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Mince pie days

I've been held up by tech issues and a birthday. I think I’m always slightly relieved when my birthday is over and the onus on having a ‘special day’ is over. But I shouldn’t be grinchy about it especially this year which is my first bonus birthday. I thought that if I died tomorrow it would’ve been worth the operation even for a few weeks of normal breathing.

Here is a pic of my first batch of mince pies on a beautiful Astier du Villatte cake plate which was a birthday present. The photo does justice to neither ! But marks the beginning of the mince pie period of about 2 weeks.

I did have a lovely birthday with a really nice dinner with friends on Saturday. I managed to find radicchio and we had a salad with that and a walnut and anchovy dressing, then roast partridge with pickled blackberries, and caramelised brandy pears with fennel and hazelnut crackers. Really good. Too much champagne and Armagnac too and we polished off a box of chocolates.

Yesterday we had Lucy , Zoe and Flora here so had a vegan spread with aubergine and pea curry and coconut dahl with M’s delicious chapatis.

Watching Succession; can’t believe how vile they all are. The Crown has become duller and duller and I’m pretty sure where we’re up to will be about Mountbatten’s murder so will be another downer episode.

I have a bit of a gap now between Papworth appts and don’t go back ‘til beginning of January. I feel a bit anxious and cast adrift although have got blood tests booked for next week. I am desperate to reduce my steroids which I’ve decided are the root of all my problems; leg pain, bloating etc. But have to wait for blood test results.

The tree is up and loaded with decorations so we’re all set for that. Another feast to come. I have also been incontinent with present buying which I also blame on the steroids.

I haven’t got much painting done as I’m feeling a bit a bit ants in pants (steroids!) although I am pleased with my orange acrylic:

Art group is on holiday until January so I don't have that impetus. I may go to the local village book group later; the book is The Silence of The Girls by Pat Barker. I don't know any of the people involved although met one at wreath making so I am curious to see how it runs although I think it's only just got started.

I finished the book just now but read it at break neck speed in time for the group. I like Pat Barker but didn't get classically educated so don't know the Greek myths well enough to understand fully the story it was based on although essentially it's all wars, kings and gods but this time told from a women's perspective. So wars, gods, kings and female slavery. Unless they were goddesses or married to one of the kings but of course as each kept winning and losing the status of the women changed; goddess to sex slave essentially. That old dichotomy.

I am too restless to sit and write much although I have had the distraction of Lucy and the girls. We went on the Norfolk Lights steam train which trundles along in the dark going past lit up grottoes and suchlike. You can sit and have a drink on board while enjoying the Christmas light. A bit underwhelmimng.

Here are some little Sam Lock paintings which I like; he normally does large work but I’m always drawn to small things:

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