Until about two years ago, my family had a tradition of getting together on Boxing Day for breakfast. No special reason except Christmas was over and it was a fun way to start the day before checking out the sales. At one time, my mother, my sister and I used to go out to breakfast at the Treble Clef restaurant at the Arts Centre. Then the restaurant stopped doing breakfast (and then it was gone altogether), so we went to my place and I had fun looking up breakfasts in the London Ritz Book of Breakfasts and using some of the recipes. I would get up at 5.30 to bake soda bread, brew coffee and sometimes make extravagant hot chocolate with real melted chocolate in it, make a jug of orange juice and lay out plates of smoked salmon and fresh summer fruit. The breakfast ended up with a large chunk of the family attending - first Dad and my brother-in-law Gary, then my nephew David and sometimes my middle nephew Mark and then David brought his children Dezzy and Rachel, in Melbourne for the holidays. I would have liked to invite my brother and his family too, but with four of them and a table and chairs only for eight, I was full up.
And then my father died. The last time I did this it was just for my friends Bart and Siu, who were with me that time, two days before Dad passed away.
It just wasn't the same any more, and we'd always remember.
So here I am at 7.50 am on Boxing Day, at my messy table, writing this instead of greeting my family as they arrive. David and the kids, as well as my brother and his family, are off on holiday anyway.
So before I do a household clean-up, something I've been promising myself for weeks, I'm going to make myself a yummy breakfast. No soda bread, alas - the oven is still out of action - but some pikelets and fresh fruit and a big pot of tea. And I'll remember Dad, who loved this tradition.