Brussels sprouts and electric shocks

I'm sure you'll all be edified to know that I ate my Brussels Sprouts. They were cooked very well and therefore there were none of the sulphurous compounds which apparently cause the general distaste for them. We had a magnificent lunch, actually, cooked by my sister Mary. I brought them some pink champagne so we could toast our Cockney - Canvey - Croydon cultural roots.

One present which went down well was the one I bought for my nephew Patrick who is 16. In "Shocking Roulette", up to four people put a finger in the machine and one receives an electrick shock. Shock level can be set to high or low. Really silly but hilarious.

Perfect gift from Mary - Shadowplay by Clare Asquith, a book I have been meaning to read. It explores the hidden beliefs and coded politics of the Bard, especially his Catholic references.

I gave her Raymond Arroyo's book on Mother Angelica - another one I must get round to.

After lunch, we played a speeded up version of scrabble called "Take Two", Poker (Texas Hold'em rules which seem to have become popular), Blackjack with me as the dealer, trying to remember a reasonable set of house rules. These were played with loose change from Mum's special margarine tub. We had some rounds of Uno (so young Charlie could join in). There was also had time to watch the Christmas "Doctor Who", eat some "Bubble and Squeak" and discuss the present state of the Church at some length while the children were watching something else. A most enjoyable day off.

The one thing I miss on Christmas Day is the Urbi et Orbi Blessing. England is an hour behind Italy and so the blessing takes place in the middle of my 10.30am Mass.

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