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Britain has been inching toward a semi-official two weeks off at Christmas and New Year’s in recent years — and, okay, nothing gets done Christmas week and New Year’s week; it does make a sort of sense — but, actually, everybody buggered off TODAY. I think taking the Friday before is pushing it, don’t you?

Poor old Uncle B was trying to get a little last-minute work done, and nobody was answering phone. So we said a merry “screw it!” and began our holidays, too.

That’s Old Skullcrusher draped in misteltoe, in case it isn’t immediately obvious. He’s the main housebeam, and that’s the front hall now — but we’re pretty sure he was once outside the house and that was an animal run, ending in what was an open-air stable and is now the kitchen. It may have been enclosed as recently as the 1970s, which is when the front door was built in its present location. It’s a whole forensic dealie, trying to work out the many phases of Badger House.

Anyhow, here come the holidays — Merry Preemptive Christmas, minions!


Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: December 19, 2008, 7:05 pm

Merry Christmas Weasel, Uncle Badger and Old Skullcrusher!

Speaking of skull crushing – have y’all acquired / sampled any new and / or notable scotches since you arrived?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 19, 2008, 7:09 pm

Uncle B doesn’t touch the stuff, Enas. He’s strictly cheap vodka, expensive champagne and the occasional brandy.

I haven’t sampled anything new since I’ve been here. Well, couple of beers. But I did have to blow through a whole, LARGE bottle of Glenmorangie before I left RI, as I wasn’t permitted to ship it.

It was a real ordeal 😉

Comment from dfbaskwill
Time: December 19, 2008, 7:26 pm

A 1970’s kitchen without a lime-green counter top! Those British think of everything.

In other news, I just read a story in the USA Today (now $1.00 since you left, I’ll blame you!) about how Gray Squirrels from America are displacing the native British Red Squirrels. Something about how the American squirrels work harder at collecting nuts than the natives and out-compete them. I’m not buying it though. The Old World Weaver Finch from Jolly Olde is now in all 50 States and is known here as the House Sparrow. Bastards are everywhere; the British still have it!

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: December 19, 2008, 7:39 pm

Ooo – champagne eh? As usual I’m a bit at a loss for good Christmas presents for the Parental Units. I visited one of the local liquor stores recently and noticed they had Moët et Chandon in thier special reserve section where they keep the good hootch. What’s Uncle Badger’s estimation of that brand? Good stuff? Overpriced? If he wouldn’t mind writing up some recommendations I’d be grateful.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 19, 2008, 8:02 pm

Brits imported the gray squirrel on purpose; it’s hard to feel much sympathy. But the little gray bastards displace the red ones wherever they go. Nobody is quite sure why.

I’ve only seen one red squirrel in the wild. I was hiking in an Audubon preserve in Rhode Island. Cute as a button, but he was a nasty little bastard. Followed me from tree to tree barking at me…

Comment from MCPO Airdale
Time: December 19, 2008, 8:29 pm

“Kiss me, you fool!”

Next time you’re, “down the pub” order a “light and bitter”. If I’m not drinking whiskey, it’s what I always order.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: December 19, 2008, 8:37 pm

Umm…. well, Moet isn’t one of my favourites. It’s the usual ‘big brand’ thing. But tastes in champagne, like anything else, are very personal and The Weasel and I are odd (you don’t say!), in that one of our favourites is Piper Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top non-vintage, which isn’t particularly expensive (here) and has a lot of Pinot Noir grape, as opposed to Chardonnay. So far, it’s seen off all challengers in the ‘let’s pretend we’re rich drunks’ stakes.

The trouble with champagne (I think) is that A/ it’s driven by brand snobbery and B/ though the blenders are supposed to ensure the big names are much the same every year, it doesn’t always work out that way. A few years ago, her Ladyship and I got into Lanson in a big way, but a couple of years later it seemed to lose its special quality (it was very fresh and almost citrussy – great in Summer)- which is when we stumbled on the Heidsieck.

To be honest, other than to say sample several to see which you like, it’s hard to advise, but if you want to give someone a ‘big name’ champagne, I don’t think you would go wrong with Mumm Cordon Rouge or Veuve Clicquot. And I mean the non-vintage kinds. How anyone can afford/justify the prices charged for vintage champagne is way beyond my badgery ken!

A bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee sells for around £100 apiece over here and, even if I could afford it, I’m damned if I would pay it!

Comment from dfbaskwill
Time: December 19, 2008, 8:40 pm

I spent two years in Michigan (it only seemed like a century). The squirrels there are red and seemed much more malevolent than the friendly gray guys at Penn State. Everyone in Michigan warned me not to try to feed them, I don’t know why. Are there any nasty mal-colored weasels?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 19, 2008, 8:47 pm

Also, Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top was the official champagne of the maiden voyage of the Titanic (which turned out to be the ONLY voyage of the Titanic, you may recall).

Also, it’s kosher.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 19, 2008, 8:50 pm

And…more on Veuve Clicquot.

Comment from Pupster
Time: December 19, 2008, 10:36 pm

Happy Holiday Smoochies back atcha!

Comment from Jill
Time: December 20, 2008, 12:23 am

Enjoy your final Christmas as an unwed weasel.

(Sounds like a fly-by-night charity…the Badger Home For Unwed Weasels)

Comment from naleta
Time: December 20, 2008, 2:32 am

I don’t live very far from Jackson, Michigan. They have some of the biggest black squirrels I ever saw living in that town! Makes the regular red or gray squirrels look downright puny.

Comment from JuliaM
Time: December 20, 2008, 2:51 am

“But the little gray bastards displace the red ones wherever they go. Nobody is quite sure why.”

It was originally thought to be habitat loss, or being outcompeted by the introduced greys.

But recently, it’s been considered that squirrel pox (to which the greys have more immunity, being faster breeders) is one of the main contributors to their decline.

Comment from JuliaM
Time: December 20, 2008, 2:54 am

“The Old World Weaver Finch from Jolly Olde is now in all 50 States and is known here as the House Sparrow. Bastards are everywhere; the British still have it!”

Not on their native soil, sadly. We may have to import some back!

Comment from porknbean
Time: December 20, 2008, 4:16 am

I Iived in MI for a few years and noted the bigger red squirrels. They seemed more curious too. Maybe they hung around because I would sit on my front porch, munch an apple, then throw the core in the bushes. Never failed, I would go back out and one of the little suckers will have retrieved the core, eaten half if it, and leave it on the top step.
Got a picture of one hanging on the outside of my livingroom window screen looking in.

Comment from dfbaskwill
Time: December 20, 2008, 10:31 am

Sorry to hear of the Weaver Finch/Sparrow plight. I didn’t know. I’ve got several hundred I could send your way in my yard right now. I was spouting off on facts I learned in college during the 70’s.

And I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing a black squirrel. Throw that into the mix in Britain and we will have a steel-cage death match! And who would have thought that the American squirrels would breed faster than the British ones! And be more immune to the pox at the same time.

I’ve learned more today on this blog than I learned in my first year of college!

Comment from Jill
Time: December 20, 2008, 12:31 pm

The first time I saw a black squirrel was last fall; I just about veered off of the road.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: December 20, 2008, 2:16 pm

“The Old World Weaver Finch from Jolly Olde is now in all 50 States and is known here as the House Sparrow.”

…and most of them summer at my house. About three years ago, we had the perfect storm of a lot of rain, filling a nearby pond; add 11 horses and their endless supply of horse-hair, and the house sparrows had a field day constructing hundreds of mud & hair nests under our eaves. Since then, every year brings a fresh set of nests. Oh, sure, we don’t have a fly or mosquito problem, but kee-rist, we’re at 9300 feet above sea level; flies and mosquitoes don’t hang out here, anyway.

Comment from Pardes
Time: December 20, 2008, 5:11 pm

Somehow I forgot about you at the point of your departure and then discovered you again stuffed between another million google reader reads I’ve avoided. What a treat to catch up all at once and discover Weasel again.
Although, I have to say that running down the left and right side links on your pages seems to have nothing to do with the person writing the middle blogs and I get lost in the crumb trails of the left and right and remind myself to come back to the middle fully-risen and wonderful loaf of bread in the middle.
I look forward to more middle adventures. They are treasures!

Comment from nicole
Time: December 21, 2008, 8:36 am

Merry Christmas to Weasel, Badger and minions. 🙂

Here in MO, it is rare that I see a grey squirrel. Red ones are pretty much it, I believe. Huge monsters they are. Due to prevalence of reds I even had to change the little ditty about “grey squirrel, grey squirrel swish your bushy tail…” to fit with reds. Needless to say, they got their own lyrics for the rest of the song. Can’t sing the same ditty at 2 different squirrels, y’know…

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