Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Damp, dreary December


From top left:

Bungalow Christmas tree (before the cat pulled it over and the dog ate the chocolates)
Trafalgar Square tree
St Malo tree
Dinan tree

December - Wind, rain, more rain and the warmest on record.  

Last month, I mostly:-

- Felt seasick
- watched Tim Peake blast off in to orbit
- sang carols
- went to the Panto (oh yes I did)
- listened to Radio 4 whilst ironing
- played Jenga, Pictionary (good at) and Cluedo (bad loser)
- forgot to buy sprouts
- watched Doris Day films
- ate raspberry trifle in the bath

I love our annual family visit to the panto, complete with sweeties.

Aladdin at The Mayflower, Southampton - lovely building

We visited Maisie (town mouse) in London.  She greeted us at Waterloo holding a coffee (so 'London'!).  We had a lovely lunch in the Founders Arms on the South Bank.  The floor to ceiling windows give great views of the river.

The Founders Arms

A grey December day on the South Bank

We then had a wander around 'Winter Wonderland' in Hyde Park.  

No way would I go on that!

Wearing my yellow mac came in handy as I was easy to spot when we got split up by the crowds

Naff I know but Christmasy

I knew Maisie wanted to go on a ride and there were small (ish) children on this one so I thought it would be tame.....

Why?!  I had to hold on for dear life as it felt like I was going to fall out. I screamed so much I had a sore throat afterwards!

and calm.  Nice Christmas lights on Regents and Oxford Street

You couldn't move for people though

Harrods all lit up - nice

My gorgeous girls

My fellow Bungalow Girl has not got bored of brewing yet.  We are now a three barrel family (hic).

The Brewster - "ere!  That's my pinny!"

A most sumptuous mini (and I mean 'mini') cruise was enjoyed to St Malo with our fellow francophile friends, Pete and Angela.  

We left Portsmouth (or Portsmoose if you are a Brittany Ferry announcement lady) on the Friday night, woke up in St Malo, had the whole day and then back on the ferry Saturday night to arrive back home Sunday morning.  

Being used to calm summer seas, I was not expecting the sea to be that rough - we had a force 8!  I know that because my fellow Bungalow Girl listened to the shipping forecast before we left - not a good idea.....  I hardly slept a wink the first night, rigid with fear and a morbid fascination, just waiting for each crash of the sea over the ship.  I had to spend the whole of Saturday drugged up on strong, French, black coffee and lots of sweet patisseries to keep my sugar up and me awake! Pete slept through the whole thing and said it was quite normal......

Saturday night the sea wasn't so bad but the ship rolled and wallowed so much that my body kept sliding up and down the bunk and sometimes the bunk would even drop from beneath me for a second - bleh.....  I don't usually get sea sick but I did that night.  Once round the Channel Islands I did manage to go to sleep.  

We had breaky in our usual place 'Cafe L'Ouest' in St Malo - bit chillier than we are used to though!

We drove to Dinan - a lovely medieval Breton town

All the shops had their own decorations and trees.  The chemist shop had pill bottles on their tree.

Where is everybody?

So happy to be in France, even for a day!


The Port

Can't believe we sat outside here and ate galettes one summer

We had a coffee to come out of the cold

So cosy

The highlight of my French trip was finding this cafe/bar that I must have missed on previous trips. What a find!  It was everything I love - mad, dusty and atmospheric (bit like our bungalow).  The entrance to the loo looked like it had once been a confessional in a church!

Le Cafe du Coin - St Malo, one of the oldest in the city, dating back to 1820.

Some of the bar seats were swings hanging from chains in the ceiling

We had a bracing walk on the beach

and a stroll before we left - to see the Christmas lights.

Even though I like sitting by the log burner and being cosy at home I can't wait for some more daylight and to get out more.

My mum brought round my grandmother's quilt, backed, edged and quilted for me.  So happy to see it hanging in all it's 1970's glory.  

Christmas Day

This is about the one and only sunny day we had in the whole month!

Big Dog so happy to be on a longer walk

Blue sky!  Bliss!

Frank always snuggles up to Big Dog and feels sorry for himself when he has been fighting

Naughty boy - the Al Pacino of the cat world

With the field behind our house flooded again, down-pipes swinging in the gales, anything that isn't nailed down flying around the garden, water buts overflowing and mud everywhere I feel like I could almost live on the Shiants in Scotland, like the author of the new (utterly fab) book I am reading....

'There was a time when I thought that to give the islands away, even to Tom, would be an unbearably difficult thing.  Sometimes, away from them, late at night in strange hotels, I would listen to the shipping forecast - 'Hebrides, Minches, Storm Force Ten, backing southwesterly, sleet, visibility two hundred yards',  I would think of them then, wet. battered and impossible, the rain slinging itself in handfuls of rice against the windows of the bothy, the churning of the sea....'

'Sea Room' by Adam Nicolson

Well, the daffs are out (I have never seen them out in the first week of Jan before - so weird) so who knows what the weather will do next!  Well, blow this damp, windy, grey island - I'm off (with my new book) somewhere slightly warmer......!

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