Christmas time, a time to eat lots of white sugary cakes.
Our on-off affair with our neighbour is back to a friendly truce. Any back-chatting allegations are put aside for a festive feast at his. A midday invite for the 24th, traditionally a day of fasting any heavy foods until the evening.
He lives and cooks alone most days so it is our charitable goodwill and of course hunger to try what he might be preparing for his evening meal.
Dress code is fairly informal in the bellowing furnace of his kitchen. As expected camouflaged baggy trousers and a holely string vest is our host's attire.
Our stomachs were looking forward to trying his self-acclaimed sauerkraut soup. I've come very fond of this christmas time starter over the years and thankfully wasn't disappointed with our neighbours treat. Seconds were in order as he had re-heated so much of it on the stove for us which we were happy to oblige.
Of course owing to tradition we weren't expecting anything else. But our neighbour likes to show that he is a more than capable cook and without much hesitation the fridge door was swung open and not before long three scoops of heavily mayonnaised potato salad, a chunk of ham, a red sausage and a 'meal on its own sized' piece of fish is piled onto a plate in front of me.
There goes tradition, there goes any need to eat anything later, there goes 5 shots and two beers to help moisten my palette and clear most of what was on my plate.
And it would only be seen as impolite not to tuck in as he watches you with his proud grin. He had been cooking since the day before and had eaten before we had arrived (a sort of brunch I guess..). The irony of hearing Bob Geldof's 1980's mates sing the Band Aid song on the radio didn't pass us by.
Why so much food? Well even if it is supposedly a one-off christmas meal our neighbour would always save and cook for as many days as possible.
We can on certain days be fortunate to have him as a neighbour.
Snow finally came, but only days later like everywhere. It brought a bit of normality back to this time of year. With freezing temperatures all the time, moaning cats and the constant persistence of who causes more smoke when starting the stove fire in the mornings it's nice to have winter back.