Come Landlord, fill the flowing bowl, until the cup runs over!
You’ve waited long enough. You’ve stuck with me this far. It’s time to let you in to one of the inner mysteries of the Viper clan. Brace yourself for the dark horrors of the Yule Sacrifice.
Some people (dull, joyless people) would suggest that The Yule Sacrifice should be called The Christmas Party. Where’s the mystery in that? What kind of Gradgrindish behaviour would that be?!
The Sacrifice certainly requires a lot of sacrifice. Firstly, there are the animals that have to die so that we may eat. Apologies to vegetarian and vegan readers. My clan are carnivorous. There was a gigantic ham (cooked by the Dowager Viper, my aged parent), a goose and a turkey (cooked by my good self). Side dishes and deserts were from Mrs Viper and the extended disciples of the Viperish Lord.
We began planning this year’s sacrifice way back in June. We found a beautiful set of rooms in a location that was accessible to all attendees. Here’s a link Manor Room – Teversal . The rooms are absurdly beautiful for such a low price. The fact that you can get this place at a tenner an hour is just amazing. I almost don’t want anyone else to find out about it, because it will be booked up all the time. Still, they deserve the advertising. There is a hall (with a HUGE Christmas tree and festive bunting), a kitchen and proper disabled access toilets. There are also plenty of comfortable chairs, enough tables for more than twenty guests and a surprising number of other amenities. The rooms are in the middle of a quiet area of cottages, very close to a church and a manor house. Beautiful place. We were there in June and it was delightful, so it made sense to choose it as a venue for Yule.
Mrs Viper took control of the logistics and organisation. I’m superficially charming and I can cook, but I would never get a party organized. Mrs Viper gets things done. She contacted the attendees, acquired the necessities and worked out the administration. I helped with the heavy lifting, the cooking and the smarmy smiling.
Timing was crucial: I wanted my goose and turkey to be hot, even if many of the other dishes could be served cold. Imagine the amusing scenes as Mrs Viper and myself wrestled the fowl into layers of foil and insulated bags. Goose fat everywhere. Sexy, I know.
We drove off into a chilly evening. I love Britain and I love Christmas. Driving through winding country roads, past cottages with decorations glowing within, was part of the event for me. In the area of the Manor Rooms, they even have old fashioned looking street lamps. All very Narnia-esque.
Mrs Viper and I were the first to arrive. Behold the glory of what we saw.
Charming, don’t you think? Like the set for an Agatha Christie.
My job was to set out enough tables for twenty diners and a gigantic buffet. Fortunately, I am a big strapping fellow, so this was no difficulty for me. I’m a muscle-bound genius, you know, like Bruce Wayne. As guests began to arrive, bringing their dishes, we were able to set up the buffet table. Here it is in progress.
By the time it was finished, there was no room left on the table. We had to bring out the puddings a little later. The meal had an informal style. We opted to serve ourselves (all of the servant livery was being laundered, so the Viper staff had the night off).
There were a number of delicious pudding options. This one’s a show stopper.
I could lie to you. I have no morals. The truth, though, is that this monster croquembouche was from Aldi. There were homemade things, too, but we felt that this shop-bought beauty was worth it. It still had to be constructed by the lovely Mrs Viper.
For those of you who care about my outfit (which is most likely all of you), I went for casual. Anatomic shoes (recent acquisitions from my sweet, sweet sugar daddy), old pair of Next jeans (from last Christmas), my Hygge jumper and a jacket from Hackett (a cast-off from the sugar daddy – he is good to me). Check me out. Pure sex.
You would, though, wouldn’t you?
What shall I tell you about the festivities? The children running around and giggling, the laughter and the music. I’ll leave it all to your imagination. Suffice it to say, the spirit of Yuletide cheer was in full flow. There were amusing spillages of Bucks Fizz, there was hearty feasting, there was much conviviality. It’s rare for twenty of us to be able to get together and it’s even rarer that I can properly enjoy it. Fortunately for me, my depression was weak that night. I think a bit of Christmassy magic chased off my more shadowy self.
The evening passed too quickly. By half past nine, all of us had returned the rooms to their original pristine condition. Rubbish was packed, left overs were claimed and cheerful farewells were said. The last to leave were myself and Mrs Viper. Despite limited budgets, family and friends had pulled together to create something that felt indulgent. Everyone had given according to their means and everyone shared our collected blessings. Mrs Viper and myself had a quiet moment of calm and then we departed into the freezing night. A successful Yule Sacrifice. Next year I’ll try to get some photos of the giant wicker statues and the standing stones.
I think that will do for now, don’t you?