Coloured fairy lights, and twinkly bits and pieces are finding their place in the house. By the time the Perrymans arrive the only task remaining will be to decorate the Christmas Tree. During this week Nick will celebrate his birthday and we are invited to supper that evening by Soizic and Pierrick. Coincidentally Soisiz celebrates her birthday the day after Nick. We are taken by the Poulets through whom we know S and P, and another couple who are mutual sailing friends of the quartet join us too. The house has been decorated and it is a festive evening.
One lunch time we are invited to eat escargots chez Taille. They have a neighbour, Jean-Claude, who collects them and his wife prepares them. Mimi has most recently worked her way through seven hundred snails and has declared she is not going to do any more! These are all the so-called Petit Gris, that is Cornu aspersum, the common garden snail. We love eating them and so does Francois, Fefe on the other hand prefers to eat some squid a la Francois.
Nick goes fishing a couple of times and brings home some useful catch. He fishes for squid on one day and manages to catch three modestly sized ones. I have picked up a different way of cooking squid which involves soaking them in boiled and cooled milk spiced with star anise. You then toss the squid pieces in a frying pan with a bit of garlic butter. As long as you don’t overdo it the squid is wonderfully tender. A couple of days later Nick goes fishing a second time with Stephen and they have a rewarding day, catching five species which includes four Red Gurnard, Pout Whiting, a Red Mullet, a Mackerel and a Bream.
On Saturday evening we have a date at the Daniell house for Carol Singing and Mince Pies. To my shame I get the timing wrong and we arrive and hour and a half late and there is no way out than to confess. Yes we could blame it on a number of things not least the very nasty blanket of fog which has enveloped our bit of Normandy but honesty wins over. It is a very pleasant, and distinctly English occasion with the majority of the guests being ex-pats including two Americans. I start to chat to the woman who we met last time and am completely mystified and shocked when she tells me that although she could not vote she would surely have voted for Trump because she did not like or trust Hillary. She feels we should wait and see because it won’t all be bad and in any event, she tells me and I don’t know if this is true or not, Trump is currently touring the States, talking to voters, telling them he didn’t mean everything he said, he wanted to get elected. I feel a wave of dislike and anger rise up and fortunately Lorraine calls us to order for the singing of more carols.
Fortunately we know some thoroughly interesting and thoughtful Americans who have real political integrity and as it happens are great friends. They come to supper on Sunday to celebrate their arrival in St Vaast that afternoon and I make Rick Stein’s seafood tourte and we play a hand of Spite and Malice. The fog which has been hanging around continues to come and go and Ty later sends me a photo of our house.
On Monday I start to make my curries. The Tenorios, the Daniells and the da Costas are coming to us for a curry evening. They will Christine Street’s Chicken curry and my own Goa Fish Curry, with a Daal and some Naan breads. Our own house Lemon Pickle is hugely appreciated. Which reminds me that I must make some more.
This soiree brings our pre-Christmas social activity to a close and we then prepare for the arrival of the Perrymans.