Wednesday 26 December 2012

Christmas with the family

We don't do big gatherings in our family. In fact the family is not huge at the best of times, so whenever half a dozen or more get together, then we call it a big gathering. On Christmas day this year we mustered 9.

This is the matriarch: Jane

Jane successfully fed us all with the traditional Christmas Dinner, complete with all the trimmings - and especially her famous gravy! Jane makes the best gravy in the world, and the whole family love it. Roast dinners just wouldn't be the same without it. Talking, of which, here's us at the dinner-table:

(Note the gravy strategically positioned in the centre of the table, in that big white, blue and yellow jug.)

Now to introduce the rest of the family...

Brother Paul, who lives just down the road from us.

Then there's our No.1 daughter, Emma, seen here explaining the finer points of wine-appreciation to her own No.1, Lara

And here's Emma's husband Dave, with their No.2, Holly, having a lesson on pet-care.

Then there's our daughter No.2, Fiona, with her husband Juan Fernando (from Panama). They are the ones who live in France...

Juan's only failing is a rather too pronounced liking for English-style chocolate. Here he is caught in the act of investigating a tin of Cadbury's Heroes...

Getting a good photo of Lara is never easy these days, since she seldom sits still very long:

Holly doesn't move so quickly just yet, though at just under 8 months she is already crawling enthusiastically and looking as if she will be ready to walk any minute now! Nothing under the height of 3 feet is safe any more.

For travelling to and fro, Emma had dressed Holly in this really delightful (and seasonally appropriate) fluffy Reindeer outfit, complete with antlers!

But I really must show you this - Holly's first encounter with a roast parsnip! As you can see, her initial reaction was one of suspicion, but once she discovered that it was edible and moreover tasted sweet and yummy, she ate two of them. With both of her children Emma has used the "Baby-led Weaning" approach, giving them the opportunity to decide when (and how) to start eating proper food, and exposing them at the earliest stage to the type of food that adults eat. Holly was not particularly enamoured of the roast turkey, but she loved the parsnips and the Brussels Sprouts.

For me, this is what Christmas is about these days: being surrounded by the family and watching the joy on the faces of the grandchildren as they open their presents!

Most of our presents for Lara this year were books, because she is very keen on them. Just three-and-a-half, Lara can already read lots of words, and likes nothing better than having a story read to her. Next year's present may have to be a bookshelf...

Talking of books, I want to finish my post today by showing you a brief glimpse of a lovely present that Emma gave me. It is a book (generated online using Blurb) made from text and pictures from my own blog - Mark's Veg Plot!

This book is devoted mainly to a compilation of the photos from my blog that Emma likes best. She must have spent AGES trawling through my Picasa albums, because I have literally thousands of photos these days!

Did you notice that Emma has called the book "...Vol 1"? Allowing room for future additions, no doubt. Thanks, Emma!


  1. What a wonderful gift Emma has given you Mark!! Truly just a precious gift, that honors your accomplishments.

    Enjoyed seeing your family and your celebrations as well. Lots of smiles all round!

  2. Lovely gift and a busy day for you. I do miss family gatherings.

  3. A brilliant Christmas gift, no doubt vol 2 might be next year?
    Little children make Christmas - lovely to see the little ones enjoying opening their gifts.
    Love Leanne
    Ps we had parsnip from my garden which everyone HAD to say were yummy! But they weren't as nice looking as yours. - Next year!

  4. What a great gift. You have such wonderful photographs that they deserve to be in a book.

  5. Fascinating to see the family pictures - but the book is the mindblowing bit!

    Enjoy the rest of Christmas and have a splendid (vegetable-filled) 2013.


  6. glorious family gathering... well done Jane... and I LOVE that book... what an excellent idea!

  7. A wonderful post Mark,
    That really is a fabulous gift and shows such devotion. You'll surely treasure it.

    It's lovely to take a peek into your Christmas celebrations plus meeting all of the family. But no photo of Grandad??? I know I'm nearly always behind the lens too.

    I think Jane and I need to discuss gravy because I thought I made the best gravy in the world?!?! :$

    Happy Boxing Day...enjoy!

  8. I really enjoyed reliving Christmas lunch through your photos - I love the lone sprout and little slither of parsnip on Holly's highchair!

    That book is amazing! What a gorgeous, thoughtful present!

  9. I loved seeing and reading about your family. Why is it that we love to know about other human beings and their families :-)? Absolutely gorgeous book. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  10. Thanks for sharing your joy with us. What an inviting celebration table you had! Brilliant book idea; your photos are so wonderful. They deserve to be shown off in a book.


  11. What a wonderful gift from your thoughtful daughter - lovely food with your family gathered around is what Christmas is all about isn't it. See you next year Mark

  12. Wow Mark, what a wonderful post! So lovely to see your family and to hear a little more about your life beyond the veg garden!!! Your book is stunning. We own a bookshop and I know it would sell here as a coffee table book just because the pictures are so stunning. If you slipped in a couple of really good recipes and some gardening hints and tips then you'd appeal to the cookery and gardening clientele as well!!!! xxx

  13. Gathering with Family is the best gift!

  14. What a great gift. Your book looks amazing. Think you could start selling those!


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