We begin at 4.30am. Well, I do. I get up so I can see and speak with my family in Melbourne at 3pm their time. Technoloy; it can blow your mind. I was astonishing to see everyone (after Franco fixed the video cam) and to hear what they were all doing.
Then I had trouble getting back to sleep. So I did a whole lot of things to get ready for the Christmas lunch and then curled up in a chair with 'Fergie and Andrew: Behind Palace Doors' on BBC 2 in the background. At some point, Zelda woke and then woke me - and it was all systems go.
Ah, presents. We had bought presents as we travelled around and we all knew what we were getting. Except for Paris for whom we bought a Che tee shirt for in Barcelona. He hasn't removed it yet ... Zelda and I had also bought flamenco dresses when in Barcelona which were our Christmas outfits. And because we had struggled to find Christmas headwear (not entirely true but we had not bought the headwear when we had had the option, and when we went searching for it, there it wasn't ...), Zelda made headbands out of boiled lollies (the ones left over from the Christmas tree biscuits).
With our presents, and our Christmas outfits, it was time to cook and eat.
The menu was as follows:
to begin - fried eggplant, mini hamburgers, tomato relish, fried mushrooms, and good bread and butter. There was champagne (Moet, we ARE in France) and spunky little coke bottles for the kids. After this first course, which was cooked by Paris, Zelda, Myles and I, we were feeling a little full. But there was more too come (Niccolo is a noticable omission from this blog. He received an ipod shuffle for Christmas and he was thus distracted). We thought about having a break but the chicken was ready and we had to go hell for leather.
main course - roast chicken (not Breese, sadly, but free range and good), roast potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts and chorizo, tomatoes, good bread and butter. There was pain, deep pain (and I don't mean bread), in our digestive tracts. But we would forge ahead ...
dessert - brownies made by Zelda, chocolate ice-cream made by me from a series of cream products, none of which were whipping cream, and raspberry and apple crumble devised and made by Zelda and Paris. Oh! it was good; even though the ice-cream was strangely sourish.
By now, we were reeling. Bug eyed with inflamed digestive tracts and swollen midriffs. I wove dreamily towards the sofa. It was time for a sleep. Myles, however, was twirling like a panicked dervish, desperate to get the hell out of the house and go for a walk. Actually, he would have been happier going for a run. But that might have ended in some kind of terrible death situation. The kids found Kung Fu Panda on the telly. There was only smiling faces.
Our tree was stripped of its Christmas biscuits at some point.
Now, I wish there were other stories to tell you about Christmas day in Carcassonne - things like snow fights and fireworks and happy, cold faces singing carols. But I can't. There was nothing else that happened. I was paralyzed by the food and indigestion. The kids were gripped by back to back films (I can't remember what they were now, but Juno was on at some point). Myles left again at some point, desperate to digest at least one course from the lunch.
At some point, Paris, Myles and I played cards - gin rummy learned quickly off the web - with our Kings and Queens of England card set. I was hoping at some point to get Edwy, but Paris appeared to have a monopoly on the Saxon Kings. I kept getting lumped with Queen Mary - that dour fanatic.
I tried red wine for digestion. It didn't help but it did numb the pain a little.
We crawled into bed, praying - in a kind of agnostic manner - for the food to find another stomach to lie in.