Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Greetings from Holder Grange!

The art gallery

It hardly seems possible that another year has flown past and it is time to provide the less fortunate of the world with another update from Holder Grange.

As I sit at my desk, looking over the expanse of sparkling snow on the front lawns, I’m tempted to describe 2009 as the ‘year of cheese’.

It all started with a terrible misunderstanding involving our number one daughter, a private party, several leading figures from the international professional domino circuit, a prominent peer and an undercover journalist. The Babycham had been flowing, the guests were all consenting adults and it was all very harmless fun, but the resulting publicity from an obviously doctored photograph, caused poor Veronica to flee London and return to the family home.

Being the overly sensitive soul that she is, she rescued the goats at the party and housed them in the paddock. We also have a shed full of autographed table tennis bats that will go on e-bay next year.

In these harsh economic times, I told her that I wasn’t going to have any freeloading goats on my property and that she needed to find a way of making them pay their way. So, the enterprising Veronica decided to enter the cheese making profession.

The whole family soon discovered the joys of rennet and curdling. Veronica has become quite a celebrity on the specialist foody circuit and has been appearing on a late night specialist cable TV channel sharing views on extreme enzyme action to the world.

The wife was rather down after her personal trainer had a breakdown earlier in the year. The man suddenly declared he couldn’t take the stress and between fits of sobs, vowed a life of celibacy under holy orders. The cheese business seemed to provide the perfect tonic with her taking over responsibility for the marketing. She has hired Miguel, an ex-professional tri-athlete and together they travel all over Europe extolling the health giving properties of our cheese.

They are often away for weeks at a time, before returning exhausted, but fulfilled to the dairy.

Number one son has also become involved. After last year’s problem with exotic herbs, the farcical miscarriage of justice and his spell at Her Majesty’s pleasure, he found himself a job at a large Merchant Bank. However, he gave that up declaring that ‘he couldn’t lower his morals to that degree no matter how much it paid’.

He also returned to the Grange and as Veronica’s Cheese business took off, made it his job to supply exotic milks to expand the product range, helped in no small part by the contacts of his Lithuanian girlfriend. Hardly a night goes past without a tatty van appearing at the back door of the diary and a couple of Eastern European types unloading vats of Llama milk, Reindeer milk or Zebra milk powder. No matter how many times I tell them that the powdered Zebra milk is no use for cheese making, they still bring it, so my son has to sell it on in London.

My number one daughter introduced my son to his now girlfriend, a rather statuesque and pneumatically enhanced Lithuanian who will be with us for the Christmas period. Her job as a provider of specialist party services is particularly tiring. My son says that she needs to drop out of the scene for a while after a particularly busy Christmas Party season and some problems at the party of a major Tory party donor. It will also give some time for the carpet burns to heal.

Sadly, number two daughter will not be home for Christmas. Having decided that she needed a different outlet for her musical genius, she has given up the Cello and the Conservatoire; instead she now plays for an all girl musical combo who specialise in Thrash Metal Country music. At the moment they are touring clubs in Amsterdam and Germany in a converted military ambulance. This is because they all have numerous bodily adornments that play merry hell with airport security scanners.

Just how they will cope when they fly out to Las Vegas in the New Year to play a club just off the strip I don’t know. At this point, I had hoped to include a link to her bands website, but it seems to have been hacked, all the views of the band are obscured by girls in various states of undress who, struggling to remain upright, hang onto poles.

Anyway, I think it is time for me to wrap up. The wife and Miguel have just arrived back from the Venice International Cheese Festival. Poor Miguel looks absolutely shattered and my wife is having to help him out of the car and back to the house. That man gives his all on these trips, but my wife always returns in a better mood because of it which helps my nerves and protects my cellar.

All that remains is for me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I trust that 2010 makes nonsense of your fears and a reality of your dreams.