Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Haven't blogged for ages. A month in fact. Been meaning to do a quick account of Christmas day, but couldn't be arsed. Now it's so long ago that I can hardly recall what happened. Mental block. Still, there's no going forward until I've got it out of the way so I'll have a bash.

If I remember correctly, Christmas day was on a Tuesday. Georgie flew out on the Sunday before, landing at Brive late afternoon, having flown from London City airport (not the usual Stansted to Limoges flight 'cos it was fully booked).

On the two hour drive down to Brive to collect her, I stopped at the service station midway between Brive and Ussel to give Jock a quick walk and to have a coffee and fag. As I was about to get back in the car there was a bit of a rumpus going on at a car parked nearby. Turned out that it had rammed a flying hawk doing about 70mph up the motorway (the car, not the hawk), resulting in one dead bird and a dented bonnet. Luckily, not a smashed radiator. Anyways, the driver freed the dead oiseau from the front of the car then his wife took some snaps for insurance purposes while his two daughters jumped up and down, waving their arms around and yelping "eugh!". Quite amazing how big that bird was. Must have been about six feet from wingtip to wingtip. Disposed of the body in a distant bin. Probably would have made a good meal for any passing foxes.

Georgie's plane landed at around sundown and luckily it wasn't snowing. Come to think of it, the snow didn't arrive until well after she'd gone back. Seems like it's been here months, but that's how it is in winter, especially up here in the hills. Anyways, we drove back, re-lit the stove, had a bit of grub and settled in. Next day we did some shopping at Aubusson's Christmassy supermarché and sort of mentally prepared ourselves for the following day's visit to Isabelle and Christian's for Christmas lunch. Personally, I'd have preferred to stay indoors glued to the telly while stuffing my face with chocolates and cake, but when Isabelle calls, you gotta go.

After the usual Christmas morning laze in bed while opening Chrissy cards and Chocolate Oranges, time was getting short. Typically, I couldn't remember if we had to report for duty at mid-day or 1pm. Settled on 1pm and to hell with the consequences. Then dug out the Sellotape and began wrapping presents for Isabelle and gang. Interesting how Georgie's presents are always meticulously wrapped while mine show obvious signs of Sellotape being stuck everywhere apart from where the damned stuff's supposed to be.

Arrived at 1.05 just as other guests were arriving, so, for once, Georgie and I were on time. Turned out there were fifteen people for lunch. Amazing how Isabelle manages to cope with that many noshers. Amazing too, the amount of preparation that goes into organising such a feast. Can't remember exactly what we had to eat and drink, but it was brilliant, if a little on the rich side. On the menu were oysters, foie-gras, chicken, salad, er..., I forget the rest, largely because I sat opposite Christian who kept topping me up with more whisky, more vin blanc, more vin rouge and more paint stripper (it's what I call a sort of lethal, clear, fruit flavoured, inflammable liquid which causes one to lose the powers of speech, balance, and all sense of time).

At around 6pm, just as we were getting stuck into the gateaux, Isabelle's brother's tribe arrived. Luckily, this gave us a good excuse to leave as there wasn't enough room to seat them. So we gave our thanks and bade our farewells. Miraculously, I somehow made it back to the house without falling over, re-lit the stove and gave Jock a quick walk. Can't remember what we did then. Watched telly I presume. But I do remember throwing up. I blame the paint stripper.

Took a couple of days to sober up.

Picked up Donnie (Georgie's twin sis) from Limoges airport who'd flown out to join us for Hogmanay. Shoved her in the loft with a couple of duvets and a 'leccy fan heater. Despite this, she seemed to have a relaxing time, dogwalking, telly watching and generally taking things easy. At least I think that's what we did. Can't remember for sure. Then I drove them both back to Limoges for the flight home. Then the snows arrived.

So that was Christmas.