Well we have survived Christmas, in fact it has been stress-free & relaxing. We only had a small gathering but nonetheless made up for it in rowdiness & enthusiasm. We have a few “must do” traditions each year, making mince pies, croissants for brekki (see recipe section) & a borrowed idea which we really like. We save all the wrapping paper, ribbons, containers etc, & make hats to wear at lunch time. It’s a great foil to the overload of buying, & everyone spends a concentrated hour or so being creative.

We all go & camp below the house for a week or so, & it’s bliss. The various kids spend hours pottering in the water, feeding the eels & catching little fish & koura. The highlights are sitting round the fire in the evenings, looking out for satellites & shooting stars, the fire bath gets well used as well. Of course eating & planning what to eat feature largely in the day too. This year we have got our pizza oven going & created some great pizzas, & they are a good communal project. We can cook 2 or 3 before we need to stoke the fire again. Geoff got the ‘how to’ directions off the internet, & the original form only took a couple of hours to make. We’ve rubbed the outsides with olive oil sediment to weatherproof it.