On Friday it was Christmas eve and we went to a friends house for dinner. There were 2 kids there so there was a bit of entertainment for kids. Some dumb charades. Anyway one of the guests was Swedish and she was in charge of starters. So we had Swedish Meatballs, salmon with Swedish mustard, herring in a cream sauce all accompanied with Swedish Crisp Bread. She also made a Swedish Glogg or Mulled wine. We had to make mash potato, Catalan Spinach and Duck with Orange sauce. Lots of food and it turned out well. We realised that buying quality food makes a difference to the output and most people don't spend on quality food [unfortunately]. Mind you this has nothing do do with the all- time big con game of Organic food. I am talking of just buying good quality produce from non supermarkets. Anyway be that as it was, it was a good evening.
Saturday was Christmas day and everything and I mean everything is shut. So we stayed home and had a good lunch of fried eggs and ham. Dinner was pork chops from our butcher. Please see the label. We made pork chops with garlic and rosemary with lemon squeezed on top. Had some mushrooms left over, so sauteed them in butter. A brilliant salad of baby spinach. Eating raw spinach is such good fun. So tasty. Pity we cant do it at home. Lovely thick cut oven chips with mayo and some french [sharp] mustard. Washed down with some really expensive [and thankfully] good Champagne and some Pouilly Fume. What fun.
Today was/is Boxing day. Many shops have started their sales. After a shawarma for an early lunch we set out onto Oxford street. This was amazing. The whole road was a throbbing mass of expatriates, aliens, penguins and non English speaking people. I have not seen such large numbers of non English, bargain hunters in my life. It was disgusting. The street was full of desis badly dressed, every Pole, Russian, Slav and East European, every woman in a Hijab in its various forms looking like penguins accompanied by her bearded husband and every single Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian et al. and every single black from either dark Africa or the Caribbean. I have not heard so much Hindi spoken every Indian Paki from wembley, Southall, Harrow or Hounslow was on Oxford street. In the middle of this came a `jhund' of drum banging and chanting Hare Krishna devotees with the fake ecstasy associated with them causing a greater commotion. It was awful. No self respecting Londoner or Japanese was on the street. They were spending quality time with their families. This was the dregs of society shopping for bargains. This is another way of differentiating between USA and UK. In the UK you barely have a day or two of sales. In the USA every holiday is preceded by a sale. Labour Day sale, President Day Sale, Thanksgiving, Black Friday etc etc. There is no pent up demand in the USA.There were lines to get into Selfridges, Sunglass Hut etc. Mind you Harrods and M&S sales are opening tom. So that should be real madness.
We have probably underestimated what Christmas is here. We have not been able to do so many of the things that we would normally have done if we were in London. I have mixed feelings if this is something that should be repeated.