Christmas with The Saint- Melissa


I am not really one for Christmas tradition. Most of my teenage Christmases were spent in the company of my vegetarian Mother and her free-thinking, philosophy lecturing boyfriend. Needless to say, turkey was not on the menu. Instead, we had meat-free enchiladas and wrapped tinsel around our yukka plant- a decoration we promptly forgot about and just kept up for years on end.

So, when my Mum announced that she was going to India this Christmas, I wasn’t exactly surprised, or had visions of re-enacting Home Alone, despite my blondeness, hyperactivity and irrational fear of burglary. I spent the day with my boyfriend at his house in Anstruther. Christmas dinner came in the form of pheasant, stuffed with partridge, stuffed with quail (sounds like some unholy animal pornography). More on that later (not bestial erotica, unfortunately for some, I’m sure).

The pheasant was provided by a friend who said he had a shoot at the weekend and would be happy to provide us with a couple (as you do, welcome to St Andrews). Most people would be alarmed if they received a phone call saying that their mate has ‘two dead birds’ that they want to ‘hang up in your shed’, so I am glad the pheasant wasn’t a surprise contribution. My boyfriend named the birds Frank and Edwina. However, since they were both male, I am not really sure what kind of confused backstory he might have accidentally projected on ‘Edwina’…

On Christmas Day, I was mercifully allowed a lie in. When I say ‘mercifully’, I mean for everyone else in the world. You wouldn’t like me when I’m tired. My presents included a wolf hat, a stuffed dog on a lead and Cajun CDs. What can I say, I’m a complicated woman.

After that, we tucked in to our fowl feast. The meal was a great success, as my boyfriend noted, only a small portion of the pheasant actually “tasted of ass”. This should not be taken as a testament to my boyfriend’s culinary skills, he is a very good cook. One of us has to be. However, credit where credit’s due; I warmed dessert up in the microwave with great finesse.

Then we decided a walk along the Coastal Path was in order. There was just the slight problem of the gale force winds. My wolf hat was flying everywhere and I had to hang on to it like a swaddled old woman. I have learned my lesson to never go a walk on Christmas Day- it was almost as much of a trial as when my Mum decided we should go for a walk up Arthur’s Seat (an extinct volcano) in Edinburgh. The only problem was that we got lost and ended up scrambling all over the place like two inept mountain goats. What was supposed to be a leisurely, hour-long walk turned into what seemed like a never ending quest for the summit.

‘Alternative’ Christmas Days clearly suit me best- any attempt at conformity just seems to end up with me being windswept and lost somewhere on the East Coast. Pheasant and/or enchiladas are clearly the way to go. If anyone wants any leftovers… you can’t have them. I ate them all.


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