While it has no start date, I think it is safe to say that we are in Yule. I wouldn't suggest that work has slowed but the holding of meetings at work seems to have wrapped up. Next week I write and notice that the phone isn't ringing that much.
We wanted to be more Yule-like at home, too, but driving around town yesterday we could not find a tree. Have they all been sold already, the vendors moved on to planning their big Easter tree sales? They did have a few straggly things at Home Depot but I like buying from a charity or a grower. In PEI it was easy as one of my Masonic bretheren ran a tree farm...and you know we of the inner circle get the sweetest trees in such circumstances. Here, however, if the Masons are running tree sales they are doing it in a very Masonic manner - in secret. So if you know where the police or a hockey team are selling good trees in K'town let me know.
But more important that mere ornament is food. Having come from service, as they say, food and drink play a huge role in the season. And I have plans. This year I break out the Victorian and more ancient drinks list. Sure I have the sherry and the barley wines laid in but there are drinks to be made from them. Consider the ghost of concoctions past called "Lamb's Wool" from the excellent 1984ish book Making Mead:
We cannot but marvel at recipes such as the following which we came across. Take 1 1/2 kg (3 lb) of honey, 4 teaspoons grated nutmeg, 40 g (2 oz) ginger and the juice of four lemons. Add 18 l (4 gall) of beer and heat until the herbs are well blended with the beer. Strain and serve immediately. (Presumably a friend or two dropped in).Not only are there lambs wools to be had but braggots, caudles, Negus, punches, mulled drinks, bishops, wassail bowls to be tried. As we learned from Tales from the Green Valley last winter, for hundreds of years - if not over a thousand - our forefathers relied heavily on stored foods and spices. This season is our last vestigial connection to that way of living, when dried foods are reconstituted with preserved and preserving boozy drink, recalling when tropical spices and fruit were imported to add to the local product, through a supply chain we, the now grocered, assume never was. Check here if you need greater details for next year. This year I will in part rely on that source of wisdom, the cookbooks of the Two Fat Ladies, too, though I lack the holy grail shown above.
So forget chocolate and candy canes. Make something with lard. Make real mincemeat. Spice your mutton with nutmeg and clove. Roast a clove stuck orange and float it in spiced port. Fatten yourselves up.