Yesterday, being the second day of the school holidays, I was driven to desperate measures. Indeed, pushed straight over the brink, I was merely hanging onto my sanity by the barest of fingertips. The kids were asleep. My husband was there to mind the fort. It was almost 10.00PM and I had to get to the bottle shop. I couldn’t wait!
Of course, it wasn’t for me.
I swear it wasn’t.
It was for my Christmas Cake. I’d found an interesting recipe on the back of my Christmas cards and I had to try it out. With only a few sleeps before Christmas, there wasn’t any time to waste. Not that it would be ready in time. Like all Christmas cakes, it has to rest and this one needs more rest than most.
However, if I was a Christmas Cake and I’d drunk an entire cup of straight brandy, I’d need an extended rest too. Indeed, I’d probably need my stomach pumped. Unlike the Christmas cake, I’m not much of a drinker and a humble cup of tea usually does me.
So, there I was cruising the streets at night, desperately needing my cup of brandy. Yet, much to my horror, all the bottle shops were shut. I mean…where’s the Christmas spirit? Evidently, you needed to go to the pub for that.
Go to the pub? Was I that desperate, that unabashed, that I could front up to the bar with my pink melamine measuring cup and order a cup of brandy?
Yes! I was.
As I said, it wasn’t for me. It was for the Christmas cake. Surely, the pub would have a bit of compassion for someone making a Christmas cake a few days before Christmas?
Still, I could see all those bar flies with their huge, bug eyes are staring at me like rotting flesh.
Even I have to admit it’s weird…like a scene out of Fawlty Towers, Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em or some more recent comedy show.
I’ve been known to cause embarrassment before, but this would have taken the cake (forgive the pun).
We live in a beach side town and while there are plenty of people living here, it’s yet another insular peninsula. Nothing’s private. Everybody knows your business and I can tell you that some old chook turning up at the bar ordering brandy in a measuring cup, would not go unnoticed. I’d be the talk of the town and for all the wrong reasons.
Yet, hasn’t anyone else ever been caught out trying to make a Christmas cake a few days before Christmas? Surely, after thousands of years of celebrating Christmas, I am not the only one…the very first?!!
By the way, if you’ve never made your own Christmas Cake, you probably don’t know about their heavy drinking habits.
Of course, they have all sorts of excuses. I mean, if I earned a dollar for every time I’ve heard a Christmas cake blame the dried fruit, I’d be a very wealthy woman. But you try giving a thirsty Christmas Cake a few glasses of water, and you’ll soon see their true colours. They’ll be throwing that slice of lemon straight back at you and demanding the hard stuff…whiskey, brandy, rum. If you’re on a budget, you might be lucky. They might settle for a sherry, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. These Christmas cakes hold nothing back and that’s why they’re always at the very top of Santa’s Naughty List.
Indeed, if you drank a cup of straight brandy, I’m sure you’d be at the top of the Naughty List too!
With the bottle shops shut and feeling too intimidated to go to the pub, I did consider Facebooking a few friends. Who could I pop in on at 10.00PM asking for a cup of brandy rather than the usual cup of sugar? I’m sure we all know a few likely characters, but by this stage, I’d finally accepted defeat. I decided to head back to the bottle shop in the morning.
Meanwhile, before I call it a night, I have some advice for Santa.
Beware of eating too much Christmas Cake. I don’t know if they have random breath testing for sleighs, but you don’t want to end up at the top of your own naughty list.
I’m not quite sure how many standard drinks are going to be in this Christmas cake by the time it’s done. Although much of the alcohol will be cooked out of the cake, you keep adding it as it ferments. It’s going to be sozzled.
So, my piece of wisdom for this Christmas…
Be careful before you eat and drive!
Don’t say you haven’t been warned!
Wishing you a cautious Merry Christmas and some moderated “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
I must admit it feel odd walking out of the bottle shop at lunch time with a bottle in a brown paper bag. It’s not mine! I swear it’s not mine!