East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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What, no RPGs for Christmas?

It’s been pointed out that my list of Christmas gifts for the masses was fearfully lacking in the Roleplaying Games department. To set that straight, I’ll post here three suggestions for the roleplayer that has everything.
Because what’s better than spending Christmas day reading a new RPG handbook?
Here goes…

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Christmas Pudding in Kashgar, 1890

It’s been a while since we talked about the Silk Road, and I sort of miss my old obsession. So here’s a snippet from Frances Wood’s beautiful book, The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia.


This was almost a decade before Lady Macartney turned the Kashgar Residency into what Peter Fleming affectionately called Kashgar-le-Bains, but that did not mean you could not enjoy a Christmas dinner, evidently… and what’s Christmas without the Christmas Pudding?




Gifts of food

For the first time in my almost-50-years of life, Christmas 2016 brought me a gift of food, that is, the classic “Christmas Gift Basket” that is sort of a traditional thing hereabout as a “family gift”.cesto-natalizio-confezione-fai-da-te-300x225
I mean, I usually get books, music, maybe a scarf or a pair of mittens.
But a food basket?
Never before.
In this case, it was my uncle, that hit me and my brother with a huge selection of fine traditional Italian treats that will cover all our needs for the New Year’s Eve four-course dinner with assorted associated extras. And then we’ll recycle the basket, and use it for our laundry.
And it was not the only gift of food we received: there’s a metal box full of home-made cookies that’s been keeping us happy at tea time for days, now. And then we’ll recycle the metal box to store paid bills.

Which gives me a good starting point for a somewhat more serious reflection on this Christmas in particular, and maybe more general things. Continue reading