Well, first and foremost, Happy Christmas everyone. The lack of entries goes to show how busy a December I've had.
Hot on the heels of the trip to Cardiff, we've had two trips across to France this month. First, we had what was essentially a day trip across to St Malo. Fine - we drove down to Rennes - but the weather let us down and we had rain most of the day in France, and stormy seas on both crossings.
Contrast this with the weekend just gone, where the weather was crisp and icy, with clear blue skies and calm seas. Lucky for us, then, that we chose this weekend to make a pre-Christmas visit to Rouen. Wonderful weekend - arriving in France first-thing, we mooched around Caen until around lunchtime, then headed over to our hotel right by the cathedral in Rouen. Rouen itself was excellent - very christmassy with a market, carousel and outdoor ice rink (Alice tried both) and although on Saturday afternoon the city centre became rather crowded, even this didn't dent Jacqueline's appetite for shopping.
Sunday, we took a leisurely drive back to Caen, via Honfleur, Trouville, Deauville, and generally along the coast. Stopped for an excellent lunch (moules frites) in Cabourg, and for the obligatory supermarket shop before the ferry. So, this week we'll be living on French groceries, with excellent bread (which will proably be no good today) and a wonderful chocolate log planned for after lunch today.
Talking of lunch, we've got a lovely-looking joint of rolled sirloin sitting ready for roasting. Mmmmmmmm.
Alice had a very good weekend at Rouen, but we have had a couple of major arguments this month - the most recent only yesterday - and life can be really unpleasant sometimes with her. She is all sweetness and light while she is getting her own way, but can turn the instant someone says "No" to her. I got particularly offended yesterday when, after all the effort I'd put in for christmas, I was told I was mean. Believe me, Father Christmas very nearly didn't stop at our house. To cap it all, Alice herself has become overexcited and managed to vomit all of last night's supper up at around 4am this morning. So, you could say we're not on top form. Just as well we don't need to do much today ;-)
Work has been very busy, and although I don't plan on going to the client's again until the new year, I do need to spend some time going through some paperwork, sorting letters and hopefully preparing the accounts ready to give to the accountant. Optimism.....
I haven't had any presents yet from anyone - too tired to open presents yet, but I have a feeling that the main presents will be self-bought. I picked up a PSP a couple of weeks ago, which I have to say is absolutely brilliant. I'm struggling to master Fifa 08 at the moment, and we were all entertained with Lemmings on the ferry back from France. Also, in France, I picked up a wine "sniffing kit", le nez du vin, which is basically a presentation box of fifty or so phials of the different smells associated with wine - apple, apricot, tobacco, liquorice etc. I noticed one on the ferry quite reasonable, but instead decided to treat myself to a "complet" kit from a snooty wine shop, for a whopping €275. I let them wrap it, so will open it later for a trial.
What else? Oh yes, Jacqueline crashed her car in icy conditions, fortunately both she and Alice were unhurt, but our poor old Mazda 323 is lying on the driveway, a write-off. I'm not normally one for getting sentimental about chunks of metal, but we got this car the summer Alice was born. While eight months pregnant, Jacqueline used to sit in the car (our first with air conditioning) just to escape the heat. Plus, it has been all over France with us several times, from the northern climes of Brittany and Normandy right down to holidays in Provence, Languedoc and the Dordogne. So, we need to get a new car asap once Christmas is over.
Back on the subject of christmas, I'm now off to enjoy it. Saucissons secs, anyone?