Our plan started well with our traditional trip to Bayeux to visit Patisserie Mathilde on 22 December - but then it all started to go wonderfully wrong! It went something like this.......
23rd Dec- our annual mince pie and mulled wine party where 24 good friends filled our cuisine for a lively and very noisy party. Mark`s recipe for mulled wine which, this year, also included a drop or two of port in his secret concoction (no doubt from "pass the port" and all that from his Navy days!) perhaps explained the noise!!
Christmas Eve........ a lunch that started at 12 noon with four fabulous friends which lasted over 6 hours! Lively conversation, wonderful food - and all in a divine Normandy farmhouse that just happens to have it`s own snowy white swan as a permanent visitor that I long to kidnap.Our friends, Viv and Mike, are the warmest of hosts and possibly slightly dafter than we are! Viv writes a wonderful blog that you might like to look at. http://lifeinfrance2010.blogspot.com/
We arrived home at 6.30 - changed quickly and went off to what we were told was to be a traditional Polish Christmas Eve supper. I felt a bit like the Vicar of Dibley with the last sprout!! A very late evening - and, as I was the designated chaffeuse, I drove home through thick fog with poor Mark slumped in a heap beside me!!
Christmas day and Boxing day were just as we had planned; very peaceful, just us two and crashed out! Traditional turkey, nice Burgundy and plenty of chocolate!
27th December. We were experiencing cabin fever after just 2 days at home alone and went off to shop in preparation for our own Christmas party - managing to call in on some good friends en route.
28th December. Our Christmas party at home. 30 friends joined us for a very raucous night! Mark had spoken to each guest in secret before the event to find out an interesting fact about them that no one else would know. He had devised a party game - sometimes known as an "ice-breaker" - where guests were given a list of questions and they then had to talk to everyone else at the party to find out the answers. Some of the questions were:
Who had had lunch with Peter Sellars and Britt Ekland?
Who in his youth had dropped out and lived in an Austin Princess with Donovan?
Who met Huey Lewis in an elevator?
Who was wearing odd socks that evening?
Who has sat on an unarmed nuclear bomb?
Who shared a chat over a whisky with Margaret Thatcher?
Who had walked the Great wall of China?
Who had had lunch at The Savoy with Charles Hennessey?
Whose best man at her wedding was Jimmy Tarbuck?
I never knew our friends had such amazing past lives!! It was certainly a good game to break the ice with folks who had not been introduced. Much later into the evening there was a smell burning and we wondered whether we had overloaded our electrics with all the Christmas lighting, and feared we would need a visit from the "pompiers" to deal with a fire. But, no! One guest had stood too close to a candle and had begun to singe her top; and then, to top it off, another guest stood in virtually the same place and singed her long curly hair!! [Note to self.....never place candles on the patisserie counter at parties!!!] Again a very late night - and we made the mistake of not cleaning up before we went to bed! Next morning.....ouch!
29th Dec. A friends, evening party with a good mix of French and English guests. A delicious spread of home-baked food and more hilarious party games. I was saved from insulting someone by Viv`s fabulous grasp of French when I told one sleepy guest he was " very tiring" instead of looking "very tired"!
30th Dec. A friends' lunchtime birthday drinks party. More fabulous food and company with two huge labradors in bow ties mingling with the guests!!
New Years Eve. A superbly elegant dinner party with our friends in the next village. The first opportunity I had to wear my latest favourite find - a fabulous 1940s vintage black silk velvet bolero jacket with a silk ribbon tie. ( I knew I would get to wear it sooner or later!) We toasted the French New Year with champagne and fireworks - and then repeated it again an hour later (due to the one hour time difference) for the English New year........and why not?!!!!
New Years day after getting home at 2am from the previous night we set off at 10am for a New Years Day breakfast with more friends. A huge traditional English breakfast just too good to resist. I may explode soon!
So, today, we are trying to get back to normality. I have photographed and listed on Ebay, our recent sales have been packaged ready for posting off - and I've finally managed to blog!