Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas with the 'flu

Christmas Day at the town reservoir.

Nova Scotia was one of the few places in southern Canada that had a White Christmas. We had a snow storm just before Christmas and then it turned cold so the snow stayed. Christmas Eve was a lovely starry night and Christmas Day was sunny and white. I unfortunately was down with the 'flu. Got the 'flu shot the week before and then got the 'flu. So much for the shot. It is supposed to take a couple of weeks to kick in, so I guess I should have gotten it sooner.

Thanks to the 'flu I missed out on a dinner party, a dance, and the Christmas Eve carolling service in the Harbour. Christmas Day I was damned if I was going to miss out on turkey dinner too, so I dragged myself out to the Community Dinner. The dinner was great, but previously when I was still healthy I had volunteered for the after-dinner clean-up crew and that did me in.

As it turned out, there were plumbing issues that resulted in no hot water and a malfunctioning dish sterilizer, so I don't know how good a job we did. Even though we knew it was kind of useless we ran everything through the sterilizer anyway, and that was a major bottleneck; we spent a lot of time standing around waiting while it sterilized each batch of dishes in cold water. Cleaning cooking pots with cold water is not fun either.

There was a lot of leftover vegetables. We joked about having a community mashed potato dinner in January.

One of the organizers, George, offered me a leftover jug of cider and I wanted that cider badly but it meant I would need a ride home because I didn't have the energy to walk home with a half-gallon of cider. And at that point the only rides on offer were from people who were staying to the bitter end of the clean-up.

I really should have abandoned the cider and just gone home. But I didn't. So Boxing Day I paid for my folly with yet more sickness, and added a Boxing Day open house to the list of Missed Events Due to 'Flu. On the other hand, I have had a nice pot of mulled cider on the wood stove for the last week and I am grateful for that. I also got a second turkey dinner as take-away after the Christmas Dinner, and I had made several pots of soup before I got sick (potato-leek, split-pea, and red-pepper-and-kefir), so I did pretty well in the food department. One friend gave me a nut cake for Christmas, I bought a fruitcake and made some chocolate macaroons, and my neighbour gave me shortbread cookies.

Last night the rain storm started and was still going strong this afternoon. All our Christmas snow is gone. And I am still sick. The nice thing about the rain though is that I don't have to walk the dog. She has no desire to press the issue. She has abandoned her doghouse and is sprawled across the livingroom floor on her back.

I've taken an interest in the history of the "Dark Ages", I got a couple of books and a video on the topic from the library. The video was kind of fun, it was called Medieval Lives and is a BBC series hosted by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. There's a good description of the series in Wikipedia.

The content is serious but the presentation is as funny as one might expect of a Monty Python alumnus. I kind of like Jones' reason for doing this series, that he wanted to get his own back at the Renaissance. He deals with the smug assumption that the Renaissance was so much better than what preceded it. He also says that a lot of what we think we know about the Middle Ages is actually 19th century propaganda. I guess with the Industrial Revolution creating so much misery for so many people, it was a way to convince people that things were so much better than they were back in the Dark Ages.

The books I got are histories by Thomas Cahill, one of them being How the Irish Saved Civilization. It focuses in particular on the period immediately following the collapse of the Roman Empire, which is the period I am most interested in right now. It's hard to find books on that time period through the local library system. And apparently, according to some reading I've been doing on the internet, there is a lack of english-language books on the topic in general. Apparently European historians are more interested than English historians in that time period.

Some photos of my dog...

After three months of visiting this pond in the Acadia woods, Hapi has finally spotted the goldfish that live there.

Hapi strolling in the Kentville Ravine.

Hapi in her doghouse.


Rain Trueax said...

Nice photos but that doesn't sound like a fun way to spend Christmas. I am allergic to flu shots; so never get one. Every year I'd have one and get sicker and sicker afterward. The last time was as bad as if I'd had the flu itself. I haven't had the flu only once in the thirty years or more since. When I was allergic to them, I got a lump in my arm at the site of the injection which is how I knew it was allergy and it lasted for months.

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh poor Annie, how wretched for you!
the first pic of Hapi is beautiful, what a gorgeous animal. Don't tell Ansa I said that!
Get well soon, that's an order!

Annie said...

Hi Rain, too bad about the allergy! I am pretty sure I am not allergic, I just didn't get it in time. Anyway, they say it is not 100% protection, some people still get the flu even with the shot.

Hi WWW, well Ansa is a pretty dog too, they might be neck-and-neck in a dog beauty contest! I am working on the get well soon thing, seems to dragging on a bit though.

Happy New Year to you both!

Anne said...

It's a long time post Christmas now (I'm just getting caught up with blogs) so I hope the flu has left you and that you still have some goodies.

I also find the Middle Ages an interesting period. Jerry and I have watched 3 Teaching Company courses on the Middle Ages, and one on the Vikings. We enjoyed all of them, but I particularly liked the professor who presented the Middle Ages courses. His name is Phillip Daileader.