Ah! Christmas is coming, and with it my family's notoriously crazy gingerbread house competition.
I come from a very creative family and the entries are always interesting! There have been log cabins made of pretzels, brick houses made from Nibs, cereal treat castles and, of course, traditional (ish) cookie houses. There have been ponds made from blue gummy candies, sidewalks made out of dog biscuits, and, my personal favourite--a gingerbread biffy. (*our family vernacular for privy, outhouse, or rustic "facilities")
Two years ago, I concocted a chocolate cookie house from a kit but placed Hershey chocolate bar minis on the roof as solar panels and made up a tale of Santa going "green" at the North Pole. It's a bit heavy on Elon Musk and Tesla references, but it made my family laugh. I'll upload it to the end of this blog post for those who wish to read it...
Last year, in Barbados, I discovered gingerbread houses are not part of the local Christmas culture. Ants, presumably, being the reason.
I ordered all sorts of bits and bobs in and managed to create an entry that I stored in the microwave to prevent ants finding it until the big reveal.
It had blue fondant water, and icing pears for seafoam on the shore. Coarse, locally sourced, Barbados brown sugar provided sandy beaches. My "chattel house" was bright yellow with cereal shingles, fondant shutters and doors, and there was a very typical fruit stand out front full of tiny candy fruit. Gummy frogs provided the whistling frogs of Barbados to my scene and I modelled a fondant gecko of slightly larger than scale proportions to perch on the roof. Fruit-loop cereal tree trunks and edible corn starch palm fronds created palm trees. It was a hoot! Although it was tough not to eat the frog gummies...
This year, I am temporarily located with my sister and her husband in British Columbia, recovering from an eye surgery. This means, I am assisting with entries here as well as planning my own.
I can't give away the plans but will post an update when the competition (which, really, everyone wins...) is over! In the meantime, I created this little video for fun.
Warning (tongue in cheek) that this may contain scenes of violence which some viewers may find disturbing. I found them quite delicious!
And before I sign off today, here's my "Green" Christmas tale from 2021:
It’s been very busy
At the North Pole this year
Amid Covid pandemics and
Climate change fears.
Santa’s team is assessing
And doing their part
To reduce their emissions
While not losing heart.
The sleigh’s eco friendly,
Thanks to the reindeer,
But the lights and the workshop
Must revamp I hear.
So they called Elon Musk
(Santa’s favourite lad)
They said, “You’ve been busy
Making Tesla go ‘Plaid’”
“Can you help us?” They asked,
“To make this Christmas Green?”
Elon said “Yes!” and he
Worked with the team.
Assessing their assets
He soon found a way
By setting up Santa’s
New solar array.
On the roof of the workshop
It soaks up the sun
During 24 hour daylight
While the elves have some fun.
Storing the power In the
New power wall,
When it’s time for work, well,
It powers it all!
So remember dear children
That Satan’s gone green
As you enjoy looking at
This holiday scene!
(Below you will find two galleries...2021 and 2022!)
Stumpy, Griffith and Flash greatly enjoyed a recent trip to Scotland.
Our journey began on the East Coast of Scotland where we explored Old Aberdeen while my husbandattended a conference. The geckos were somewhat surprised that there weren't any geckos in the area but made the acquaintance of a few lovely local people who provided directions and historical tidbits on the area. The little guys particularly enjoyed hiking along the River Don and finding the Brig Of Balgownie, as well as exploring some graveyards, St. Machar's Cathedral and of course exploring King's College....
I also did my best to boost the gecko's bank accounts by marketing my book to everyone I met. This gentleman in particular was quite pleased to know he could order the books from Amazon.co.uk making it easy to ship to his home in Aberdeen.
Next stop was up at Culloden near Iverness. We explored Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns although a case of the sniffles made it less than enjoyable for small geckos.
Thankfully the gracious and comforting surroundings of the Culloden House Hotel made a lovely place to have the sniffles and staff provided a terrific platter of fresh fruit to speed along their recovery. Of course, a little hot tea and Scottish Shortbread helped as well...
Now, Stumpy informed me he had sent a letter to his cousin Nessie in the Highlands before leaving Barbados and that she was expecting us to meet her near Castle Urquhart. There were severe rain warnings in effect, but our very patient Dave (who guiltily admitted to mailing Stumpy's letter without telling me) agreed to make the stop.
We looked everywhere, including the dungeons, but did not find Stumpy's cousin Nessie anywhere. Perhaps she was kept at home in bed by the sniffles? Or she could have been avoiding the tourists, who were still hanging about in crowds. She's had to let go some of her personal security due to rising costs, and may move somewhere where she is less "known" to the general public. Stumpy thinks we should invite her to the Caribbean where it's warm and there's lots of open water to hide in!
We warmed up with hot chocolate, tea and crisps. (That's what they call potato chips in Scotland. They also refer to french fries as chips...so silly really!)
Our final stop was on the shores of Loch Linnhe near Appin and Glencoe. We spent about a week here, where we visited Dave's father and left behind some copies of Geckos in the Garden for some young relatives. We were also able to share our stories about our friends Bunny, Teddy and McDuff the Cat! If you haven't read them, don't forget to order them.
We visited Castle Stalker, and walked along the shores of the Loch. We played with Harris the Dog. And we found the loveliest little book exchange in an old public phone box.
Then we packed our bags and boarded a plane to head home...kind of. But that's the subject of another blog...