11 December 2009


Back to the story again.

Pete and Cyn joined us for breakfast on Christmas Eve 2007. They had spent a very comfortable night in the hotel, much more comfortable than we could have offered them chez nous. On account of us having little furniture, no spare bed and the house only just beginning to warm up.

The boulangerie is literally a two-minute walk away and we were there early to make sure they hadn't run out of croissants, as they sometimes do. After breakfast, Cyn being Cyn, having the benefit of daylight, she spent a happy hour touring the house (all four rooms!) and making suggestions on interior design and decoration. Two years later, it's amazing how many of them we have actually put in place. They then set off on their long trip to Perpignan and we carried on with our plans for our own Christmas.

We purchased a chicken for our Christmas dinner from the butcher in the village. Nick was dying to use the rotisserie in our new oven. Must be a man thing. Then we went further afield to stock up on other essential goodies (wine, cheese, smoked salmon, more draught excluders and paraffin). Christmas shopping now done, we would soon be beginning the DIY and decorating.

We had brought with us some flat-pack bedroom furniture as a temporary measure, thinking it would be fine for the guest bedroom once we had bought some proper furniture for our room. Nick spent a happy Christmas morning assembling it and we were very pleased with the result. The bedroom was beginning to look much more comfortable and cosy.

Our tradition is to have a light lunch on Christmas Day and our Christmas dinner in the evening. For lunch we had our usual scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and a glass of champagne. Except that this year we had Vouvray, of course. After lunch we always go for a walk so we wrapped up well and went out to do a bit of exploring around the village. It was bitterly cold.

We were fascinated by the building work happening around the château. There was a poster suggesting that the work would be finished and the château would be reopening in 2008.

It was too cold to stay out for long. It was one of those damp, dull winter days, with no breeze to shift the freezing mist and where the cold gets into your very bones. We didn't come across even one other person on our walk.

However, the village shops had been open in the morning. Before lunch the butcher, baker, Spa shop, newsagent and florist were all open on Christmas morning, just as Barrie and Lucie had said they would. (We didn't really believe them but they were right.) The place had been buzzing. Now it was deserted. Only we Brits were daft enough to be taking exercise when everyone else was tucked up nice and warm in front of the fire. And TV, I suspect. We didn't have one.

We had a proper Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Nick delighted in cooking the chicken on the rotisserie. We also had roast potatoes, sprouts, stuffing, bacon-wrapped chipolatas, real gravy and bread sauce. As an experiment we cooked the sprouts on top of the log burner - brought the pan of water to the boil on the cooker then just placed it on top of the stove where it continued to simmer beautifully. We did the same with the Christmas pudding. Not having the luxury of a microwave oven, it was on there for hours but it cooked perfectly. The little garden table was overflowing with all the food.

We exchanged little in the way of presents. After all, we were already enjoying the best Christmas present anyone could ever have - our own little house in France.


At the time, I had no intention of starting a blog. I had no idea what a blog was. Hence the lack of photos of our Christmas dinner !!


  1. Happy Birthday to you Jean. Hope you had a lovely day. And congratulations on your 5.000th blog vistor. Keep on blogging, as your posts are really interesting and fun. Birthday kisses from Belgium !!! Martine

  2. Hi Jean,
    You obviously don't subscribe to the Terry Wogan method of cooking sprouts then - unless you start boiling them in September they will be too hard to eat!!
    Still your 2007 dinner looks pretty good to me.

  3. Martine - thank you and sorry to hear about your black screen of death. So frustrating.

    Gaynor - it was a wonderful dinner. If I knew I was going to blog about it I would have taken lots more photos ! And won't we miss Sir Terry. Chris Evans is a bit too abrasive for my taste, if quite amusing. I expect I'll get used to him.

  4. Hi Jean
    Oh yes! You are tempting me to plan next Christmas in France. I'd love to know how well our wood-burning fire would cope and I think it will be a very special occasion...as yours was.

  5. Ken - you just gotta do it. But invest in some new thermal undies and and electric blanket. Remember how, when we were kids in the 50's, you would wake up to ice on the inside of your bedroom window.......
    A friend once said there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. We are such pampered people with our central heating these days that we forget that there's nothing wrong with a woolly vest and an extra jumper.
    when I was a kid the only designer label I had was Aertex. !!