Christmas Eve at 107 Station Road
Over the years, we remained a very active household, there was always a body to be dropped off, or picked up from somewhere. When preparing food I would often cook a little extra, because there would be an extra mouth to feed, a friend visiting the house. Friends of the children would be invited for a sleepover; they always seemed pleased to stay at the house. I recall waking up one morning and to find two Swedish lads bunked on the easy chairs in the front room. On another occasion I remember arriving back from holiday to find a group of Irish lasses occupying our girls bedroom, invited there by Peter.
It is fair to say that we celebrated many family occasions with a meal. I can remember Uncle Kevin arriving from Dublin. He always came to visit for the Easter. My Mom and Dad with Uncle Kevin, Kath and Harry with Nanny Mill and of course our own family, all sat around the table for Easter Sunday dinner. With the exception of Uncle Kevin, the family would get together for Christmas dinner, these are memories to treasure and it was always a lovely occasion to have everyone together. In the run-up to the celebration, Geoff would go up to the timber yard at the top of Station Road and purchase the largest Christmas tree he could afford. He would get a good discount on the tree, as the big ones were often too large for normal rooms. Inevitably the height of the tree would be such that it would not fit into the room. The problem would be solved by lopping a few feet off the tree and the unwanted bit would be passed on to our Auntie Kath and Uncle Hal. Amazingly they would decorate the cast-off piece and it looked a treat.
On Christmas Eve, we would prepare food for that evening, and all the dinner for the following day. Christmas Eve was open house for visitors. The table was set as a buffet for visitors, and anyone in the family would pop in to wish us Merry Christmas and enjoy a snack and a drink. This custom went on for many years until families had their own commitment, and as families do, went their separate ways.
Prior to the winter season, our immediate family always celebrated the yearly Harvest Supper, which we held in October. This was an occasion looked forward to by all the family. I cannot remember when or for what reason this became an annual event, but the question would be asked in the house throughout September, when are we having the Harvest Supper?
I would cook everything myself, all homemade pies, both savoury and sweet, soup, with lots of different breads. To be honest, nearly all of the breads came from the local bakery, that is except the Irish Soda bread, which I made myself. In addition there would be all sorts of fruit, apples, pears, grapes, melon and corn-on-the-cob. In addition we had an assorted cheese board, with a variety of delicious cheeses. To wash it all down we had cider and wine for the adults and minerals for the children. It was another happy occasion when our family was able to be together.