Day 175

Level 2 Chi Kung.

The pikkujoulo went well. The tortilla was a big hit and the champagne slammers (made with my own cherries – steeped in brandy for the last 6 months) and mulled wine, were also well received. The new marshmallow recipe I tried didn’t go exactly to plan (tasted good but a bit too chewy) but people ate them anyway. I did have a slight wobble when I realised that I was about to serve blini to an actual Russian. When she asked admiringly how on earth I managed to get them all the same size -and I told her it’s easy when you buy them from M&S – I was reminded of Ann Eade‘s famous recipe for brandy snaps!

While I entertained the mummies, the children ran up and down the stairs, squealing in excitement and generally having a great time. After about an hour of this, Katie brought them all out to the kitchen to raid the freezer for ice creams. I was happy with this and so were most of the mummies but Lena said that Arina couldn’t have one as she has been complaining of a sore throat. Estelle and I both said we thought ice cream would be nice and soothing for a sore throat but Lena wouldn’t be swayed and explained that Russians believe that cold foods are very bad for sore throats and coughs. The children went away – Arina looking a bit disconsolate, the rest munching on their ice creams. A few minutes later, when the mummies’ chatting was once again in full swing, Sophie (the sweet and reserved older sister of Clara) drifted into the kitchen as light and quiet as thistledown, opened the freezer and calmly extracted an ice cream. I said ‘Are you having another one sweetie?’. Sophie murmured ‘It’s not a second one’ and drifted out of the kitchen. I was wondering whether to say anything when there was a break in the conversation and Estelle suddenly pricked up her ears. I said that I wasn’t worried about Sophie having another ice cream, I was just worried that she might be taking it for Arina. Estelle gave chase and, after what sounded like a heated exchange in French, returned with the half unwrapped ice cream in her hand. A few minutes later, all the children came in holding hands and appeared to be silently counting down (like you do when about to play a piece of music) and then sang, in unison and quite tunefully, ‘ARINA NEEDS AN ICE CREAM’. By this time, I think that all the other mummies were praying for Lena to give in. Poor Lena, obviously feeling a bit defensive by this stage, said ‘I let her have chocolate’. I got a cake of chocolate out of the treat cupboard without the children seeing and asked Lena silently if I could give it to Arina. Lena nodded and with some relief I handed Arina a 75g block of Green and Black’s best organic milk chocolate.

Well it turned out that Lena’s nod had meant that I could give Arina a SQUARE of chocolate, not the whole block. But it was too late – Arina and her gallant supporters had run from the kitchen at speed, clutching their new found riches. Lena very sensibly decided to roll with the punches.

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