January 1st, 2013
Oh! The good intentions I had! I knew that I wouldn’t exercise every day, but I had really intended to get out for a walk at least every other day. But I didn’t (though the weather did have a bit of a say in that!)
I knew I couldn’t completely avoid “bad” food, but I had really intended to eat les of that, and more of the good stuff. But I didn’t.
I knew I couldn’t post from Mum’s but I had really intended to post from my MiL’s sometime over Christmas. But I didn’t.
So here we are, back in France, and into 2013 already. And I have hardly wished you all Happy Christmas, never mind Happy New Year. Still, I’m here now, and that’s what counts!
I had a lovely time with mum: I had been worried about her before I went, but, while she was still frustrated by what she couldn’t do, and the residual pain from her back, she seemed brighter than she had sounded when we’d spoken on the phone. We had a meal with my sister, her husband, and my brother, to exchange presents and to see each other. That was very enjoyable- as usual, M & J’s banter was on top form, and I couldn’t keep up with the witticisms. Me and BiL just sat back and enjoyed.
Then it was mum’s Keep Fat Club’s Christmas meal. No, that isn’t a typo. Many years ago, it used to be a Keep Fit Club – they would meet at each other’s houses, have a natter, do a bit of gentle exercise and share a healthy snack. Gradually the healthy snacks developed into full blown meals, the exercise session diminished and the group was renamed! I was designated driver, and a good time was had by all. One of the ladies even gave me a Christmas gift of a tiny bottle of Baileys. Which I don’t like – but does anyone know of a recipe I could use it in?
Mum and I went to Southport too, to buy last minute presents, to share coffee and lunch and to chatter. I carried the bags on this occasion as mum’s not up to carrying much. I had a turkey-and-cranberry-chutney roll with mini roasties and salad – the only turkey that I consumed this year. I spent a day in Liverpool by myself – I went in to town at about 11.30 andleft just after 8.00, having wandered the shops, gone to a Quaker service, had delicious parsnip-and-honey soup for lunch in the Bluecoat Chambers, browsed the shops some more, and had tapas in Lunya – a lovely tapas bar.
The Bluecoat Chambers
I had a lovely time, browsing shops Mr D wouldn’t want to go in, and having no time pressure at all. It was pouring with rain all day, but it didn’t matter. Fab!
I left for Canterbury on Friday morning, by coach, but stopped overnight in Milton Keynes where I caught up with some friends. Lovely Carlo took one look at my hair and had me upstairs in his salon for a cut-and-colour before you could say “Happy Christmas!” Thank you Carlo!
I arrived in Canterbury on Saturday afternoon, and it was lovely to meet Mike, MiL’s new “companion”. He obviously makes her happy, as they bickered, jested, joshed and laughed practically non stop! We spent a quiet time together – a visit to the shops once or twice, but mostly just watching TV and celebrating Christmas. The weather (as aforementioned) put the kybosh on any walking – except I did manage one 45 minute tramp around the lanes. I led the prayers on Christmas morning at church – a lovely service which left me feeling very peaceful.
Our present opening was (of course!) enjoyable, done over a glass or two of fizzies and some smoked salmon canapés. I received some lovely gifts – an amber pendant, some earrings, two bottles of whisky (including the intriguing Cu Dhub black whisky. Tasting notes describe it thus: The nose is well-rounded and smooth. Notes of gentle peat and wafting smoke. Hints of dark nuttiness and espresso beans. A touch of honey with vanilla fudge and a little whisper of something medicinal. The palate is quote thick and sweet. Notes of fudge and aniseed, a touch of something nutty with cappuccino and gentle smoke. The finish is quite long with toffee sweetness and developing oak. I’ve had one glass. It’s certainly interesting. I shall have to try it some more!!! )
I had a fab gift from my Secret Santa from Ship of Fools – including a porridge spurtle for stirring my porridge!
One present I was eager to open was from my Christmas Swop organised by Lakota at Faith, Hope & Charity Shopping. My partner was Linda from the blog Hey! Homewrecker. She lives in Nor’n Ireland, and is very into vintage 1950s and 60s things. I had a lovely parcel from her, with lots of goodies:
Some delicious sounding chocklit (already well hidden from Mr D!) and a keyring with a wind up jiggling Santa Claus and snowman! As my keyrings get a bit of a battering, and I’d hate this to get broken, I’m going to put this away to use as a bauble on next year’s tree.
A lovely little vintage glass dish, which I have already put into service as a paperclip holder on my desk, and a homemade zip up bag. I think this will be used to hold my bits and bobs when I go swimming.
I love this framed “Bonjour” sign. As soon as I can find the picture hooks and the hammer, this is going on my study door. Linda also made another picture with beautiful birds:
Aren’t they cute?! It’s on the chest of drawers in my study, but may get moved once I’ve decided on the right place to show it in all its glory!!
She also made a robin Christmas card which I forgot to take a photo of. Thank you, Linda! I love all my gifts.You can see what I sent to her over at her blog here.
Our New Year’s Eve was spent quietly, back here in France. We’d gone to Tesco before leaving the UK, to stock up on things that we love and can’t get in France, or that are cheaper. We bought about thirty bottles of beer (not all for us – my kiné asked me to bring some back for him), crisps, naan bread, beans, curry sauces, sausages, black pudding, and- for Mr D – some Muller Rice desserts!!! We also bought a Tesco Finest read-to-cook lamb shanks dish, which we had last night – it was delicious! I made mashed potato, and cooked some (bought in England) purple sprouting broccoli and we had it with a bottle of wine that Gary and Carlo gave us for Christmas. Finished with a Galette des Rois
(Mr D won the crown – and he wore it for, oh, all of about 5 minutes! ) We caught up with some programmes we’d recorded while we were away and went to bed. We were asleep by midnight!!
So, to everyone who reads my blog, I’d like to wish you a very happy 2013 – full of love, laughter, peace and joy. God bless.