Thanks where thanks is due

I think there’s a general feeling of bitterness among the British that, during the last week of November, the Americans get an extra holiday – specifically, an extra food-based holiday. As Jimmy Carr put it on Twitter:
“It’s Thanksgiving today. Long story short it’s where Americans give thanks to the English for inventing them. You’re welcome.”

Before my American friends assault me, yes, I’m being glib. I’m also deliberately avoiding the thorny issue of the fate that awaited the Native Americans who so kindly assisted the first settlers…
Anyway, this year I was very pleased to welcome the holiday (albeit a day late) into my life. On Friday, a community of 40 people gathered in Mile End to celebrate and give thanks – and to eat a vast quantity of food. I am very thankful indeed…
Firstly, I have to be thankful for college giving me permission to skip an evening of #VicarWeekend in order to be there. [All I missed was a Church History lecture on the Middle Ages – nothing happened then, right??] 
I am thankful that a professional chef (and his wife) flew in from Texas to cook for us. [I am less thankful that the Turkey was named Millicent on Twitter prior to eating – my pseudo-vegetarian sensibilities mean that I’m not so keen on eating named animals. But the fact that Millicent, once cooked, had to be transported from Bethnal Green to Mile End in a taxi rather makes up for it. Comedy.] 
The Mash Mountain (& accompaniments) and Millicent, in the oven…

I am thankful for the opportunity to use a fiercely powered blender (and learn some new skills). My black-bean hummus may have looked grim, but it was delicious. If someone could send a blender my way, I’ll be knee-deep in hummus before I know it! [The less said about the fantastically gross activity that was squeezing cloves of roasted garlic, the better…some people have very dirty minds.] 
I wasn’t sure that I’d be particularly thankful for eggnog, but it seems that it is actually the alcoholic beverage of the Gods (at least Shannon’s Step-Dad’s recipe is). Yum. Yum. Yum. 
First ever eggnog, which was closely followed by a second. 
(And then followed by a pint of water.) 
I’m less thankful for the invention of American Football. The ball is a stupid shape, meaning that it doesn’t bounce/travel through the air in the way that one would expect it to. This means that one looks like a total idiot when one tries to kick it in the air, only for it to return to earth narrowly missing one’s head… 
I’m especially thankful for the presence of a 5 day old baby (no name yet) at Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for his safe arrival; his intense adorableness; and the fact that I got to hold him for a few blissful minutes. Honestly, there are few ills in the world that can’t be put right by a cuddle with a newborn. [I actually have a theory that there would be fewer wars if world leaders spent more time holding babies…]

Most of all, I’m thankful for Shannon and the Matroyshka Haus community. For Shannon, who had the idea in the first place; and the community that’s gathered around her – both of which are now very special fixtures in my life. A year ago I barely knew most of the people I spent Friday with; now, I see them most weeks and have just booked my second trip to France with them. 
I believe Thanksgiving is all about family, and I’m really pleased that I got to experience my first one with my London brothers and sisters. 


  1. What a lovely post. It might not be our holiday but I think it’s lovely to give thanks for the people we have in our lives.

  2. I am so glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Shannon! I hope we are able to come back to France, we really enjoyed getting to know you all. Lisa

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