Bonnes fêtes to all

It's Christmas Eve and our neighbour is celebrating


12/24/20222 min read

Cars were gathering in our neighbour's drive today. But why? It's only Christmas Eve. Surely we should be getting ready for the big day tomorrow, while children excitedly await a visit from Santa Claus and hang their stockings up in readiness. But in France Christmas dinner is held on the evening of 24th. And so our neighbour's family is gathering round tonight to share their traditional meal together while waiting until midnight to exchange gifts. But old traditions are hard to break, so that is one French custom that we have not yet adopted .

The ham that we bought in Millau has been taken out of the brine solution to dry. Tomorrow it will be baked in a mustard and honey glaze to share with our anglophone friends.

One cannot live in a forest without selecting a real fir tree to decorate. Ours stands proudly in the corner of our lounge bedecked with ornaments so remeniscent of past Christmases; Beautiful papier mache baubles brought from Italy by our son; an intricate ornament modelled in fymo by Irene ,his partner, many years ago now, but still going strong. Some tiny stuffed animals made by a colleague for a school Christmas fete decades ago. All as good as new and full of memories. But this year I have added some new ones to our collection. Some tiny traditional nutcracker soldiers modelled in wood.

But although our tree feels special, it is far from the 'little Christmas Tree' in Hans Christian Andersen's famous story, which was cut down in its prime while dreaming of becoming the tallest tree in the forest. Our tree is a poor specimen in comparison, chosen for the very reason that it would not have flourished . But I trust we have 'done it proud' with our finest decorations. And what's more , as soon as we switched on the lights, the snow began to fall.

And so , as midnight approaches I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas.