It's a grey, warmish day - for December - in Grey County. The snow has almost all melted, and the forecast is for a grey, cloudy, -1 degree Celsius for the duration.
We had our wee COVID-proof Christmas Eve celebration over at the Thorntons. It was great, with too much food, wine and laughing, as usual.
Our starter was snow crab bought from a fish monger in Collingwood that Sandy regularly patronizes.
It was so good - and buttery and messy - that I forgot to get a picture before it was all gone. Here's the leavings.
Then, we all got comfy, opening presents and yakking and petting dogs while the prime rib finished cooking and the Yorkshire puddings were doing their thing in the oven.
Here's brother-in-law Brian draped in the family canines. Sadie is the springer spaniel on his lap - she's still the baby in the family. Callie is beside him - she's Rachel's dog and spends most of her time in the apartment above the garage where Rachel and Jesse live. Finally, the old lady Marley is the golden retriever under his foot. She's the matriarch, and still manages to spring into action if the youngsters get too rowdy.
Pretty good for a guy who - many years ago - was adamant that he would never have a dog in the house.
We finally got to congratulate Jesse and Rachel on their engagement. The proposal happened in late October, and pandemic protocols - along with busy schedules - prevented us from seeing them until now. They gave us this 5x7 photo which will be framed and put in the family gallery in the next week or so. Don't they look happy? The big day is set for fall, 2023.
It's nearly impossible to think it's been almost 26 years since I held this girl when she was a tiny, freshly-hatched being in Toronto where she was born. Cripes, I'm starting to sound like my mother.
Anyhow. The Thornton ladies - Erin, Rachel and Sandy - all appreciated receiving their hand made toques from me this year. It's an especially fetching lot, don't you think?
I was particularly chuffed to have put a button on the top of each hat, so the fake fur pom poms can be taken off for washing purposes. It was a tip from the nice lady I bought the yarn from at the Llama Laine Yarn Shop in Hanover.
We then chowed down on a fantastically opulent meal of prime rib, roasted veggies, salad and pickled beets from the farmette. Followed by silly jokes and a round of charades from the paper we extracted from the Christmas crackers.
We are very privileged to have been able to be with close family this year. COVID last year meant we had to celebrate via ZOOM. Now, even though we're experiencing yet another pandemic wave, thanks to science and many, many hard-working health care people, we are vaccinated and so, so grateful for the opportunity.
Finally, here's a gratuitous picture of Fred on Christmas morning, who appreciated how thoughtful we were to provide him and the other four fur balls with lovely, crinkly tissue paper with which they had an absolute blast.
Here's hoping everyone stays safe, healthy and happy as we head into 2022. Until next week.