Over Christmas something very strange has happened to our fridge, and our biscuit tins. Well, not exactly tins. I used to have real biscuit tins, with quirky retro pictures on them, but they didn't really keep biscuits very well - especially after the boys left home and it took us days, if not weeks, to get through one packet. So I gave in and bought those nice plastic boxes from Woolworth's with blue click-on seals for the lids. Now the cheese crackers and malt biscuits finally stay crisp.
Normally crackers and malt biscuits are the only biscuity things you'll find in my pantry. As for cake, forget it. I'm a cook, not a baker. Besides, cakes aren't Harvey's thing, so if I do make one for visitors I end up eating most of it, slice by decadent slice.
But before Christmas I do try to Make an Effort. It doesn't run to actual Christmas cake, which neither of us is hugely keen on. But a few home made mince pies are likely to appear (thanks to the wonderful mincemeat Alison gives me), along with some kind of cookies or truffles or macaroons (handily gluten free for people who need that).
And after Christmas the fridge fills up with interesting leftovers - various kinds of meat, exotic bits of cheese, potato salad made from the unused Jersey Bennes (this year with real mayonnaise, made to go with the remains of a side of smoked salmon brought by our Boxing Day guests). Maybe some lemon mousse or berries, and always whipped cream.
Friends come round in a steady and welcome stream to help us eat it all up. But they also bring their own contributions, for the tins and the fridge.
So this is where the magic fridge comes in. We eat and eat (well, I certainly do), but while the total quantity of food available changes in interesting ways, it never seems to get much smaller.
Our macaroons make way for Dale's shortbread. Our smoked salmon turns into Kathrine's chicken. Apricot truffles appear in place of the last few meringues. The German Advent chocolates vanish, but Diane's French ones step in.
It'll all settle down eventually, I know, and our fridge and tins will return to their modest everyday state. But in the meantime it's wonderful - as long as I don't make the mistake of trying on trousers in the sales. Then everything suddenly turns to custard.