Sunday, December 15, 2013

What the Dickens!

Well you know we love a good party...  And a theme party is the best, because it proves an excellent guide around which to plan a meal and the evening's shenanigans...

Last night's theme was A Charles Dickens Christmas Dinner, and as always, we had a good time, hauling our sorry carcasses off to bed late in the night, having proven ourselves to be veritable Fezziwigs!

Come along as we revisit a special night...

The Menu:

Roast Turkey (nary a goose to be gotten in our burg...)
Mashed Potatoes
Baked Apples
Brussel Sprouts with pancetta and brandy
Orange cramnberry sauce
home made biscuits
Orange Marmalade Cake
Flaming Christmas Pudding
Hard Sauce

A picture of the marmalade cake:

And the brussel sprouts, which proved a hit:

We set the table mid-afternoon, and had to borrow some folding chairs for the slightly lower folding table we purchased to add on to our dining room table:

Besides my ongoing love affairs with my little spruces in their mini ice buckets, I also had four small vases of the most lovely pink-hued roses.  I love very small or short bouquets on the table - all the better to see you with, my dear...

And then just before the guests arrive the candles are lit and we are like two children waiting for the excitement to begin!

When the guests arrived they were greeted with a cup of wassail (yum!) or a glass of champers and an assortment of English cheeses.

Oh and they were greeted by this man:

 Yes, he insisted on renting a costume befitting the theme and stole himself a rose for his boutonniere...

I trotted out last year's Nougat London frock, as I love it and so rarely get a chance to wear it and since Kate Middleton is recycling, well of course I must as well..

All parties begin and end in the kitchen.  A good-looking bunch, dressed to the nines..

Us digging in!

 There were recitations, I penned a poem to commemorate our past year, titled aptly enough "A Visit from Charles Dickens".  The crowd was most appreciative, though if truth be told they had had much to drink by now and might have cheered for anything...

Between the main course and dessert we did fireworks!  I forgot to take a picture of the fireworks, but let me say this:

1) they were fantastic - thanks Master G!
2) it was bloody cold - -15 by the time we got out there in our frippery!

We returned to the table for dessert, when who should arrive at the door but himself, Charles Dickens!

After greeting one and all, he took a seat and agreed to read a shortened version of his new story, A Christmas Carol.

Mr. Dickens has a most melodious voice and as we got to the first scene, who should arrive but Mr. Scrooge!

And here he is with the Ghost of Christmas Past, the epitome of Spring-time!

Every good party begets its own collateral damage..

 But what care we, for there are dances to be danced, quiet conversations to be had, shenanigans to be shenaniganed..  Excuse blurry photos - photographer was most unsteady...


I always consider these events to be gifts for my friends, whom I love very much and it is such fun to pull out all the stops for them!

Unfortunately, we forgot their parting gifts in the mad dash for the taxis, little scrolls with a poem by Alden Nowlan that Barry is fond of quoting after all such events... Never mind, they'll get theirs when they come back for their cars..

But here's the poem for you all, by one of New Brunswick's preeminent poets:

The Night of the Party
Never have I seen women
wiser or more beautiful.

Never have I known men
so witty, so sensitive.

Here in my living room
Are the twenty most remarkable
Persons in all the world.

And me, the one fool,
who must dance
although too heavy
on his feet, sing
although his vocal cords
are out of tune.

But that is the price
I pay for such

My friends,
I do not get drunk for myself,
I get drunk for you.

"The Night of the Party" by Alden Nowlan, from What Happened When He Went to the Stove for Bread. © The Thousands Press, 2000.
And as Tiny Tim was heard to say: God Bless Us, Every One!


  1. I don't think there is anyone more fun than you and Barry! Barry in his costume, dying, but you know what it really suits him! And you look gorgeous in that dress. You are looking very beautiful and fit these days. I hope you are feeling as well this morning. ;)
    And your friends look hilarious!

    1. Oh the rest of the time we are hermits! Thanks for the compliment - I think it was just a fabulous photo and good bra as I am sure I have put on 6 more pounds this year! I am feeling grand this am - house is now clean, I am cozy on couch eating tea biscuits and reading!

  2. It looks like you had a great time!
    You look stunning!,,,,,

  3. What a fete! You did Dickens proud. Barry look grand-- he might consider wearing a tophat more often. You look marvelous!! Looks like the women got into the dress up mode more than, ahem, some of the men, who may not have gotten the memo. Great casting, too.

    First big snowstorm last night so I must go out and help shovel what looks like at least a foot. Gorgeous! Then snowshoe to brunch at friends'.

    Hope you are feeling OK!

    1. Our friend Deni came casual, but lays year he rented a tux, so we gave him a pass! We are getting snowmaggadon here - 40+ cm of snow and very high winds! Is it still snowing there?


    2. just stopped. beautiful but wish it were not 15 F with subzero wind chill. Hope you are digging out!

  4. I am in awe. You look beautiful, Barry looks distinguished, the table is to die for, and the entertainment on a cold night proves the adage that too much of a good thing is wonderful.

    Goose is a lot more work than turkey and a lot mor last-minute-y. Turkey was a wise choice.

    Please share recipe for wassail!

    1. Fred, will try and post it up later - it was amazingly good!

    2. I tried goose at my last house and ruined the oven *forever* so I'm with fred, too. Looks yummy.

  5. Wow! It looks like your party was sensational. You and Barry certainly thought of everything from clothing, meal and the Dickens reading. What a treat for your guests. You have gone above and beyond to make Christmas merry for your readers too with all the festive photos.

    1. Thanks! It was fun! Will take my awhile to think of how to top that!

  6. Just amazing! You look beautiful, the house looks beautiful, your saucepans are even beautiful and that menu has to be the finest Christmas feast ever.
    Readings, Barry look absolutely spiffing - best night ever in my book and I wasn't even there!

    1. The pots do look elegant! 3 hours of dish washing followed, but all good! Wished you'd been here - we needed more ghosts!

  7. Oh, Barry was born in the wrong era, he should wear that everyday. And you looked beautiful, that dress really suits you. Such a warm party you threw, your friends are so lucky. You inspired me to read A Christmas carol, every year I promise I will and I never do.

    1. It is a good story, isn't it? Yes - will top hats come back? I wish!

  8. Oh Wendy, this looks like so much fun! And you look gorgeous! I'm sure your guests were so appreciative of all the trouble that you and the handsome Barry went to.

    1. Thanks Patricia - it was fun, though some looked worse for wear picking up their cars this am...

  9. You outdid yourself, WMM! You, your dress, the food, the entertainment, Barry's outfit, and your lovely, festive home looked amazing! Thank you for sharing photos from the special evening with your blog friends. :)

  10. Wish I were there for that menu! I love Brussels sprouts!

    Both you and husband look great!

  11. What an incredible evening, thanks for sharing. I've never seen you look so glowing and happy. You've given your family and friends the best holiday gift ever, an unforgettable experience filled with joy and good food. I can feel the love you put in all the little details. Just wanted to wish you (and all your readers) a restful and happy holiday season with family and loved ones.Thanks for a year of inspiring and heartfelt posts I look forward to reading every morning. We're packed and off this evening and ready to hibernate. Stay warm!

    1. Marie - I hope you have an amazing trip - I can't wait to hear all about it!!! Merry Christmas!

  12. Well we were festing with all, and I mean bunches, of Mr. H's extended family. You look lovely and Barry very dapper. I am sure your guests had a great time. Even the Brussels good...I hate them, right up there with beets. Rest up, stay warm, read comfortably and hope you have leftovers to heat up later.

    1. Hey BB - good leftovers! we are in a blizzard - 2 feet of snow so far and high winds - all nice and cozy here inside!

  13. You and Barry look amazing! What a fun night, it looks like you did an incredible job of hosting. I am jealous of your snow, we just can't seem to get anything more than a dusting mixed up with rain.

    1. We are really under it now Cate - one of the worst we've had in a long time!

  14. Oh my gosh, You have such an amazing house, love the greens in your kitchen and how inviting all your chairs look with paintings overhead. You have such a warm, elegant and Christmassy house! Also you and Barry really know how to dress up and throw up party.

    1. Thanks Jody - it is such a teeny tiny house with more stuff than can be shaken at. The portrait over Charles Dickens is of my mother!

  15. Your creativity and attention to the little details amazes me. What a fun idea for a theme Christmas party! Sure looks like you and your friends had a wonderful time. And I'm so impressed that you even harnessed your kids (or other young relatives, perhaps?) into participating with you!

  16. Oh wow, it looks like it was such a fun party! Love Barry's outfit, and you look stunning!!

  17. Oh my gosh, aren't you gorgeous in your Nougat London frock! And Barry is the best party greeter ever! The menu, the ... everything! I'm afraid your duties have expanded for your world tour with bloggy friends.

  18. What an incredible evening, and such a great effort on your part! It looks as if it was fantastic - hope you had a very slow start to the following day...

  19. It looks an amazing evening with a lot of care and attention to detail involved. YOu both look fab and dapper indeed - I might try and do one of these next year myself...


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