country; each small town might have three or four butchers, each with their own specialty sausages, for example.

I love the festivities and routines of Christmas in Yorkshire. It's both a fizzingly exciting whirl of cooking and singing and cold weather and everybody off work, and a recharging, peaceful reassurance of the pleasures of childhood. On New Year's Eve, we had cocktails and canapes at my parents', moved on to neighbors, and ended up at Tony's house, dinner having being cooked in three ovens in three different houses. There were millions of candles, Andrew and Griff brought Andrew's famous amaretto trifle, and we ended up with two hours of fireworks in the freezing night.

Tony was away, with family in the Lake District, so he couldn't see the party devastation of his house. The very last wine glass was put away as he returned the next day.. Here's to 2009!


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