To start off with I, like many expats in France did the vast majority of my Christmas shopping online. Especially buying items from the UK for Rémy. One of these items was a Gromit back pack, mainly because Rémy has become a big fan of Wallace & Gromit. Unfortunately the item ordered, which you can see below wasn’t Gromit, but Hutch the rabbit. Yep they’d sent the wrong item and faced with having to send it back I preferred that we didn’t – we have been there before. However the place I had ordered Gromit from kindly offered to send one of those and told me to keep Hutch. So now Rémy will have that for his birthday in May.
The weekend before Christmas we still had some snow, which gradually disappeared a couple of days before Christmas Eve. Still, we made the most of it and played outside with Rémy. It was the “wrong sort of snow” (as British Rail used to say to explain the lateness of its trains), as it was too powdery to make a snowman from it. So we made a snow mountain and I tried to get Rémy to do a snow angel, lying down in it.
Rémy ended up building a mountain…
As we have no gutter along the side of our garage, a very pretty sight greeted us one day. Icecicles all along the bottom of the roof…
Christmas Eve saw us celebrating in the usual French way, with good food and wine in the company of family. Despite my 12 years here, I’m still not quite used to having a large meal at night – but had a wonderful night all the same. This year, as we were not in the UK the celebration was at Thumpah’s parents house joined by her brother Patrick, his wife Martine their daughter Amélie and Martines parents, Colette and Hubert.
Present opening was, as usual, at midnight. A certain person who I live with and who is the mother to my son dressed up as a certain red suited and bearded jolly fellow. By chance Santa Claus appeared by the tree, just as Rémy and Amélie ran in to the room, to disappear out the front door. So Rémy had his first fleeting glimpse of “Santa”.
From then on, each time he saw a picture or decoration featuring Santa Claus he called out “Papa Noy-ellll”.
Tonton Patrick helped Rémy, by removing his new toys from the packaging and setting them up. I’ve often said that Rémy is his “wee-mee”.
On Christmas morning, we had another present opening session. Just like in the UK. This way we can keep both French and English traditions. Rémy seemed very pleased with his presents, particularly, with his new CD player. A few days later he also received a few presents from his Grandma in the UK.
On Christmas Day itself we had a surprise phonecall from my Uncle Michael in Canada and his girlfriend Audrey. They had sent Rémy a lovely little hat. We also had another surprise later on when our friends John & Shirley called from Wales. Our friends Campbell & Marie-Laure had tried to get through, so we caught up with them later.
Was a bit disappointed not to hear from my own Grandma – we didn’t even have a Christmas card from her and my Uncle who lives with her. Sadly we are in a situation where the only time I hear from them is if I phone them myself…
As an hommage to our dog Chipie amongst the things I bought for Thumpah, I bought her a frame photo I had taken of Chipie back in 2006 when we holidayed in the Jura. It was an emotional moment for her, and for me too when she opened it. Chipie is now on our bedroom wall and I always take a look at this photo after I’ve said goodnight to Rémy.
Despite having well wined and dined on Christmas Eve night, we had our usual ritual bacon sandwiches… in fact we extended that to a full English breakfast using the ingredients we had. Bacon left in the freezer, along with some potato waffles we’d bought during the British food promotion at Aldi.
We had eaten well the night before, but hadn’t reached the habitual blow out limit of previous Christmas meals. Plus of course there is always that fear of a nasty gastro around the corner.
Before and after Christmas Rémy helped me to make the usual Christmas mince pies. We had two jars of mincemeat, which I had bought last year in Leicester and still within their best before date. I think he really enjoyed helping out although he wasn’t that keen on eating them.
Between Christmas and New Year we mostly had a rest, but on one of those days we managed to go for a walk in the forest near Loutteville. Toffee loved exploring somewhere new. Rémy wore his new Canadian hat.
We spent a nice New Years Eve with our friends Catherine & Didier and their young son, Lilian. Unfortunately Catherine, who is diabetic, wasn’t 100%. Bravely she carried on trying to celebrate with us, but we could see she really wasn’t very well.
They stayed the night, had breakfast with us then headed back to the 93 before lunch.