The Ghost of Christmas Past.

With the clock ticking towards Christmas Day, I took the time to grab a few hours away from the hard work that I had been doing in the basement kitchen at 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the year 1815.

For having already prepared a delicious breakfast of Plover’s Eggs, freshly made bread and red currant jelly for Lord Byron’s household and leaving the making of yet another batch of mince pies for an hour or so I decided to make a quick visit to Nicole’s House.

Although I wanted to leave a special gift for Nicole, I had also wanted to spend a moment or two by the Christmas tree inspired by this wonderful lady and who had made similar gold bows by hand to decorate her last Christmas tree before her untimely death six months later.

It was only after I had bounded up the stairs and into the warm and festive loft, did I realise that I was not the only visitor to Nicole’s house this Christmas Eve.

For perched upon one of the beautifully gifts piled up under the tree was none other than Murphy!

Determined not to intrude upon his thoughts as he gazed upon the portrait of Nicole from underneath the tree, I crept quietly away and left my gift in another corner of the room.

However as my presence had not gone unnoticed – I went over to see him but there was no sign of the usual playful glint in his large copper-coloured eyes.

“I keep thinking how lonely Christmas must be for Nicole’s family without her.” Murphy finally whispered; “And all that her children have now are those memories of wonderful Christmases past.” He added sadly.

“I am sure that her loved ones miss her very much at Christmas.” I replied. “And not just at this time of year, but Murphy you must remember that every time we think of a loved one who is no longer with us; we are keeping the spirit of that person very much alive and they remain with us even when we are not thinking of them.”

“For with every gift that we carefully select and wrap, with every shiny bauble that we hang on the tree and even when we have stuffed ourselves so full of food that we fall asleep; we are carrying our loved ones forward in our lives and in our hearts.”

“And Murphy, I believe that the true magic of this time of year are the gifts that we cannot find under the Christmas tree such as the gifts of love and kindness.”

However as Murphy was about to potter off on his next adventure, I reminded him that these special gifts can also be shared with others and that he might want to say sorry for being unkind to Minnie B who he had ‘cuffed’ earlier that day?

Paw Prints in the Flour!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds…

Clement Clarke Moore

Although the children may have been ‘nestled all snug in their beds’ waiting for the  visit from St Nicholas on Christmas Eve – there was plenty ‘a stirring’ within the basement kitchen of the poet Lord Byron at 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the year 1815.

For having prepared a variety of dishes in which to tempt the palette of the house guests on Christmas Day morning including Plover’s Eggs nestled on freshly gathered moss from my garden, a silver tray of delicious home-made bread rolls, a large bowl of red currant jelly and a display of the traditional mince pie…

And believing that I was the only creature stirring, I became worried when I caught a glimpse of the tablecloth fluttering and thinking that it was probably the resident mouse making his presence felt – I decided to take a peek…

…only to discover that this was no naughty mouse but that Murphy had somehow found his way into the kitchen!

Besides warming himself by the fire, it would appear that he was now tucking into the remains of Lord B’s Christmas Eve supper with a large chunk or three of Roast Beef!

With the promise of this deliciously looking joint as a festive treat for the servants who had worked really hard all year and who would be looking forward to their Christmas Day lunch – I knew that had to send this feline quickly on his way before there was nothing left!

However, after spotting the suspicious looking wisps of white on his whiskers, I noticed the tell-tale floury paw prints all over my clean floor…

It would appear that while enjoying a potter about the kitchen and he must have decided to have a little fun with the flour I had been using to make another batch of mince pies.

Now, although I have nothing against messiness as I have been known to make rather a lot of it during my own creative projects – I believe that we should always try to clear up afterwards!

And after a quick chat about this with the feline – he quickly disappeared in search of the household besom to do a spot of sweeping up.

And as I returned to my pastry making – I said a quick prayer for some Christmas ‘peace and goodwill’ and that Murphy’s search for the besom would not include a chance meeting with Lord B’s dog Boatswain who was also known to be stirring this night!

Not that I really mind doing the occasional bit of sweeping up!