Ahh I just spent a lovely weekend (or rather, long Saturday) at my parents' house! Usually, going back leaves me frustrated and desperate to get back to York - I am sent reeling back to my teenage years, pent-up teenage angst rises beyond control and I end up angry and bitchy and even more argumentative than usual!
But since I arrived back late friday night, and left again on Sunday morning, there was no room for any of this. Instead, I sat up chatting with my Mum until 2am, forgoeing some much needed rest and recuperation to discuss daydreams, old friends, politics and love with my wonderful Mum.
On Saturday, we held the annual Winter Party, which took place at our house for the second year in a row. Mum assured me that she didn't need any help, so I spent the morning outside, clearing the massive drift of leaves which was covering the whole garden. This is one of my favourite jobs in the world (as with all of my favourite things, it is the job I loathed most as a child, when me and my brother were each given a rake and some gloves and were expected to earn our pocket money reluctantly freezing to death in a pile of smelly rotten leaves); I love to be knee deep in the different colours and shapes, starting off wrapped up in multiple layers, and finishing hours later, all sweaty in cords and only a Tshirt. Probably my main reason for enjoying this job is the inevitable labourer's lunch - this time being a veggie sausage sandwich and a lovely cuppa :-)
After lunch, I decided to continue with my angelic helpful ways and assist Mum in the kitchen. Despite claiming regularly that she hates cooking, as usual she had made some rather grand plans: homemade bread and dips for starters, followed by steak pie (veggie pie for me), jacket potatoes, mushy peas, spiced red cabbage and gravy, with a selection of baked rasberry cheesecake, carrot cake and marzipan fruit cake for pud. One woman, one kitchen, one small Aga, one day: a lot of stress! I won't bore you with the gritty details, but imagine our rather sizeable kitchen piled high with dirty dishes, covered in grated carrot and chopped cabbage, mushy peas boiling on one plate, cakes being skewered, cheese cakes being cooled, water being boiled for washing up...
As usual, she pulled it off. More than just pulled it off, even. It was amazing. We had fireworks and amazing wine (I love going home because I always get really nice wine - it is turning me into a wine snob!) and I ate more red cabbage than one small person should. And 3 slices of cake. It was great to be surrounded by friends and family, away from the trials of my degree just for a day, laughing and getting drunk and fat.
Now I am back and getting stuck in to the middle of the term. I went for a fantastic run this afternoon, and finally I have found some energy - time to work on that half marathon again. This is my favourite time of year, and it seems to be more enjoyable and more vibrant than ever.
PS. The marzipan fruit cake I mentioned above can be found in Nigella's books (Express or Domestic Goddess I think). It is possibly my favourite cake ever, and I don't even like marzipan (there is no marzipan in it, only ground almonds). TRY IT, I urge you!