Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Carol of the Bells

December 25, 2018

Carol of the Bells performed by Lindsey Stirling.

Hallelujah

December 25, 2018

Lindsey Stirling performs Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas to all my friends.

Image courtesy of my talented Japanese friend Ken Crane.

Music courtesy of my talented Romanian friend Jewelia.

Christmas tale courtesy of my good friend Paulo Coelho.

Christmas is not how much we binge spend on stuff we do not need, though could be forgiven for believing so from news reports.

Christmas is a child born in a stable.

Christmas is a child born in a stable in an occupied land.

Christmas today is homeless living on our streets.

Christmas today is Palestine an occupied land.

Christmas today is the murderous corrupt House of Saud waging a war of genocide in Yemen.

Christmas dinner at Butcher and Beast

December 25, 2017

Two days before Christmas, what was to be Christmas dinner at the Butcher and Beast.

Er, looks like sirloin steak.

Er, yes, sirloin steak.

A communication problem. What was to be a booking for Christmas lunch, was only logged as a table booking.  One would have thought, would have at least asked when booking, is this for Christmas lunch, but apparently not. Was not even aware there was a problem until brought a menu, and queried why. Only then learnt, had not been booked for Christmas lunch.

Hence sirloin steak.

Butcher and Beast is a country pub in the Lincolnshire village of Heighington, not far from Lincoln.

Food at the Butcher and Beast used to be not up to much, overpriced and very variable. Of late, much improved. Roast Sunday dinner a few months ago was excellent

Wagamama no calling in sick during Christmas

December 24, 2017

If you are one of the poorly paid serfs in a McShit job at Wagamama and call in sick on Christmas Day, indeed any day over the Festive Period, you will face disciplinary action.

A note with bold and underlined, as would expect a child to make, was pinned to the staff notice board beneath staffing rotas, warning staff they face disciplinary action should they call in sick.

No calling in sick! may I remind you that if you are unable to come in for your shift it is your responsibility  to find someone to cover your shift (as per contract and handbook). Calling in sick during the next 2 weeks will result in disciplinary action being taken.

Is this legal? Possibly not.

Is this the action of one rogue manager? I doubt so. And others doubt so too.

If this was a rogue manager, what disciplinary action?

If a rogue manager, does each store have its own unique contracts and handbook? Or, was targets set, ends justify the means, until the dodgy workplace practises exposed on social media, then blame a rogue manager?

Would someone please post the handbook and  a sample contract on-line. Go through Wikileaks and follow their instructions how to post securely. Or copy and drop in the post to both Unite and The Guardian.

It is not the role of employees to find replacements when off sick. That is the role of management, that is what they are paid for.

Are Wagamama open Christmas Day? Shame if they are.

Are staff forced to work Christmas Day? Are they paid extra?

If Wagamama has the shame to open Christmas Day, it should be voluntary for staff to work that day, and those who do volunteer, should be paid double if not triple pay for the day, and a paid for taxi provided to work and back home.

That staff face disciplinary action if call in sick over Christmas it is a  reasonable assumption they are being forced against their will to work over Christmas.

Let us assume a serf working at Wagamama has noro virus? Are they forced to work? If yes, there are going to be a lot of sick people after eating at Wagamama.

Are the Food Standards Agency and local Environmental Health investigating Wagamama, who not only think it ok to have sick staff in a food environment, but are threatening them if they do not show for work when sick?

I would urge everyone to boycott this chain. Not unless happy to eat where staff handling, preparing, serving your food could have noro virus or some other unpleasant disease.

This illustrates once again why we need a Basic Income. Then no one is forced to work McShit jobs at chains like Wagamama.

No surprise Wagamama owned by Vulture Capitalists, in this case  Duke Street Private Equity, founded by Edmund Truell who has donated hundreds of thousands to the Tory Party.

Why eat at Wagamama when there are quality independent alternatives? If, for example in Guildford eat at Bamboo Shoots.

I would no more eat at Wagamama, then I would drink what masquerades as coffee at Costa or tax dodging Starbucks or Caffe Nero.

All I Want for Christmas is You

December 25, 2016

Christmas song from Jewelia.

Christmas dinner

December 25, 2016

Christmas dinner, fresh chicken, roast potatoes, sprouting broccoli and peas.

Fresh chicken from local butcher in Heighington, collected Christmas Eve.

Cooked guidance of Jamie Oliver.

Christmas dinner 2015, carrots, celery, laid in the base of baking tin. This lifts the chicken up off the base, allows air to circulate and aids cooking.

This year a variant. Two carrots, two sticks of celery and a red onion. The celery and carrots chopped into large chunks. The red onion cut into quarters, then halved again.

Chicken smeared with butter (to stop drying out), or would have been had the butter been taken out of the fridge, used olive oil spread instead, add a little salt and black pepper (for flavour). Half a mandarin stuffed inside the chicken. No stuffing.  Chicken wrapped in cooking foil to keep in the flavour. Cook for 20 minutes per pound, plus a extra 20 minutes. Weight 5.5 lbs. Cook for two hours at 180 C.

After an hour, remove cooking foil, around the chicken, add roast potatoes and pigs in their blankets.

Last year, par boiled potatoes, then added to roast. This year, roast potatoes from the chiller cabinet in M&S.

Pigs in their blankets, small sausages wrapped in bacon. From Curtis in Sincil Street, a small independent butcher in Lincoln.

Should have stuffed the chicken with a small orange. Er, forgot. Was added, but a mistake as blocked air flow to cook the chicken from the inside.

Sprouting broccoli and frozen peas for vegetables. Bring water to boil, cook for around ten minutes. Add sprouting broccoli, bring to boil, then add peas.

No white wine, white grape juice. Only a con, fizzy water flavoured with concentrated grape juice, sugar added.

Christmas pudding, courtesy of Aldi. Not recommended. Poor quality.

No cream or white sauce, used ice cream.

Christmas dinner

December 25, 2015
carrots, celery, onion. to raise chicken above base of baking tray

carrots, celery, onion, to raise chicken above base of baking tray

chicken in baking tray on raised bed

chicken in baking tray on raised bed

Christmas dinner, fresh chicken, roast potatoes, broccoli.

Fresh chicken from local butcher, cooked guidance of Jamie Oliver.

Lay carrots, celery, in the base of baking tin. This lifts the chicken up off the base, allows air to circulate and aids cooking. Chicken smeared with butter (to stop drying out), add a little salt and black pepper (for flavour). Half a mandarin stuffed inside the chicken. No stuffing.  Cook for 20 minutes per pound, plus a extra 20 minutes.

Not sure of weight. assumed 4 lbs. Cook for two hours.

I was worried it would be overcooked, but no, cooked to perfection.

Potatoes added around the chicken for last hour, after par boiling.

After chicken was removed from the oven to rest prior to carving, green water added, a drop of very high quality Port. Excellent gravy.

Roast potatoes were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.

To drink, champagne (strictly speaking sparkling wine a gift from Cyprus).

The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot

December 25, 2015

The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot, performed by Jewelia, originally sung by Vera Lynn.

Jewelia:

When I was young, one year was particularly tough for my family. My mum was ill, my dad had problems with his job. That year Santa sent me a letter apologising for misplacing my gift and promised to make up for it the following year. I was sad, of course, might even have cried a bit – I can’t remember that well – but I believed Santa and forgave him.

I had a home, a loving family and food of my table. My biggest problem was that I didn’t get what I wanted for Christmas. Now, there are many people who don’t have any of this. There are people who lost their homes, their families, people who have homes but are not safe in them, people who are spending their holidays in hospitals. There’s so much more than our ‘stressful’ Christmas shopping and cooking and petty day to day problems which might not even be as big as we think.

My point? Be grateful for what you have and cherish it. Wish and aim for more – always aim for more! – but don’t forget to appreciate and be thankful for what you have. Who knows, it might help make you happier. In fact, I’m sure it will. It’s just that it’s so easy to forget..

Christmas Tale : The music coming from the house

December 24, 2015
Merry Christmas -- Ken Crane

Merry Christmas — Ken Crane

On Christmas Eve, the king invited the prime minister to join him for their usual walk together. He enjoyed seeing the decorations in the streets, but since he didn’t want his subjects to spend too much money on these just to please him, the two men always disguised themselves as traders from some far distant land.

They walked through the centre of the city, admiring the lights, the Christmas trees, the candles burning on the steps of the houses, the stalls selling gifts, and the men, women and children hurrying off to celebrate a family Christmas around a table laden with food.

On the way back, they passed through a poorer area, where the atmosphere was quite different. There were no lights, no candles, no delicious smells of food about to be served. There was hardly a soul in the street, and, as he did every year, the king remarked to the prime minister that he really must pay more attention to the poor in his kingdom. The prime minister nodded, knowing that the matter would soon be forgotten again, buried beneath the day-to-day bureaucracy of budgets to be approved and discussions with foreign dignitaries.

Suddenly, they heard music coming from one of the poorest houses. The hut was so ramshackle and the rotten wooden timbers so full of cracks, that they were able to peer through and see what was happening inside.

And what they saw was utterly absurd: an old man in a wheelchair apparently crying, a shaven-headed young woman dancing, and a young man with sad eyes shaking a tambourine and singing a folk song.

‘I’m going to find out what they’re up to,’ said the king.

He knocked. The music stopped, and the young man came to the door.

‘We are merchants in search of a place to sleep. We heard the music, saw that you were still awake, and wondered if we could spend the night here.’

‘You can find shelter in a hotel in the city. We, alas, cannot help you. Despite the music, this house is full of sadness and suffering.’

‘And may we know why?’

‘It’s all because of me.’ It was the old man in the wheelchair who spoke.

‘I’ve spent my life teaching my son calligraphy, so that he could one day get a job as a palace scribe. But the years have passed and no post has ever come up. And then, last night, I had a stupid dream: an angel appeared to me and asked me to buy a silver goblet because, the angel said, the king would be coming to visit me. He would drink from the goblet and give my son a job.

‘The angel was so persuasive that I decided to do as he said. Since we have no money, my daughter-in-law went to the market this morning to sell her hair so that we could buy that goblet over there. The two of them are doing their best to get me in the Christmas spirit by singing and dancing, but it’s no use.’

The king saw the silver goblet, asked to be given a little water to quench his thirst and, before leaving, said to the family:

‘Do you know, we were talking to the prime minister only today, and he told us that an opening for a palace scribe would be announced next week.’

The old man nodded, not really believing what he was hearing, and bade farewell to the strangers. The following morning, however, a royal proclamation was read out in all the city streets; a new scribe was needed at court. On the appointed day, the audience room at the palace was packed with people eager to compete for that much-sought-after post.

The prime minister entered and asked everyone there to prepare their paper and pens:

‘Here is the subject of the composition: Why is an old man weeping, a shaven-headed woman dancing, and a sad young man singing?’

A murmur of disbelief went round the room. No one knew how to tell such a story, apart, that is, from the shabbily dressed young man sitting in one corner, who smiled broadly and began to write.

(Based on an Indian story)

— Paulo Coelho