Christmas stories 8: The bowl of dripping, the pyjamas and the broken down car

I’ve been sharing my Christmas stories but for some reason, I missed yesterday; here is story #8

The bowl of dripping, the pyjamas and the broken down car

My dad, Don always shared the preparing and cooking of food, and shared a lot of other household chores and child rearing, as well as growing vegetables in our garden. He always prepared the turkey – just as he prepared other game, plucking and drawing, trussing and stuffing. He would buy a great bird at the cattle market auction, bring it home, hang it, then prepare it on Christmas Eve ready to be cooked the following day. He and mum shared the cooking but he was in charge of the preparation of the bird… more below on that! On one occasion he had hung the bird as usual in the shed but somehow a creature, probably a cat, maybe a fox had sneaked in and ravaged it… that was the year we had a turkey with only one wing… but that’s a story for another time.
Over the years mum’s sister Audrey always spent Christmas with us, however, the first year she was married, she and her new husband decided to spend it together in their own home. Although a good cook herself, and an excellent cook of puddings, cakes and desserts, Audrey was not confident in cooking a bigger bird than the normal roast chicken the two of them shared. Don, always an early riser even on Christmas morning, said he would come round, prepare their bird, put it into the oven, and the rest was down to them.
On Christmas morning, pint of tea having been drunk, jumper pulled on over pyjamas, socks and shoes on his feet, Don went out to the car, put a bowl of dripping in the boot and wedged it in place. All the family did this when transporting such things – there was the memorable occasion when his other sister-in-law, Beryl, had come over for a visit with a car load of children. Our family only used dripping for cooking, hers spread it on toast and ate it as a treat – a cheap treat, but a treat all the same. Dripping is the fat and gelled juices from roast meat – it may sound disgusting but for some as well as being used to fry things, it’s a delicacy to be enjoyed on hot toast. Beryl accepted a bowl of dripping from mum, put it in the boot of the car and as it was a lovely sunny day, decided to take the children somewhere – possibly the seaside. The inevitable happened, the dripping melted in the heat, the bowl tipped over, and ever after that the car reeked of it!
Back to Christmas; armed with his  carving knife and steel (for re-sharpening the knife), a sweater pulled over his pyjamas and an apron over that, he started the car – except he didn’t… it wouldn’t start… despite turning the starter handle it remained stationary and silent. Nothing daunted, Don reclaimed the bowl of dripping from the boot… and walked the couple of miles to Audrey’s home, armed with his knife and steel. She was delighted to see him, and no doubt made him something to drink while he sorted out their bird. Maybe her husband gave him a wee dram, but turkey sorted and in the oven, covered in streaky bacon, Don took up his implements and walked home, in his pyjamas.
He tried the car again later… it started perfectly.

PS The gorgeous Christmas tree in my featured image isn’t ours but from my friend Lana, last year. She has a great hotel, so when you’re able, maybe you can visit!!

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