Winter Warmer

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One of the many wonderful things about having a dog, and there are many, is the excuse it provides for the whole family to don wellington boots and partake in a Sunday constitutional.

Of course there is a small amount of mental preparation that goes on prior to said constitutional consisting mainly of me talking about us all going on a walk together, for at least 24 hours beforehand.  This ensures that all are aware, if not completely accepting, that we will be ‘taking air’ with the dog in the very near future.

Sometimes I have a slight memory lapse of what needs to occur and spring the ‘family walk with the dog’ on them out of the blue, without prior warnings, hints or general blitherings.  When this happens I am often met with looks of astonishment, confusion and sometimes disbelief. Despite the fact that we have had the beautiful Billie for over seven months now and she does, in the main, go out every day.

I refer to this as the mental dance of the dog walk.  In fact it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Debussy wrote a piece of music about such a thing, as I remember as a child going through the very same moves the boys now display.  (Why Debussy you may ask?  Well, he wrote a whole series of piano pieces for his children to help them learn the piano, all of which reflected what they were interested in, and their characteristics).

However, yesterday all went according to plan and there wasn’t a grumble to be heard.  Bedecked in layers, we trudged off into the no man’s land between city and countryside to be met by rays emitting from that golden globe in the sky that has been very remiss of late.  It was absolutely glorious.  Moreover, Billie could go bonkers without recriminations and the boys began to understand the joys of owning a pair of wellington boots.  It was, without a word of exaggeration, very boggy.

Now I don’t know about you, but I am a great believer in having something warm to look forward to on a return from a walk, so we all agreed that a hot chocolate was the order of the day.  It is, by far, my favourite winter post walk drink especially when made with real chocolate.  And as easy as you like to make.

Simply pour into a pan the necessary amount of milk and break up a large bar of chocolate.  Plain is best.  Allow the chocolate to slowly melt into the milk, whisking occasionally to ensure it is all mixed together.  Wait for the chocolate to become hot but not boiling, then take off the heat and pour.  For that added extra treat we also broke into our Christmas Panettone which is delicious dipped into the hot chocolate.

Nothing quite warms the soul like sharing hot chocolate soaked cake with the ones you love.




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