Blue Monday? Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.
It’s all white here!!!
Last night, the Mayor invited everyone in our commune to toast the New Year with a verre de l’amitié, a glass of friendship. We made it through the snow thanks to a lift from friends with winter tyres on their car. The snow was so pretty and the Christmas lights in the centre of the village made it look very festive.
It was nice to see so many people there from our small community. The Mayor welcomed and thanked everyone who had managed to get there. He then thanked everyone who works or volunteers for the village, the school, the library and various associations. He outlined what work had been done around the commune and plans for the coming year. There was a poignant moment when he asked us to remember everyone who had been touched by terrorism and for those that had passed away.
The champagne was flowing but as we are having a dry January we politely declined. A first for both of us! Despite lots of attempts to fill my glass I managed to stick to orange juice until the Mayor handed me a glass of champagne – it would have been rude to say no! I discreetly passed it to a neighbour who was more than happy to drink it for me.
For a small commune of around 200 people we are an international and friendly bunch made up of mostly French, a couple of Dutch (the numbers of Dutch increases in the summer!!), an English family (us), a German couple, a Texan and a South African.
We thanked the Mayor and asked if he could organise more evenings like this!
The snow has been melting and we went to see friends 10 minutes drive away and the roads were clear. On the way back I suggested driving back a different route and on the hill up to our house the road was unbelievably slippery. Our tyres couldn’t get a grip and I had a flash back to my car crash. Very scarey!
A wolf has been spotted not far away! An animal has been attacking sheep and a very wolf-like animal has been caught on camera. The authorities are taking the threat seriously and are investigating.
So maybe it isn’t so bad staying close to home and hibernating!
It is a frangipane pastry cake made with with a feve or lucky charm hidden inside. This custom dates back to pagan times when beans would have been used. The feves are tiny figurines, often babies and the three Kings made of porcelain. Nowadays the feves come in all sorts of shapes and are sometimes made of plastic.
Families have fun collecting the lucky charms and you often see baskets full of little feves on sale at Brocantes.
The cake is sliced and whoever finds the feve chooses the King and Queen for the evening.
Qui sera la Reine, que sera le Roi? Who is going to be the Queen, who is going to be King?
Back to work today and no more champagne and Christmas cake for breakfast or chocolates and cheese for tea!
After this year’s extra long festive season packed full of family fun and parties with good friends it is time to get back to routine. It feels good to tidy up and get back to “normal” (whatever normal is). Even clearing up after our crazy Mexican NYE party and taking the Christmas decorations down felt cathartic.
This Christmas has helped me to learn to let go of things I can’t change and emphasised how grateful I am to have such amazing family and friends. It made my Christmas that my family travelled via ‘trains, planes and automobiles’ to celebrate with us here in France.
I am looking forward to the fresh start that a New Year brings and turning the page. Are you ready for the next chapter?
Happy New Year!