Saturday, December 24, 2011

Carcassonne, day four

OK. We were going to get out the door at a reasonable hour. I was even awake and up at 7.30am. But somehow, somewhere, we were just leaving at 11.30am. There seems to be some kind of terrifying black hole between breakfast and opening the front door. Dunno how to cure it.
Niccolo and Myles were going to ice skate on the large rink in the middle of town. Zelda, Paris and I had wimped out on it. To make my own wimp out complete, I wore a skirt and stockings - no way that one could really get on the ice in such a costume.
Going relatively early in the morning is a good idea. When we have watched the rink after 5pm, it is seething with smart alecs in their own skates. Recipe for the loss of a finger if ever I saw one. But at 12noon, it was all British families getting up and falling down around the ice. Myles and Niccolo would be safe in such company. They got on the ice immediately (there is some weird system by which you buy for the hour and luckily they had turned up right on twelve so they would get the whole hour between 12 and 1pm. Then you get chivved off the ice by security.) Around the rink was a market going on. So Myles and Niccolo booted up and Paris, Zelda and I went around shopping. We bought very good bread from the bread man (and, of course, pain au chocolat for us). They weigh bread here which I find strangely satisfying. My huge loaf was worth a mere 4 euros. Bargain. Then we had to get churros and chocolat chaud to fortify us. And then I needed to get brussel sprouts. Myles is insistent upon this and the super market trip of yesterday failed to find them. The oldest woman in the working world  had a crate of them. She gave me a basket and I filled it. And then we waited while she made her way around to the other side of the counter. And waited and waited. She wasn't or couldn't move too fast. It was lucky we had supplies really. But then she made it to her scales and weighed our modest basket. A handful of change and we were away.
Then it was great fun and serious laughter watching Niccolo and Myles on the ice (and others). Myles was surprisingly graceful and upright. Niccolo ran from fence to fence in panicked postures, arms windmilling, legs twisting in all direction. And all the while, English Christmas carols serenading them. I took video; I'm hoping I can upload it, but if not, take my word for it; it was very funny.
We had to take Niccolo home immediately after they were banished from the ice. He was wet and while the skies were blue, the air was cold. I was thinking he would be an ice statue by the time we arrived home. But he wasn't.
After lunch, I had a sleep on the couch while the kids watched Horton Hears a Who on TV (in English) and laughed themselves sick. While I was notionally asleep, I was still tuned in to the laughter.
Then it was time for our afternoon walk and we did this by the canal that rings the town. Lots of fast flowing water and ducks paddling double time just to stay in the one place. Lots of people walking a host of pretty silly looking dogs. Paris and Niccolo doing ninja kicks at one another.
Then time for another ride on La Pomme for Niccolo and Zelda. At this point, Paris (most unlike him) began to complain that we had to go home. He was cold and hungry and wanted badly to be in front of the heater.
So we turned our backs on the Christmas eve pantomime (we would have had trouble understanding it anyway) and the fireworks and Christmas carols and Santa in a truck with lights that made it look like a sleigh (if you were blind) and, oddly, a Christmas turtle.
Zelda made brownies for dessert for the morrow. I made ice-cream from sour cream and thin pouring cream and a whisk I had bought for one euro from the market earlier. I'm not sure about it. It could go very wrong (or, it has gone very wrong and we just don't know about it yet ...).
Early to bed (that is 11pm, early for us now). We were all in bad moods. Headaches and grumpiness. Zelda and I had a fight and had to make it up.
Perhaps our sourness will have evaporated by Christmas day. Here's hoping.

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