Sunday, 26 December 2010


I missed saying "Happy Christmas" to you all. So, did you have a nice Christmas? With good meals and lots of presents?
We did. I fetched Nicholas from Brest airport on Tuesday 21st, his birthday! He was one of the lucky ones to leave London and get to his destination, and on time if you please! We have been having a good, quiet time together, as we always do. With a series of excellent meals, no restaurants, we seem to be able to do better at home. What did you have for Christmas meals?

The temperatures are going up down, up down, we have lovely sunny days (although as usual the weather forecast for the Finistère is awful) but rather cold nights. I have to put thick socks on over my shoes to get across the terrace to the north side of the house, the one that leads to the garden, so that I don't slip and kill myself while peeing the dog.

My load of wood for the winter was delivered last week. All neatly cut into 40cm lengths, split and stacked on a pallet.  Last year it cost me 225€, expensive enough, this year it's 275€. Can't do without unfortunately: a woodburder means wood. That being said, my little house is lovely and warm.

I've finally got photos of my two grandsons wearing the sleeveless pullovers I knitted for them just before going to the States in September. I forgot to take photos of the finished product and had to wait for Cécile to put photos she had taken on her blog.

This week I have made quick and not very expensive curtains to block out the draft that comes up from the veranda into the sitting room in the evenings in winter. There is a sort of archway about 1m70 wide, and a couple of metres high. I bought a steel curtain rod and some rings with clips on them. The things to hold the rod up with are placed too high for me to screw them in, so I stuck them with super glue. Then I bought 6 metres of fleece, really cheap, in a nice off white. I cut the edge and tore it into two pieces 3m long, turned over the top into a pelmet of about 25cm and clipped it to the curtain rings! It trails on the ground and makes sure that drafts don't get under it, and it needs no hemming, it doesn't fray. I'm really pleased with the result, which took me a couple of hours in all, not even. It looks good and is very efficient, in fact, with the woodburner going, the sitting room is almost too warm now!

I can show you my pre-Christmas knitting, now the presents have been given. I did a jacket for Marius, with toggles, a sleeveless pullover for Leif, a bit pink, but I really need to knit pink sometimes and it's not easy having two grandsons. And a sleeveless pullover for my brother Michael. They all seem to have liked their presents!

So, on to food: for Nicholas' birthday we had a bottle of nice champagne, the most enormous snails, then fish, then a sort of pavlova with a difference (meringue, fresh heavy cream and raspberries in a champagne glass. For Christmas Eve, we had a plateau de fruits de mer, which actually almost went wrong, because the fishmonger seemed to have forgotten my order, and gave me all the shellfish unopened, and the fairly large lobster I had ordered turned into two very small ones, but it was all good, and too much, so last night we had the rest of  peeled shrimps, langoustines, a few praires topped with the meat from the tail of one of the lobsters in a cocktail sauce (fresh mayonnaise, a teeny bit of ketchup, tabasco and cognac) in a champagne glass, with a bit of salad at the bottom! For our Christmas lunch we had a glass of champagne with three frozen raspberries in it, a few nibbles, a shoulder of lamb with roast potatoes, roast parsnips and peas, and no dessert, not hungry enough. Before Christmas, Nicholas made me onion soup, lovely. And today he did me a lamb curry which was quite delicious, lovely not to have to cook!

Plateau de fruits de mer before I opened the oysters (there are all sorts of things hiding underneath...)

Lamb curry

 A bit of a blurry photo of onion soup

Salade tière de coquilles St Jacques

 Foie gras maison and champagne (with a bit of saucisson lurking in the middle)...

Lobster cocktail

On Christmas Eve, just after lunch, we took the car and went up into central Finistère, the Monts d'Arrée, to visit the Montagne St Michel and the prehistoric burial chamber (allée couverte) at Mougau Bihan. Nicholas was looking for photo material. There was a bitter wind, but lots of sun, and the Montagne St Michel was still covered in snow. Quite different from the summer painting trips that Yves and I often make.

Mougau Bihan, Finistère

Nicholas at the top of the Montagne St Michel

Ellie at the top of the Montagne St Michel

The path to the top of the Montagne St Michel, Finistère

This afternoon we went for a walk along the banks of the river Odet just outside Quimper, but it was bitterly cold. Then we went to the Anse St Laurent near Concarneau so that Nicholas could photograph old fishing boats that are falling apart on the mud flats. And now it's time to sit in front of the fire as darkness falls and catch up with my blog.


A very Happy New Year to all of you should I not manage to post again before then.

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