December Newsletter 2021
December Newsletter 2021

December Newsletter 2021

Our Second Christmas in France; can’t quite believe it somedays. We’ve had a very different December to the one experienced last year which was wet and eventually resulted in our whole road being flooded by the rising levels of the river Gelise. This December it’s mostly been cold & dry – we’ve had some right good frosts at night but glorious blue skies and sunshine in the day, then, as it got closer to Christmas Day, the temperature picked up and we were able to eat Christmas dinner outside on the platform, and have a barbeque to boot – not a sprout in sight! We did light the log burner in the Station on Christmas Eve but by the 25th we were in short sleeves!

It could have been a lot more stressful had Tracey attempted to cook the wild boar that had been donated to us by “La Chasse” – that’s the local hunt. On the 14th December, a 4×4 pulled up by the drive and we watched as something was hauled out of the back. On investigation and after the usual frowning, smiling, franglais communication we worked out that it was for us from the hunt because, we think, it was caught on our land. Tracey fetched the wheelbarrow to get it up to the house and commenced a very amateur form of butchery in the kitchen – zero knife or meat cutting skills and not much idea of what bit of the anatomy was being hacked – it felt very wrong. A role of cling film and a freezer full of boar later, we decided to ask about at the bar to see if anyone would like to share in the bounty. It turns out that it’s been a really good year for the hunt so far this year and everyone has a freezer full of boar, not so good for “les sangliers”. Anyway, we’ve got a few recipes to try, a lot of folk tell us it’s generally very tough so it might end up with the dogs. We remember wild boar kebabs at the Summer evening markets one year that were absolutely melt-in-the-mouth-lush.

We’ve had some magical evenings locally this month because of the Christmas lights, the stars & the moon and the lovely crispy cold evenings. Each commune makes a real effort with the Christmas decorations and lights and it’s been a joy just to wrap up & have a walk around at night. Well, Tracey wraps up – Lee is permanently in shorts and quite often in short sleeves too – it never ceases to amaze the French who point to his legs aghast at the very idea of shorts in Winter! Here’s Lee in Sos and Tracey in Mezin –

It hasn’t all been party, party, party in December and we have still been working on our current project, The Pump House. We almost have a bathroom complete and both bedrooms are decorated. Whilst our handyman was working on the bathroom tiling, Lee decided, at the start of December, that the weather was good enough for some external work. The side of the Pump House has been stained with wood tannins over the years where the logs were stacked against the external wall, so out came the angle grinder with some very gritty abrasive discs that Lee used to grind away the staining. As Tracey popped over with the morning cuppas & toast ‘n marmalade, Lee momentarily turned, lost control of the nasty angle grinder with gritty abrasive discs which headed in the general direction of his left index finger. Dilema – head to the tap to clean it up & review the damage or eat the toast n marmalade?!

An hour later, a trip to the nurse in the village led to a trip to A&E which led to a trip to the surgeon which led to a day in hospital and 11 external stitches, plus the internal ones to secure the tendons back together. Lee loves hospitals and he’s got lots of accident tales that he likes to regale and now he has a French one to add to his collection. The local anaesthetic didn’t numb his injured finger and when the surgeon sliced it to reach the tendons, Lee shouted a universally understood profanity and seconds later had been jabbed with a general anaesthetic. Three hours later he was coming round in the recovery area, dressed in armour, waving a sword above his head and riding a horse in 17th Century France, yelling a battle cry! Our lovely doctor told us afterwards that post operative delerium is a wonderful state to experience!

Improvements have taken place around our village this month – the village lavoir, the old communal washing area, has been renovated and our road has been given a new road sign – see the pictures below. We have old black & white postcards showing that people identified our station in “avenue de la gare” but we have been re-named “route de la gare”. It’s a lovely sign though and sounds very grand. The other pictures we’ve included show Lee decorating the Pump House bedroom, look how the sun shines through the round window and the almost completed bathroom – our builder has made a fabulous job of the tiling. We’ve gone for one bright feature wall in British Rail 70’s yellow which is slightly more orange now it’s had 3 coats.

Well, that’s us wrapped up for 2021. We hope you have had a pleasant enough season of festivities despite the world still battling corona virus a year on and we really hope for a healthy and happy 2022 for you all. We are so pleased that we got to receive visitors this year – it really gave us some smashing memories and we do love sharing this place with folk; gutted for those who couldn’t make it and everything crossed for safe and easier travel in 2022. Thank you again to all our readers and to everyone who replies with news from home – it’s great to hear from you. If we didn’t get a christmas card to you, many apologies, the finger accident upset the routine a bit this year! (Dear Santa, can I have some PPE gloves please?)