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Reflections on an English Christmas

It’s not only that it starts some time in August and slowly builds up a head of steam until it all but mows you down with its cargo of baubles and tinsel and carols and turkey with all the trimmings, all marinating in mulled wine and eggnog. It’s more than that. It takes over theBritish Isles as surely as if it had been conquered by a white-bearded Laplandish dictator in a red and white suit with an army of wild-eyed elves.


Tajine, spice, fruit, time … action!

A Frenchwoman had set up a stall selling these Moroccan cooking vessels and sundry other pots, all ceramic and beautiful. I bought a blue ceramic tajine and the lady, with whom I had been chatting about Moroccan food and how the conical lid of a tajine works, smiled and gave me two additional pots, medium and small, to fit inside the tajine base like Russian dolls.


Braaing for Brits – and for Africa

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said apologetically. “We thought you were on fire.”


A tinklingly good way to greet the New Year

The problem with New Year parties is trying to stay sober enough to remember why you’re there. I’ve known people get to midnight on December 31 and wander around aimlessly asking whose birthday it is, or why everyone is so exciteable.