|Our 2020 Covid-19 family Christmas photo|
I hope you all had a peaceful Christmas and managed to celebrate in some way, even though this year was never going to be the same as we are all used to.
As for many, ours was a low-key Christmas, but that didn’t mean we had any less fun. We started the day with croissant from the village boulangerie for breakfast and as it was Christmas, we served them with homemade jam and a glass of sparkling white wine.
All the food preparation had been done on Christmas eve, so all we had to do in the morning was pack our Christmas lunch picnic into the bike bags and set off. Our first stop was an old lavoir, or wash house, sat by a stream outside the village of Embourie in the Charente. Here we used one of the old wash troughs as a sheltered spot for the gas stove so we could make our coffee, which we served with homemade chocolate brownies. This was just what we needed to climb the hill into the village on our way to our lunch stop.
The forecast for the day, was for a cold but dry day, with a fresh wind. As we cycled through the countryside, the distant skies looked heavy with rain and there were a couple of times we got a bit damp, but we were also treated to a Christmas Day rainbow, which I guess we wouldn’t have seen without some rain.
|Gorse flowers in Charente on Christmas Day|
Cycling slowly in winter gives you a perfect opportunity to see so much and we had to stop to take a photo of the first yellow gorse flowers of the season, but sadly we were too slow to snap the deer. Four beautiful deer, in formation, ran from the field to our right, across the road in front of us and away to the woods on the left. All that was missing was the sleigh for a real sight of Christmas magic.
Our lunch stop was a by the restored bread oven in the village of La Faye, where the council have placed a picnic table under a covered shelter. Just behind us was the village Christmas tree and as a real 2020 treat, public toilets that were open, clean and stocked with toilet paper.
With the winter sun falling on the table, we laid out our picnic of pâté en croute (bit like sausage rolls), homemade houmous with carrot and cauliflower, tuna mousse (a gift from Ed) on a baguette that was still warm when I picked it up from the boulangerie, and that was just starters. We had beer and sparkling wine and then moved on to salad and Christmas quiche (guinea fowl, leeks, mushrooms, sprouts and walnuts in a creamy sauce), and that’s when we realised our eyes were bigger than our bellies. We had to pack away the cheese, that we’d bought in the Pays Basque in August, especially for Christmas, the satsumas and the mincepies, as we were too full for anymore.
|Great friends, garden grotto and Christmas Day Cheer|
It was a bit of a cold start to the return cycle, but we soon warmed up when the sun came back and rain stopped. By mid-afternoon we had arrived at our friend’s house where a garden grotto had been set up and decorated. The French government had requested we stay sensible over the festive period and keep our gatherings to a maximum of six and I don’t think anyone could complain at our celebration of six, outdoors and nicely spaced across a wide table. As the afternoon wore on, the candles and lights added to the magic of friendship, fun and laughter, but we were all back home before the eight o’clock curfew came into play.
Today Ed and Pearl arrived for a few days. They got to taste our Christmas quiche for lunch and tonight, as it’s Saturday night, we’ll all enjoy homemade pizzas. As a nod to Christmas, mulled wine will be served as we all select our favourite toppings.
If you are looking for some great kindle bargains to get you through to New Year, here are some that are either free for a limited time, of reduced to less than £1 on kindle UK. Happy reading.