With people starting to prepare to celebrate Halloween in late August, and Christmas cards on sale in September, we thought we would jump on the ‘earlier is better’ bandwagon, by enjoying a Christmas meal on Friday the 15th of November.
The decision was prompted by having to de-ice a freezer in the shed. The drawers had frozen solid, and I broke the front off of one of them with a near superhuman effort to try to get it to slide. That left me with no option but to get up the next morning, and attempt to deal with a wall of ice that would not be out of place in the South Pole.
When the freezer saw me approach with a plastic scraper, it must have laughed out loud, and said “Do your worst, chump”, in freezer-speak.
Undaunted, I returned with this, usually used to scrape weeds from between patio cracks.
Solid steel, with a sharp point at one end, and a serrated edge at the back.
Ten minutes later, and I had just enough ice to chill a gin and tonic. More importantly, kneeling on the damp stone floor had all but crippled my knees. Technology was required, in the form of a hair-drier. After another twenty minutes, I had managed to free one of the three drawers, but the other two were grinning happily at me, knowing my task was hopeless. Unable to tolerate kneeling or crouching any longer, I utilised an old baby car-seat, now too small for our grandson. I barely managed to fit my bum-cheeks into it, but at least I could now stretch my legs.
Round three began with a change of tactic, concentrating on the edges of the drawers. That shifted another drawer fifteen minutes later, but I had to have a short break for fear of burning out the hair-drier. Energy renewed, and drier cooled, I set about drawer three like a man possessed, feeling ridiculously pleased as it (albeit reluctantly) slid free. Any moment of triumph I enjoyed was short-lived. Inside the now empty chamber was ice as thick as my wrist, covering every surface.
To cut a long story a bit short, I was sat there for another two hours, heating and chipping, scraping and heating. When I had finally cleaned the thing up, and was about to replace the drawers, I realised I couldn’t stand up. The backs of my legs had seized up from being perched on the baby car-seat, and I eventually had to ‘fall over’ onto my side, before dragging myself up by clinging to the side of a workbench.
The culprit that had jammed the final drawer in so solidly turned out to be a long-forgotten frozen turkey. It was left over from last year, as we had gone to a restaurant on the 25th. There was no chance that I was going to put the jumbo fowl back to do the same again, so it was decided to thaw it out, and cook it.
The thawing took two full days, and the bird was cooked on Friday, along with sausage meat, stuffing, roast parsnips, roast potatoes, and carrots.
So that is how we came to eat Christmas dinner in November.