Karen Wright writes: This week I am writing my column from the comfort of our caravan.
We have been down in Brighton for almost a full week. It really is quite cosy settling down for the evening despite the weather being quite blustery and wet outside. In fact, it feels extra special to be away in the van in winter as we don’t expect decent weather and if you get any it is a bonus. I keep thinking of that bingo call, 5 and 9 the Brighton Line. I looked up the saying as I knew there would be an explanation as to what it meant. 5 and 9 were the first two digits of the original Brighton telephone numbers, so there you go, a bit of trivia for you, might be handy sometime in a pub quiz!
We do come down to Brighton quite often as our eldest daughter lives here with her partner and our little granddaughter. This time however, there was another reason to visit. I had been invited to a 'Christmas Artists Open Houses' event. Brighton is a very eclectic town and loads of artistic people are drawn here. Every year artists open their homes and invite other artists to display and sell their work. This year I was invited to take some Christmas cakes and do a bit of a meet and greet. I also volunteered to do biscuit decorating workshops for any children who came along. For the last couple of months, I have been baking and decorating cakes for the event, plus I froze seventy-two mince pies and made the biscotti last week!
It has been quite a mission to get enough baking done in advance and transported all the way down to Brighton. I do find that if I start to get into a bit of a mental flap, all I need to do is remind myself that I coped with everything in the Great British Bake-Off tent, and if I can do that, I can do pretty much anything, within reason of course!
The house in question was oh so gorgeous and smack in the best bit of Brighton. It was fabulous and such a pleasure to be there, chilling out with some very cool people. There were regular brush artists, print artists, ceramic artists, jewellery artists, a lady that made kimonos, someone else that covered lampshades, all types of things. The house was open for a preview on Friday night and the wine was flowing and wallets and purses were open. Then on Saturday and Sunday it was less hectic, and people wandered in off the street, milling around and enjoying the event.
Tomorrow we hitch up and move along the coast towards Dover. We have a day return ticket to Calais on the shuttle and we are going to finish all our Christmas shopping over there. We already bought our Christmas tree and it is sitting in a bucket of water in our garage waiting for us to get home and trim it up. I love the rituals we tend to follow when decorating the tree, for me it is soft light, a glass of sherry and Christmas music on in the background. The other thing I love about it - is getting reunited with bits and pieces that we have had for many a year. For example, the rather grumpy looking glass Father Christmas that goes on the top of our tree was my husband's when he was tiny, so that must be coming up to 70 odd years old, Antiques Roadshow here we come!
We have just today finalised our Christmas Day arrangements and we will be eight and an infant around our dining table. I really love this bit - planning the menu, tweaking some of the must-haves, like sprouts for example. Perhaps next week I will share what I am thinking of serving and how I prepare it. Its not long until the big day after all.
That’s all for this week's round up readers, same time, different place next week
Au revoir and take good care.
For more tips and recipes go to http://www.karenwrightbakes.co.uk