It was a mellow Christmas for us, in complete contrast to last year, stuck in a crappy Airbnb waiting for our new life to begin. In fact a year ago today RD and I were packing the van for the final time, ensuring enough space for the cats, Daisy and Diddies, and we were about to make another momentous journey into a new adventure. Little did we know just how long that journey would be. But, as always, we made it.
We started our Christmas with a trip to the pub! It had been a long time coming. More of that in another post but on our way home we took pictures of our little town that has welcomed us with open arms. Our lovely neighbour knocked on the door just as we were leaving with presents of biscuits and chocolates, and sherry. We felt awful we hadn’t brought them a gift, but he was adamant that the gifts were welcome presents for us being their neighbours, it really was a lovely surprise. Perhaps I am biased because I am Irish by descent, but I love Irish people, in so many ways.
I lost my job before Christmas, not something that normally wouldn’t bother you, but we don’t know where we will be this time next year, where our beloved Welshies are concerned; and I know that ‘Life’ always has a plan. So I have kept my faith and I know that what we need will come. I was, and have been, determined to enjoy this Christmas and my main mantra has been ‘to live in the here and now.’
We bought each other gifts this year, we made the most of the here and now, but we didn’t go mad; and despite our situation I went to the Charity shop in our town, purchased some books to read in the New Year, and gave a very small donation. At this moment in time I am blessed, and this is the only moment that matters. I know in this moment, despite my situation, there are people far worse off than me, and small things count, isn’t that what Christmas is about?
It was a joy to watch the dogs playing with their toy balls, and get so excited that they watched us in anticipation as we opened our presents, believing each one was for them. It will be moments like these that we will treasure all our lives, they are the real gifts.
We didn’t go mad with the food we bought, and all of the meat got eaten. I baked a ham for the first time, and there was so much I made a chicken and ham pie filling, and sliced some to make a Croque Madame in the new year, all safely stored in the freezer. Not forgetting our French past, we bought this beautiful little decoration of the Eiffel Tower that sat proudly on our mantle. We will not forget France, or the wonderful French friends we made, and will always have a little bit of France with us.
In true homage we have saved our cheeses to eat on New Years Day, including a sheep’s cheese (Brebbe in French) and French goats cheese, but we are also adding some Cashel Blue Irish cheese to the mix, a total embrace of both of our adventures. We are adding to that some fig and apple chutney that we found over here, olives and my home-made olive oil with garlic and parsley. It’s making my mouth water just writing it!
We have chatted with family in the UK, shared our opening of Christmas presents, drunk to each other, and we have snored, as we all tend to do. There have been cuddles with the Welshies too, they will be treasured forever
There have been poignant moments, mainly leading up to Christmas, when I found my eyes filling with tears. I knew that RD felt the same way. I reminded him of a book I had encountered in my previous job, it’s called ‘The Green Platform’. It is similar to many books but simplifies things in that you can choose to live on the ‘The Green Platform’ where life doesn’t stress you, or the The Red Platform, where you let everything get to you. I decided that whenever I thought of the prospect of losing our beloved Wiglet, and possibly Harley too, I just closed my eyes and thought of them doing Zoomies in Montaigu, of times when they ran around me in the Autumn Sunshine , and it worked. The tears subsided, Wiglet picked up (because she had been poorly and back at the vet the Friday before Christmas) and fun was had… in the here and now…
Mellow weird time between Christmas and the New Year folks…