CHRISTMAS DAY, 2006
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, FEDERICO!
Well, it didn’t snow, so there’s no white Christmas here. But there never is. In fact the weather has become mild again, but it is dark and quiet and we are up early opening Christmas presents – a watch for Lucy, some clothes, CDs and lots and lots and lots of art books (Lucy is studying History of Art), and for me books (yes, Lucy bought me that collection of Father Brown stories by G K Chesterton, Federico), CDs and lots of useful stuff for my climb up Mount Kilimanjaro in February.
We lit all the candles around the house and opened a bottle of champagne which we diluted with orange juice (because we’ll be drinking quite a lot of it during the day!) and drank together with big slices of panettone and cups of fresh coffee. Then the phone started ringing. Family and friends from around the world began calling and a couple of neighbours dropped in for a quick drink.
The house is full of boxes of chocolates and tins of biscuits, French cheeses, fruit, nuts, smoked salmon and Swedish snaps (an alcoholic spirit, like spiced vodka). This is not a good time of year to lose weight.
We had Christmas Dinner with a good family friend, her family, friends and other relatives, about 10 kilometres from where we live. It was the traditional, full British Christmas Dinner: turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, peas, onions and Brussels sprouts with bread sauce, cranberry sauce and gravy. We drank chilled champagne and toasted our host and wished each other ‘A very merry Christmas’. Then we had Christmas pudding – a mixture of suet, dried fruit, spices and alcohol, steamed and served hot with cognac poured over it and a spoonful of brandy butter.
The conversation was dynamic, the atmosphere was warm and the food was just perfect. I told everyone about you and your adventures on the mountain-side, about your work as a mining engineer, your life in Lima, your girlfriend, your sister, yes, and even about the Scissor Dances. And everyone around the table (we were English, Irish, Scottish and Swedish) asked me to pass on to you their very best wishes for a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
LATER STILL –
Lucy and I are back home now and about to settle down with a final glass of champagne, a handful of chocolates. Just before we do that we’ll post this blog and then put on warm clothes and go for a brisk walk down to the village, past the church, along the riverbank and back home in time for a cosy evening with some of our new books and CDs.
I hope you and all your friends have had a great day, and I look forward to hearing all about it very soon.
Very best wishes,
made weaker by adding water or another liquid
drank a drink to show our appreciation of
hard animal fat used in cooking
quick and energetic
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