I never knew anything called 'stir-up Sunday' existed until I saw it on Twitter.
Is it an American thing? Why have I missed it? Possibly because my mother (very sensibly) buys her Christmas Cake from a SHOP.
Anyhow, I'm a sucker for family stuff like this (well, I'm in the first bloom of motherhood aren't I)...so I did the cake thing, and we stirred....
and wished with eyes tightly closed...
And because it is a CEREMONIAL type of stirring, I dug out Violet's spoon.
Violet's spoon was given to me by my cousin Paula when I got married. It belonged to her grandmother (Violet) and is more a weapon than a spoon really.
It is vast and long-handled and great for doling out food when you've got friends round, because you can serve someone at the opposite end of the table without getting up from you chair....(very lazy).
I love it.
...so as I was stirring and wishing, I knew I had to celebrate the spoon a bit more...
A spoon like Violet's (or, obviously, any shallow bowl-like thing). See here for more suggestions
Some sempervivums or other succulents. I have babies a-plenty from this project, but you can find them in the better garden centres (the ones that haven't removed every single plant and replaced them with yawny christmas things).
Horticultural grit or gravel
Carefully select a few choice rosettes, nipping them from your plant with your fingernails - (the babies shooting outwards from the main mother rosette are perfect for this, but if your plant doesn't have any then just carefully pull a whole rosette off your plant, remove the bottom two layers of leaves so you get a 'stalk' and use that.)
Put a small amount of compost in the spoon or whatever you are using, dampen it slightly with water so that it's moist but not wet (turn the whole thing upside down and squeeze any excess water out through your fingers if you add too much).
Now just poke your rosette or rosettes into the compost, and finally fill in the gaps with gravel.
Display. (I will be displaying Violet's spoon indoors in a bright place over the winter, and then re-planting the semps outside in the spring).
Watering. I'll be watering Violet's spoon with a tiny smidgin of water every couple of weeks, but only because they're indoors. My outdoor ones get nothing at all...ever.
My thanks to English Mum for posting about stir-up Sunday...Her cake recipe is here and looks fabulous. I used my favourite cake book of the moment, Pam Corbin's River Cottage Cakes, because I happened to have it in my handbag when I was a the supermarket (yes, you read that right...it is hand-bag size). Her Christmas cake recipe is called 'The Mother Cake' - brilliant name.