Monday, 27 December 2010

White Christmas - by Theo

Considering we had thought that Rosie's first Christmas would be spent with only her parents in their Madrid flat, things certainly turned out differently. Not only did she wake up to find Santa Claus had visited in the middle of the French countryside surrounded by snow, but she also ended up spending Christmas Day with her Nonna and Papi Jean...and the extended Gerdolle family as well.

Marcel and Margitte are old friends of Cathy and Jean's, and are also their landlords, therefore we've met them and their son Phillippe and his wife Silvie many, many times before. Thinking that Cathy and Jean would be on their own for Christmas, Marcel and Margitte invited them to join their family for Christmas Day, a rare honour in France, and naturally the invitation had stood even once we were added to the bill.

So, after I had traipsed through the snow for an hour with a snoozing, snow-suited Rosie slung to my chest, we headed over to Silvie's house for 12.30 aperos. Very sweetly they had bought presents for Rosie, so she now has toys that talk French as well as ones that speak English and Spanish. Sadly her parents aren't quite so trilingual, but we managed to just about communicate in a melange of French with Spanish words thrown in.

Christmas Day lunch was very different from what we would have cooked for ourselves, but still very enjoyable. While our hosts, who included Silvie's parents, her two young children and Margitte's mother, tucked into oysters, seafood salad and foie gras, we stuck to the veggie option of salad and grapefruit. Kate had made a nut roast for our main, which was delicious and even tempted a few of our French friends to try a bit as they tucked into potatoes dauphinoise, green beans and venison. Pudding was the traditional buche, a yule log essentially; their second attempt, as a magpie had stolen the first one as it chilled on the window sill!

Kate and I took Rosie out for her second sling nap - the roads being far too thick with snow for the buggy (despite the photo above), though actually it's rather lovely having our little girl snoozing so close to us - and we returned just in time for the obligatory game of belote, a whist-like card game extremely popular in these parts. I acquitted myself reasonably well I thought!

We got back in time for Rosie's bath and Christmas Day phone calls on Skype. It certainly beat being on our own.

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