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As anyone who is Scots or knows someone who is, preparation for Hogmanay (new year) is very important. By midnight of the 31st December the home must be cleaned from top to bottom and the garden mowed and tidied up.

So this article is perfectly timed.

My one concern is with the cleaning out of the pantry and suggesting we get rid of out-of-date and unwanted food items and donating to 'food banks'.

Firstly, most out of date foods, especially tinned foods are good for years so long as they have not 'blown'. Some packaged foods (eg pasta), if unopened and sealed well are also fine. We are still using tinned food that is at least 5 years old.

Secondly, out-of-date food cannot be donated to 'food banks', the law does not permit this.

Thanks Robin for the suggestion of sprinkling bay leaves around the shelves to keep away the moths.

How I love my pyrolytic oven - turned it on after the big Christmas cook and just had to wipe it out.

Oh, to have clean windows. Due to ongoing development around us and the winds blowing dust and dirt, I have to close my eyes to my windows. :(

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Took half a day on Sunday to take down the Christmas tree and all the other paraphernalia and stack it away in one of the upstairs walk-in-robes.

At least twenty trips up and down the stairs, had to tell my legs I wasn't in training for the Kakoda again.

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Have been scattering fresh bay leaves as soon as the pantry is cleaned out, and every few weeks, but the moths somehow come back. I worked out a few years ago that because the pantry was next to the oven, it naturally gets very hot inside - a natural breeding environment. Thankfully, I insisted that the pantry in our new house be placed away from the cooking appliances. Hopefully that should work.


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