Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Poker Prawns and Presents

We had Christmas at the in-laws last weekend. Whilst we keep in touch with the Groovy Grannies, we don't have much contact through the year with my brother in law and his wife although this year, things may change. Two of their sons are on Facebook so the communication links are re-established and Jack's already tagged me for a friend.

Anyway . . . the kids went up on Saturday while I did the usual cleaning, bailing water out of my dysfunctional washing machine and sealed the slate floor. I ran up early the next morning (plans were to go together but washing machine hassles prevented that happening).

The day started dramatically. It was hot and windy. Unusual for this time of the year . The Groovy Grannies have a lovely home with a big elevated deck out the back. Nice to sit and chat and smoke and drink and admire the distant sea view. But despite Adam's best efforts to anchor the two sun brollies, one took flight and ended up on the roof. While the boys were arguing about who was fit enough to retrieve the wayward brolly and Grandma restrained a rather frail Grandad who was up for the challenge . . a gust of wind brought it down harmlessly, narrowly missing Clare's windscreen.

BIL is a Real Estate Agent on the Central Coast and SIL a beautician who works from home. They have three boys 16, 21 and 23 who are . . .well - were . . . less than savoury but this year something was different. Everyone got along, Nick and Sam refrained from thumping each other and going home in a huff. They've long since moved out and it seems to have matured them somewhat. Conversations about bath sheets and washing machines coming out of their mouths seemed a little odd but also rather connecting since my washing machine has given up the ghost. SIL is always lovely, beautifully groomed and pleasant and chatty. BIL was in and out as clients demanded his attention but sweet and good company with the exception of having the golf on telly while we were eating . . .

Christmas there is a very different affair to our own with it's Mezzo plates and themed table. There's the predictable Poinsettia plastic table cloth, nuts and nibblies, tinsel adorned ficus and a Christmas Platypus hanging from the ceiling fan and the meal predictably finished with Mango Tiramisu - but it's homely and friendly and unpretentious and Grandad keeps the glasses filled with alarming regularity. We pop our crackers and reveal nothing more than tweezers, yoyos and silly paper crowns. We laugh and chat and eat and generally have a fantastic time.
To my mind, it's very Aussie although in recent years they've deviated from the hot and sweaty roast to a slightly cooler cold-cut lunch although I know Art loves his baked dinner and suspect he'll enjoy one on Christmas day whether it's 15 or 50 degrees in the shade!

Before lunch there was poker . . .

. . .and presents . . .

and prawns . . .

Grandad grilled souffle'd oysters . . totally awesome . .

After what seemed ages at the buffet table . . .
we sat down to eat in our silly hats

After watching DVD's of nephew Jack's Japanese travels and
Clare's European leg the munchies set in.

. . . and frankly by 11:30 I was totally shitfaced!

Actually it was a really nice day/night and although we don't see BIL and SIL but twice a year, it is always nice to catch up . . .I often wonder if I'd remarried whether I'd have bothered keeping in touch . . then I remember what terrific, ordinary, welcoming people they are and I'm very glad I do.


Ces Adorio said...

Sister, I wish you would post that lovely face of yours in full view! What a fun celebration and at 7:19in the morning, I am hungry for seafood. The finger sandwiches look very good too. I love Christmas and love to hear that others are having a wonderful Christmas celebration too.

Unknown said...

Oh you have that cool poker set. I wish I had one

Megan said...

What is with that link thing that I keep dragging everywhere I go?


Love the table shot of everyone in their cracker hats!

TCL said...

Early birthday for Jesus! Boy it sounds good to sit by the beach and eat seafood.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your family celebration, Baino

The groovy grannies are doing well for their age when you consider all those offspring.

Tonight I'm busily freezing Dublin Bay prawns bought fresh from the pier. Lovely 'n all as they are fresh, I'm not prepared to pay the inflated price of Christmas week.

I like the sound of Grandad's speciality...yum!

Anonymous said...

Stick in there girl, you are building memories for Adam & Clarebear.

Enjoy the bloggers lunch on Sunday!

Thriftcriminal said...

Mmmmm prawns. Wait, doesn't the bible say they're bad? :-)

Anonymous said...

Ah the Groovy Grannies - I aspire to be like them one day - they never seem to age!!! All that good surf & turf I suspect.

Oh and Grandads oysters - ooooh thy kingdom come!!!! Oi thrifty - prawns a plenty the bible told me so! Jesus loved a fish or two!!

I wanna come too!

Bimbimbie said...

Tsup*!* Looks like a lovely family time was had by all*!*

Miladysa said...

A photie of the Bainster :D

I LOVE that photograph of you all around the table. I'm pleased you are all still in touch!

Baino said...

Haha Ces, that's the whole pic! I think the photographer (Clare) was as tipsy as me! I love seafood. I just hate that they put the prices up around Christmas!

Ropi, have a look around. It wasn't that expensive and comes in a pretty sexy aluminium case! Put it on your Chrismas list and be nice to Santa!

Draggylinks? I dunno Megan ..likes you perhaps? Why do we do the cracker and hat thing? Crazy. Had a French exchange student once and he thought we'd gone loopy. Last call for the Wonder Wall too! I'm on leave from tomorrow!

Haha . . sorry TCL sort of forget it's the little guys' birfdie not being too religious and such. If I can make festivities last a week, I will!

The Groovy Grannies are great actually. Yep, I'll be buying 'green' prawns and probably barbecuing on our 'Truffles of the Sea" entree plate. I once queued for 3 hours on Christmas Eve at our local fish market! Never again.
I didn't know you could get prawns in Dublin.

Oh Thrifty!What do I care! Actually we ate ham off the bone as well! Oink! Here you go . .a list of unclean meats:

Bimbimbie, the Terrigal bunch are a little more rough and ready than us but salt of the earth. It was good actually.

Don't you worry Babysis, there will be prawns, and ham, and turkey, and trifle and a very elegent little Mezze plate of delicious goodness.

Milady, I've been a widow now for 20 years so it's rather unusual I guess to remain so close but they are the kid's grandparents and frankly I love them to bits so it's easy maintaining the relationship (except for the October family picnic thing). And not my best side as I was definitely on the wobbly side!

Anonymous said...

Christmas dinner with t-shirts on - can't get my mind around it hehe also the idea of a Christmas Platypus makes me giggle :-)

Anonymous said...

Donkey.... check
Sheep.... check
Reindeer.... check
Platypus......che.. what de..?!

The mind boggles. Next you'll be telling me you get visits from the Easter Numbat

Baino said...

Conortje I'm not kidding . .dunno where it came from but it's been hanging from the ceiling fan for years! Yep Christmas is kind of casual for us. Wait till you see the Dunn/Taylor/Bainbridge bash it's 'come as your favourite Christmas thing' I wanted to be the angel on top of the tree but my figure is better fitted to a Christmas bauble!

Jack actually out here it's the Easter Bilby because rabbits are feral we try to make it a more ecologically friendly chocolatey thingy. And kudos for mentioning the Numbat!

Melissa said...

I think I love Grandad.

I also love the image of the boys fighting over who would get the umbrella, Grandad getting ready to show the young ones up, and the umbrella floating peacefully down on its own. That last photo made me laugh out loud and Iris came running to see. :)

Happy holidays, Baino!

i beati said...

Loved your comment about caring and counting blessings rather than out buying yourself . I had done such a reminder a week ago.It's a trap some people fall into and their kids sometimes are the catalyst. Whom is the parent??Count your blessings !!Exactly

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) said...

prawns and oysters - salivating just reading this and just realised there's nought in the fridge :-(

laughingwolf said...

super stuff, thx baino :D

Baino said...

Melissa he's a darling. We used to call him Spunky Art in his younger days. And he's quite deaf so always answers way off topic! Damn good glass filler though! Erm, not at my best in that pic! 'hic'

iBeati, i managed to get everyone a gift for under $30 this year with the exception of the kids who will be getting 'practical' stuff they need rather than things they don't. It's sometimes hard to keep the glass half full but I try!

Quickie, you've probably experienced Aussie seafood first hand . .it's damn good!

Anonymous said...

lovely post ms baino. :)
when's a good time to buy prawns. is it a good idea to buy them like now freeze or rather buy frozen? i believe they will be $$$$$$$$$$ a kilo just before christmas, if you can find any at all?
how do you tackle the christmas prawns issue?

Baino said...

Gaye I used to go down to the fish markets at about 5am with all the other suckers. Now I buy fresh stuff late the day before Christmas eve and the shops are quiet. I get green prawns (always cheaper)and cook them on Christmas morning or barbecue with our Christmas lunch. This time of year the turnover is so high that they keep well in the fridge for 2 days cos they're FRESH baby! Hot tip: Costi's Seafood at Castle Towers . . .it's the best! (Not the Steve Costi one at Winsto, it's exe!)

Now off to my last day at work for a month! YAYA!

Anonymous said...

Oooh! Oooh! Do I see Baino? Yay! Shitfaced or not, what a treat! :)

Sound like a great time, although I fail to see what's traditional about Mango tiraisu, and what the futch is a Christmas platypus? ROFL!!!

BTW - I totally get the thing about the previously obnoxious boys and the bath sheet conversation. Been there, done that! ;)

kj said...

baino, that picture of you is exactly who you are to me...which is to say vibrant, way-cool, and honest.


Christopher said...

By the way, Baino, could you please post the recipe for those wonderful looking stuffed oysters? Where I live I won't be likely to get fresh oysters, and they'll probably never be as good as Grandad's, but I'd still love to give them a try.

Baino said...

Jay as I said, not my best 'face'. Re the nephews the elder two were always 'naughty' boys and gave their parents grief. One has a huge tattoo of the word "Offensive" (Indie record label) across his entire shoulders and the other a half completed Thai dragon on his leg (he ripped off the tatooist who refused to finish the job) and it's not unusual for the two of them to get into a scuffle at the most inappropriate times but they seem to be sorting themselves out now that they've left home. Jack is much younger at 15 and defo 'the good son'.

Grandma's trademark Christmas dish is Tiramisu made with fresh mangoes rather than the trad chocolate/coffee/marsala flavours.

Really kj? Most people say I look nothing like I sound . . .I am far from photogenic. . .'comely' comes to mind! hehehe!

Chris, to be honest I don't know how he made them. They tasted like Oysters Mornay (bechamel and cheese)but to 'souffle' you usually have to fold in beaten egg whites to the mix then grill. They were indeed delish! Sydney's well known for its Rock Oysters . .

kj said...

you look nothing like you sound, baino? well, that may be so, since i haven't heard you!! but do i see an imp in that face--a vibrant, way-cool, honest imp? yup...


TCL said...

Well my family Christmas is an opportune time to eat obscene amount of food.