Christmas in February, are you mad Kermie?
MERRY Christmas! What? In February?
This is how long it has taken us to catch up with two of our three boys to celebrate Christmas together.
That's what occurs when both Tom (and his girlfriend Laura) and Nick all work in hospitality.
The lead-up to Christmas is flat chat so that's out. Tom and Laura work together but have different days off than Nick, and Nick's roster is usually provided to him at the 11th hour, which makes planning hard.
Then there were other events that we had to attend, plus that lack of aircon for a month which meant coming to MooTown in record- breaking heat wasn't on.
So our turkey breast sits in the freezer and the use-by date on smoked ham is drawing ever closer.
In the end, we managed to find a two-hour window in Hooterville where we could all get together, after Rita's hair appointment and doctor's visit (never lose a good cutter or doc).
So at 1pm we settled down in the beer garden of Hooterville's Terminus Hotel, beer in hand and waited for the trio to arrive.
Surprisingly, for a couple of lads who've rarely been on time for anything, they turned up just a minute or two later. It was at that moment we realised just how much we missed them all.
A round of drinks on the table and Chrissy presents were swapped and opened.
We'd put together a photo album for each of the boys, chronicling their lives to date with the last page stating, "to be continued...” To our delight, they loved them.
As they pointed out, computers and phones are full of photos but who sits down and goes through them?
They were a real hit and we'll continue to provide them with a pictorial history of their lives for as long as ours last.
A big shout out to Vista Print which provided a fantastic service.
Because I'm the easiest person in the world to buy for, I, of course, received a couple of bottles of my favourite tipple (scotch).
This time though, a couple I'd not tasted. Monkey Shoulder I'd heard of with good reports but Auchentoshan, which sounds distinctly German, was a new one on me.
Even more confusing was the American Oak label.
Finally I found the words, "single malt scotch whisky”. What a confluence of countries.
Nick unfortunately had to depart at 3pm but Tom and Laura were at a loose end so I rang friends Bob and Sandy, who were next on our visiting agenda and asked if we could bring Tom and Laura. With the welcome mat out for us all, we arrived at theirs, armed with scotch just asking to be tasted.
Upon close inspection of the box, it turns out Auchentoshan is pronounced ock-un-tosh-un, and is a Gaelic word for corner of the field.
Figured I should get a bit of it into the corner of my mouth, to which I had a very willing helper in our Tom.
Tom's a dedicated foodie and, as it happens, a dedicated drinkie as well. To me this was a better-than- decent tipple that flowed well over the taste buds.
To Tom it had hints of vanilla, bourbon and a bunch of other stuff. I read the bottle after and he had it all down to a tee. Swears he didn't read it first. Shame he couldn't get a paying job in that field.
Of course, we had to crack open the Monkey Shoulder after that - an excellent drop we agreed. The miracle of the afternoon is that we didn't polish off both bottles.
I'll give credit to Tom, who said to put them away so I could savour them at home. Is this really my kid?
We had a great couple of hours before we had to move on to our third engagement of the day, an overnight stay with our old mate, Lorna.
Lorna is getting on towards 80 years young.
She also likes cars and has ordered herself a Bullitt Mustang to go with her 1966 Pontiac Bonneville and boring daily drive Camry.
We arrived and she came to the door proudly displaying the number plate that will adorn her new drive. A lot of personalised plates don't do it for me but STVMCQ is, I reckon, a ripper.
The car should be in her possession next time we meet and she graciously consented to letting me have it for an hour or three so "Rita and I can have a decent conversation without you interrupting constantly”.
Ha. My drivel works. Silly woman. I may never come back.
Take care of you, Kermie.