We had been invited to join Ken and Walt in St-Aignan for their traditional New Year's Day cassoulet. The trip would take around an hour from Le Grand-Pressigny.
We were up early and I washed up from the night before whilst Nick put in a couple of hours' work on the decorating before we set off. Lulu came with us and we had a lovely day together. Ken and Walt are superb cooks and generous hosts, making us feel relaxed and very welcome.
We chatted over delicious nibbles of prunes wrapped in lardons or smoked duck with our apéros. At the table the first course was a smoked salmon and celeri remoulade salad. Then came the magnificent cassoulet, served in an enormous dish. We have had cassoulet before and it is one of Nick's favourites to choose in a restaurant. This was, he reckoned, the best he'd ever had. Next there was a generous cheeseboard followed by Walt's pumpkin cake.
It was one of those days where it never seemed to get properly light - it was very cold and grey. We set off back home with temperatures at or just below freezing. I was driving and I took it very steadily, sticking to the more major roads, hoping that they had been treated. One of the great joys about driving in France is that it is so easy - on the way home we barely saw a dozen other cars.
Before bedtime we took Lulu for her last walk of the day and I was able to take some pictures of the festive decorations around the village. We had only one full day left to finish the decorating and we were invited out again for our last night - to dinner at Simon and Susan's. What lucky people we are to have so many friends - and they are all such good cooks !