It isn’t Christmas without turkey

It’s cold here right now and the cold reminds me of Christmas… and Christmas in July… and food and turkey dinners.  At least that was my train of thought when I wrote this.

And that in turn reminded me of our last Christmas in the  UK when I decided to take along my entire family… well, my entire SA family, that is, which consists of my two kids and their partners. You may even have read about it in one of my previous posts: Driving in the UK can be trying.

Anyway, we had planned to spend Christmas itself with my elderly, but still spritely, mother in Scotland.  It entailed the long drive up the M6 from Berkshire in the south, where we were visiting my brother, to Fife across the border, with a couple of overnight stops along the way.

Since it’s generally boiling hot in SA at Christmastime, my daughter decided it would be great to have a full-on Christmas dinner.  All good and well, except she decided this about 10 December, just a couple of days before we departed.

Well, there’s no Christmas without a turkey dinner, or so they say.  So with this in mind, I set out to arrange the crucial turkey… but it proved to be not quite so simple.  It never is!

Turkey dinner

Not being a lover of frozen supermarket turkeys and wanting the real thing, I thought that an order placed by 10 December would be ample notice.  So, I requested my mother to call the local butcher and thought that would be it… all would be sorted.  But no, it seems not.

Mr Mitchell the butcher, advised her that apparently, in the UK, a mere two weeks notice for a turkey at Christmastime equates to a demonstrable lack of planning.  Turkeys need to be ordered by 2 December… at the very latest!

Cor blimey, I thought, since I was getting in the groove, now what?

My friend and chef/owner at a beautiful restaurant in Winchester, to the rescue.

I placed the call and proffered my question: “George (let’s call him that for now), please can you find me a fresh, free-range turkey for Christmas?  I will be en route to Scotland from 20 December to 23 December, so can collect en route, or once I get there.”

Yes, seriously, that’s what I asked him.

Without blinking, (well, I wasn’t there, so perhaps he did blink a little), he said he’d call me back within 30 minutes.  And true as Bob, within the half hour I had my instructions.

“Your bird will be waiting for you to collect at the turkey breeding farm, Johnson & Swarbrick, in Goosnargh on 21 December.” Awesome!

Collecting the all-important turkey

Next dilemma… what to do with this bird from 21 – 23 December while travelling for two days in the Lake District? Ah yes, call Ken, at Denehurst Guesthouse in Windermere, my annual stop for the last several years and highly recommended.  It was actually the scene of another little post of mine: The mysteries of Bluetooth.

“Ken, thanks for having the kids and I, but do you have room for a turkey too?”

Half an hour later, and with a chuckle he called back: “No probs, Linda (in a Geordie accent), my deep freeze is full, but I just called my friend and he will house it for you.”

Glorious, all sorted!  Next step, call my mother: “Mum we’ve organised a turkey, it’s all arranged.”

“Oh dear”, she says, “the butcher just called back, they’ve arranged one too.”

Anyone have a lot of recipes for leftover turkey…?

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