It’s so hard and slightly sad to believe after all that effort, planning and considerable expense that Christmas was less than two weeks ago and already it is a dim and distant memory. I vow to have a very different kind of Christmas next year if only so it is not immediately lost to the archives of yet another unremarkable and unmemorable Christmas at home.
Anyway, enough about Christmas, it feels rather unfashionable to still be talking about it, soooooo last year dahhhhling!
On to our New year visit to Bordeaux……
Having planned a New Year trip to what I thought was an exciting metropolis of culture and arts, I was quite surprised that there wasn’t more going on, no huge firework displays over the Garonne river to “ooh” and “ahhh” at culminating in a frenzy at the boom of midnight, no organised outdoor festivities in the city centre.
It was, of course, fairly typical of us to have picked somewhere that had possibly even less going on than where we actually live!
Still, in our own quiet way, we celebrated the New Year.
We spent just 36 hours in Bordeaux from the time of our arrival up to the strike of midnight on NewYears Eve by which time, unsurprisingly, we were well and truly in bed since there was little point staying up with nothing much to do. Arriving at midday on Sat 30th we wasted no time in exploring the City centre both during the day and during the evening when it takes on a different look entirely, taking in the Place de la Bourse and Le Miroir d’Eau at various intervals, the Monument aux Girondins, Porte Cailhau, Cathédrale Saint-André, the Parliament buildings, the Quai Louis XVIII and the Museé du Vin, well, I snapped a quick picture of the modern sculpture inspired building as we drove past it. Does that count?
On Sunday morning, we were blessed with a clear and sunny sky and after a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we decided to drive to the Atlantic coast and visit the furthermost point of Cap Ferret and the Arcachon Bay.
We walked through the pine forest and explored the sand dunes of Plage du Truc Vert, I even had a paddle in the incredibly cold sea. We visited the little artisan villages of Grand Piquey and Le Petit Piquey, the pretty seaside towns of Arès and Andernos-Les-Bains and once the sun had started to fade and the rain clouds had once again started to gather, we returned to our hotel in preparation for an evening in Bordeaux city.
Our little trip to Bordeaux was what I like to call a ‘concentrated, cultural circuit’ to add to our growing collection. Basically, this is when you visit somewhere for a minimal amount of time but see as much as possible in that very short visit. Trust me, we have made many successful excursions to a great many other places sometimes only stopping for an hour or two before heading off again. By comparison, this visit was a dawdling, leisurely, luxurious amount of time. We had unhurried coffees in cafés, we ambled around looking at the sights, we even managed to have two reasonably early nights, drink two of our four bottles of bubbles, watch several episodes of The Crown Season 2 and were back home on New Years Day by the stroke of midday.
We rushed back home for New Years Day giving ourselves the afternoon to relax, as my husband was ‘officially’ to report for work duties on Tuesday 2nd of January and we never know where he might be sent or for how long but as it turns out he wasn’t sent anywhere for the first week back to work so his daily commute was only so far as our dining table to send a few emails and remotely sort out a few problems.
With Christmas and New Year now behind us and a sense of normality already returning I had little else to occupy me and by the afternoon of January 2nd I had already booked two holidays for the forthcoming year and given thought to several other trips to visit family and friends. I do love to be organised, almost with a sense of military precision. My attitude is very much “Come along, chop, chop it’s January and one would very much like to know what the year ahead has in store”.
It’s strange that I can find it in myself to be thinking about holidays and plans long into the future but I can’t muster the enthusiasm or energy to drag myself along to the supermarket to do a much-needed grocery shop. I have been determined to leave it as long as possible having spent almost a months shopping budget on food and drink in the days before Christmas but we have eventually run out of food except, of course, for a huge, giant leg of wild boar of which I literally have no clue what to do with it.
It was given to us by friends who were given two by their French neighbour fresh from the kill! At the moment it is taking up the entire freezer section of our combined fridge/freezer. My husband has chivalrously postured about taking charge of its preparation and its cooking but thus far apart from attacking the frozen enormity with a wood saw its grizzly remains have, thankfully, remained completely out of sight.
I shall have to look up Mrs Beeton’s recipes for Wild Boar.
One thing we are currently not short on is booze. We still have an enormous amount of alcohol leftover, on account that:
a) we did what we normally do at Christmas and grossly overpredicted our alcohol consumption and thus purchased far, far too much
b) in addition to our usual, colossal over-estimation we have been complete and utter lightweights during this festive season and have drunk even less than normal.
To this end, we still have a full wine rack, the decanters are all boasting healthy contents with reserves waiting in the wings to top them back up and an entire army of beer bottles still stand to attention in the bottom half of our fridge. Our Christmas Day consumption was pitiful. There were just five empty bottles in our recycling box by the 26th of December, two of which were 25cl beer bottles and one of which was an empty bottle of cooking oil. Pathetic!
Perhaps we can make a bit of a dent in it all this weekend since we have an 18th birthday to celebrate.
Yes, Harry is 18 today. I do sometimes wonder how he has managed to actually make it alive to welcome his eighteenth birthday, his visits to A&E for various daft stunts have been so numerous over the years, but here he is, all six foot three of him and no amount of incessant nagging from me to get himself signed up with a modelling agency seems to get me anywhere. He just laughs and shrugs, like he doesn’t quite believe that he is anything special, that he doesn’t agree that he has eyes the colour of an infinity pool from a Kuoni brochure or cheekbones that you could successfully grate cheese on.
So here’s wishing a very happy 18th birthday to our Harry, not that he ever reads my blog!
Blogs are far too old fashioned and whimsy for Harry. If it’s not on Snapchat, Instagram or YouTube then it’s just not worth bothering with apparently and to an 18-year-old, well, myself and my husband are just ancient relics who read actual ‘analogue’ books!
When you try to explain to people of that age that we grew up in a time before internet and mobile phones, they look as though we have just told them that we were chimney sweep children, who slept in a puddle and had to kill pigeons with catapults and then eat them raw.
Suffice to say that the growing chasm between myself and the youth of today can only confirm that I am definitely getting old. Or perhaps it is that I choose to live much like I were in the 1920’s. In fact, the older and the more cranky I get the more I wish I actually was living in another time or another world entirely.
I wonder if one day, you will effectively be able to pick what ‘period’ you live in as well as what postcode you choose to occupy. Wouldn’t that be great?
On that note, I shall leave you to your ponderings and may I take this opportunity to once again wish you all a very happy and healthy new year.
May it bring you much joy.
The Virtual Recluse
Dearest Harry, you’ve made it!
You’ve finally reached Eighteen.
Apparently, now you’re an adult,
no longer stuck in between,
the wilderness years of being
just a kid or an irritating teen.
But as boyhood turns into manhood
advice will often be needed.
Yet so often advice can be wasted,
if by the recipient it is not well heeded.
So as you welcome new freedoms,
of becoming a lovely young man,
take on board some wise words of wisdom
“Be as responsible and kind as you can”.
For life is a long and tumultuous path,
It is not always just fun and games.
It can often be tough trying to fathom
your purpose, your goals and your aims.
I don’t wish to sound like a square,
a killjoy or gargantuan bore (yawn!)
I don’t want to be someone you feel
that it’s fine to just simply ignore.
So please remember we’re older and
wiser for that matter too
and a wealth of experience is offered
to help you in all that you do.
As you embark on the rest of your life
with many a thing to discover anew,
Be good, be smart, be decent
and, of course, be undeniably You!