La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like we did and like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ChristmasTraditions and Rituals

As I am not religious, I have always thought I didn't have Christmas Rituals and I don't, not for the 25th December persé, but somewhere around that time I do celebrate Winter Solstice and I must admit that I have very pinickity rituals for the decorations.

Every year around September I say that I won't put up any decorations, much to Bert's delight, little does he know what goes on in my head (probably he does, but doesn't want to jinx or provoke))

By the time November arrives, I have changed my mind umpteen times.

The weekend after December 6th, Bert and I will go out to buy a christmas tree, me prodding him on.

He will say "Let's get a fake one, eh"  I will ignore or pretend I didn't hear that. or if I am in awful mood (it happens) I will give him a mouthful of mild abuse.

He knows what is coming. I am very, very peculiar in choosing a tree : as large as we can fit into the sitting room, a perfect shape, beautiful branches, no spruce, but a noble fir or something like that. It means I have handled almost every tree that is for sale and if I cannot find it in one place, we'll be off to the next. Meanwhile I'll ask Bert to hold the tree upright, turning it, so I can see from a little distance if it will do.

The man who sells the trees is already scratching his head and tuttuting loudly.

I complain that the tall trees don't have roots on them.

When I have finaly found one, it is loaded onto the roof rack of the car and off we go.
We get home, we haul the tree inside, try to fit it into place, propping it up, tying it to whatever. Is it facing the right way ? etc, etc. By that time dear Bert is really fed up with all that pallaver and he lets me unpack all the christmas decorations. Ooooh, I have about 20 sets of fairy lights, all tangled up, only 2 working. I only like white lights,the non blinking ones. The last task I can make Bert do is untangle the fairy lights and then I'm on my own. I lovingly decorate the tree, the first christmas CD of the year playing, a glass of port, or two. I am so shattered at the end of it. I'll tidy up tomorrow.Gradually I will add more greenery and foliage to the house and then it's christmas.Lovely

We've always had people around for the festive season : friends, relatives, volunteers (wwoofers). A full house means a lot of cooking and do I love anything better than feeding people ?

This year it will be different. 
After 22 years with Bert I have finally succumbed to an artificial christmas tree and isn't it a beauty !?

I won't be cooking for hours (days) on end to get the perfect meal, in stead we have been invited to friends for christmas dinner. 
I will put up my feet and have the most relaxed festive season,  EVER !

Ding Dong

Well, coming back to edit this post and scrap the last line.

Looks like I will be cooking afterall, for 8 people (of which 3 vegetarians) on the 26th.  Better start planning the menu, methinks. 1o days to go !

The Ding Dong still stands.

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