Grandparents are amazing people. I don't have any of my own anymore, but Josh has all of his and I received three gifts from them, all arriving promptly on November 26, the day before my birthday! I am amazed at the organisation of grandparents! I suppose when you've little else to do but think of family, then you would be terribly good at remembering birthdays. Pooled together their presents enabled me to buy a stack of beautiful books.
I bet loads of people are getting Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion for Christmas. It's so beautiful. It is an incredibly comprehensive book teaching you how to plant a strong, sustainable veggie garden and how to put the results to good use! Of course we don't exactly have any sort of a garden in the building right now, unless you count the strip of hard earth by the fence filled with incredibly ugly and useless shrubs. The apartment block across the way from us puts their garden to much better use, all the beds full of rich soil, growing silverbeet and herbs by their washing line. Brilliant.
Two Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall books too. Such a fan. Sous Chef at the River Cafe, got fired, became food writer. How ideal is that? I wouldn't have the first clue how to get into food writing. Generally I don't have a clue how to do anything at the moment other than cook and make things for Wolf and generally be incredibly domestic.
Another thing that has amazed me is beautiful grandmotherly crafts. Josh's paternal grandparents make incredible hand-made cards. While Neville composes witty poems about the recepient, complete with cleverly Photoshop-ed photos to match the sentiments (here is a grandfather who no grandchild will ever have to explain the workings of computers to), Elva makes these incredibly delicate and unique quilted cards. They are always mounted in lovely thick textured card.
These three were for Josh and my birthdays, the green one the most recent creation received on Thursday. But the yellow is my favourite.
Elva also makes does beautiful cross-stitched cards. The blue flowers were from when Wolf was born.
She knits, sews and bakes wonderfully as well. A really traditional grandmother! To me that's sort of amazing. I grew up reading storybooks about such grandmothers with their pure silver or white hair, always bearing baked goods, sitting in a rocking chair knitting you a scarf, telling you stories about their own charmed childhood. Meanwhile my own grandmothers were sort of Asian battle-axes; one smoked, read romance novels, played patience and did jigsaw puzzles all the time, the other I hardly knew, she having many other grandchildren who spoke her language and lived in the same country as herself. The only thing I remember my paternal grandmother cooking well was Oxtail soup. It was vibrantly red and slightly oily but very tasty. I think she adapted it from some sort of Italian recipe because I don't think the Chinese version would have included so much tomato and carrot. Her scent was a combination of cigarette smoke (Benson and Hedges I'm pretty sure) and Glen 20. She played the Chinese Zither. She dressed like the queen. Despite all that I think that our paternal grandmothers would have liked each other. Elva would have made cakes and my grandmother would have eaten them all. They would have drunk copious amounts of tea and been very impressed with each other having lived long enough to see another generation added to their respective families. In another World maybe.