Festive Family Favourites

L1080870.JPG Rose and Sylvain, Wilf and Gélise were with us from 23 December until early January. Almost three weeks seemed like a decent length of time when we were planning to be together for the festive season, but it seemed like no time at all till Dee and I were left looking at one another and around the echoingly empty flat, moving furniture and sorting piles of washing with that mixture of deep sadness that they were no longer here, and warm happiness that we had all had such a grand time.

L1080876.JPG For indeed a grand time was had by all. We spent most of Christmas Day opening presents, as everybody had given everybody else loads of things. We enjoyed the New Year fireworks at the castle, from the kitchen window. We all (apart from Wilf of course) stomped up Allermuir on New Year’s Day, under a blue sky, and were almost blown off the top by a fierce warm gale.

P1020388.JPG We had some great food. Dee has now officially perfected Stollen with marzipan, and Lebkuchen with spices we have had to ask for specially in German shops in the summer months when they are not generally out on the shelves. Bread was sourced from Andante in Morningside (the best cheese scones yet, according to Rose the cheese scone expert and special government adviser). We had lobster salad on Hogmanay. A groaning cheeseboard. Home-made pizza. Crackers were pulled. Wines were supplied by Waitrose (some months ago when bargains were still to be had) and specially imported from Belgium. I had my first gin and tonic for several months, and my second, and …

P1020397.JPG There were regular sorties into town, especially after Gélise discovered the Edinburgh charity shop map and for the sales. A vast array of supermarkets to explore (we are still relishing no longer being limited to shopping in Tesco-town aka Inverness). A scrabble tournament. Walks in the Dell. Catching up with old friends in Edinburgh and beyond. We watched some great films, usually with some kind of subtitling. Dee cooked. Rose and Gélise helped with the washing up. Wilf nearly finished the Guardian Christmas crossword. Gélise designed and knitted a hat and scarf combo. Sly played guitar. I finished Rose’s socks and knitted Sly a rather fetching (I thought) snood and matching gloves.

P1020393.JPG We all trooped off to Camilla House on Boxing Day complete with coffee machine, cups, cakes and biscuits for a wee party with Jo, which she enjoyed.

We met Katie and Martin at the Goth in Prestonpans for a drop of ale and a plate of fish and chips. We had lunch with them in Portobello, and a bitterly cold walk along the front.

L1090144.JPG We went through to Glasgow with Rose and Sylvain who wanted to visit the School of Art, and for the full Mackintosh experience had lunch with Mum in the Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street.


P1020436.JPG Dee made Epiphany Cake on the appointed day, and it came to pass that I once again received the bean, so normal royal service has been resumed for the year to come.

We survived the hurricane-force winds that battered Edinburgh early in the year (thankfully Wilf and Gélise were staying with Katie and Martin the night it was really bad, since the attic which was their bedroom was draughty enough at the best of times – they were very stalwart in coping with the cold up there). We went to the Botanics to check on the damage wreaked by the wind, and cheered one another with positive thoughts about cycles of life and the forces of nature constantly renewing themselves.

L1090132.JPG It was, we generally decreed, the best Christmas ever. Dee and I had resolved when we came back to Scotland in March that we would have a wee cosy place where R, S, W & G could come and we could all be together for Christmas. The plan worked. The circle of love came home. It was great. See for yourselves – images mostly courtesy of Sylvain and Dee.


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