Temp out this morning was -5 and super frosty! There is snow in the forecast for next week so we have been busy making squirrel and bird feeders.
Christmas Day kicked off early with a trip to the Abbey for Christmas Mass on Christmas Eve. Not quite what we expected, but a great experience all the same. Our Christmas feast involved everyone being assigned a course, we all had to plan what were going to make and buy the ingredients. Sam was first up with some very impressive Blueberry French Toast and Hot Chocolate (with real chocolate and cream). We all decided we might have to postpone Christmas after eating it, did someone say overindulge... but delicious!
Somehow we all rallied and were ready for Anastasia's aperitifs by 12pm. Very sophisticated and suitably French. Smoked Salmon Blinis along with Olive and Tomato Pastries and some French Champagne for the grown ups, pink grape bubbles for everyone else.
Jigsaws, robots and poetry (all presents) occupied us for a few hours while Maddy whipped up our next course, a Cranberry, Brie and Pistachio Wreath Pie. Tasted as good as it looks. Very festive!
Then time for a walk, along the river to the bridge then back on the other side. It's actually pretty mild out today but still everyone gets their new scarfs and hats out!
Time for a movie and main meal, Roast Chicken with Chestnut Cranberry Stuffing, Potato Dauphanoise and a Salad with Fresh Cranberries, Pear and Blue Cheese.
By this stage we were feeling a little over Christmased, but we soldered on and Camille called us back together for her Buche de Noel or Chocolate Log. And lucky she did, because it was delicious! Somehow we managed to eat it up with cream and meringues, amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it. What a fantastic Christmas Day!
Yesterday we went to a Chateau, it has alot of history. How about I tell you about the smuggling story. There once was a river, one side of the river had German people on it and the other side had French. There was a Chateau that went from the French side to the German side. On the German side there were Jews the Germans kept them prisoners and shot them. They did not want them to leave becasue then they would lose power over them. But the French snuck them across the river at night to the French side, through the covered bridge of the Chateau. They saved some of the Jewish people, but some were shot for trying to cross.
Royal, rich or poor,
You live in this castle for a job or more,
Either wearing rags or robes,
Living in fancy rooms or sheds.
This is where you live.
We had an amazing trip to Chenonceau castle, a chateau built over the river Cher in the 16th century, thanks to Grandma. It has survived the French Revolution and several bombing attempts in WWII. Today it has a fulltime team of florists who keep the Chateau looking beautiful with displays in every room. They grow the flowers etc on site. At this time of year they have special Christmas displays - all absolutely amazing, and many, many Christmas trees.
On Sunday we stayed in the Loire Valley for the night. On the way we stopped at at a couple of Christmas markets. At one we saw a man and his puppet playing a weird instrument. At another they had an ice skating rink. It didn't get over 2deg all day, so was too cold to be outside for long.
At the place we were staying the night we had fun with the cat who was definately the boss of the house. The house has a pigioener at the end of the garden, built into the city wall. You can go down a staircase in it and into the new town - fifteen century like the house so not that new!
We went to the castle that was very close to where we stayed. The castle was decorated for Christmas, they had a banquet table with lots of yummy things on it and a peacock.
We visited the Medieval dungeon or keep, with a mote and torture chambers. It was very old and smelly. We locked Camille in a prison thing, I was very annoyed that we couldn't leave her there.
We're an ordinary family of 5 dreaming, planning and now beginning our adventure around the Mediterranean (and further afield), having an awesome time! Look out for our boat and come and say hi.