Friday, 27 December 2013

Tis the Season

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Hey!  I said not even a mouseA critter behind the wall is disturbing my Christmas Eve tradition of present wrapping whilst guzzling sipping wine. The creature is making so much noise I am fearful we will soon have no insulation left. This may be the season of goodwill to all men but that does not include mice and if they think my sofas are on their Christmas menu, think again. Meanwhile The LGB is wallowing in the long awaited bath complete with bubble bath, candles and wine whilst morphing into a prune. (Yes, we have a functioning bathroom and even builders can be in touch with their feminine side! I could be in big trouble now.)  I hope he is out by Boxing Day because we are spending the day with Old Bones on Bikes.  The rain is lashing at the window pane and the wind is howling a gale.
Bah Humbug!

We have a table and chairs set up in the upstairs makeshift living room. Christmas morning I headed upstairs with our traditional breakfast of Buck’s Fizz and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on toast. I'm no Nigella, but I make a mean scrambled eggs.  These however looked watery. I had poured hot water on the plates to warm them and forgot to pour it off before serving up! Scrambled eggs on soggy toast!  
Bah Humbug!

Where else would you want to spend Christmas?
After a luxuriant shower (did I mention we have a bathroom now?) we made a little effort and dressed up in something other than work clothes. On Christmas day traditionally we go for a long walk but the pouring rain scuppered our promenade this year.  More Buck’s Fizz it is then.
Bah Humbug!

The starter was king prawn and lobster cocktail. I bought frozen lobster. I could not have dealt with the demise of a live one on Christmas day (but that bloody mouse better stay out of my way). I've never cooked lobster but there was no problem there, plonked it in hot water and hey presto.  The LGB then took a hammer to it. He asked if I wanted to dress it. What! I'd managed to pick out a few smart clothes for myself, the least dusty ensemble I could find but I certainly wasn't going to start thinking about dressing a lobster.  Apart from assuming they would look good in a contrasting shade of orange or green for a chrismassy look I really wouldn't know where to start.
Bah Humbug!

The next stumbling block was how I would cook a sumptuous meal for two on a one ring camping gas burner, a gas oven with no temperature control and one saucepan. The gas burner is fed by a hairspray size canister which unfortunately has a habit of catching fire.  Subsequently I have to stay within view with my pompier hat on, ready to flick the safety switch off before the thing explodes and ruins all the LGB's hard work. Watching a saucepan of potatoes cooking is neither convenient nor stimulating.  Everyone knows a watched kettle never boils. The gas oven is a one heat setting burns cooks all.  The control knob just turns round and round. The LGB says if it’s brown it’s cooked and if it’s black it’s ******! You get the picture.
Bah Humbug!

All mod cons here
Self combusting gas ring

The LGB decided to throw another spanner in the works and make my task a little more difficult by doing a little plumbing on the only day of the year we are meant to do no work and placed a step ladder in the middle of our makeshift kitchen! With my lonesome saucepan and the limited cooking facilities and a little jig around the ladder I did manage to produce an edible spread fit for human consumption. The LGB thoroughly enjoyed his festive feast.
Ah big hug!

The beautifully decorated shop fronts.

Strasbourg Markets

Before Christmas we enjoyed a few days in Strasbourg with friends.  It was well worth the nine hour plus drive to get there.  It has been a crowd puller for hundreds of years.  We stayed in Maison Rouge a great hotel situated in the heart of the city. We were a stone’s throw from the main square Place Kleber that housed the biggest Christmas tree I have ever seen and an amazing light and music show across the façade of a building.

The historic centre is an island circled by the river which was our circuit for the first day.  La Petite France was my favourite area. It was full of fairytale character and teeming with old higgledy piggledy timber framed buildings.  Artists sat in the streets peddling their wares whilst painting.  The LGB bought me a very pretty watercolour from a lovely man. The second day we wended our way up and down every street possible and viewed the beautiful Gothic Cathedral. The third day we took a train to nearby Colmar another wonderfully historic town with more fabulous Christmas markets. We came across more artisan stalls there with beautiful handmade pieces. Well worth the visit.

The evenings were magical when the stalls were illuminated. The smell of mulled wine, gingerbread men and bretzels wafted through the chill air. Many of the shop fronts are elaborately decorated with huge efforts made to outdo one another. I have never taken so many photos in one place.  It was a great kick start to Christmas.  

Building update
Family bathroom up and running. Tiling to finish.
Plumbing for bathrooms completed.
Unit for family bathroom sanded and painted.
Kitchen ceiling plastered.
Angouleme stone to finish fireplace ordered and collected.
Logs stacked.
More details to follow.

By now Christmas will be over, but I hope you have all had a wonderful time. I wish you health and happiness and all that your little hearts desire for 2014. Thank you for popping by the blog and for your comments on the blog, facebook or by email. Each one is much appreciated. xx

Did I mention we have a bathroom now?


  1. Lovely bathroom - well done! I had a good laugh all through the first part of this, and partcilaurly for the lobster dilemma because I went through it too! Then I saw the second half of your post and went all nostalgic for my other home from home.. the Alsace region. I'm glad you enjoyed it - la petite France is one of my favourite haunts too. I hope that your New year is less soggy (both toast and weather).

    1. Thank you MM, glad you like the marmite bathroom. Loved meeting Larry and Lizzy over at yours! Have a great 2014.


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