Friday, 14 December 2007
Christmas in a French Chateau
Hang on a minute I'll just fluff up my hair more and flick the mince pie crumbs off the soft yellow cashmere pullover I'm wearing. Where was I ? oh yes, Christmas is fast approaching and here at Le Chateau an all pervading air of calm and tranquility settles gently on its industrious occupants like soft snowflakes. Logs crackle contentedly on the open fire as the flames dance and twirl in the reflection of the shiny Christmas baubles, artistically hung from the mantelpiece. Above twined amongst the candles is an abundance of ivy freshly cut from the garden. Huge swaths of holly, rich in red berries burst forth from painted white jugs. Simmering gently on the Aga the mulled wine sits ready to offer a glass of seasonal good will to any visitor filling the house with the aroma of heady spices.
In the deep freeze dozens of home made mince pies, labelled obviously in baking date, jostle for space next to the prepared brandy butter and bread sauce. All the presents are wrapped in hand painted paper stowed carefully away in a secret corner of Le Chateau away from curious excited eyes.
'Is there anything we can do to help Mother dearest' ? rings through the air. 'Come along Darling, don't tease me anymore, you simply must tell me what your heart most desires this Christmas' His Lordship croons.
The sound of a horn being blown heralds the arrival of the builder. 11 days to go to Christmas and His Lordship is gripped in a fervour of home improvement. Scaffolding is strategically placed at a dizzying height at the very pinnacle of the grand staircase. A slight swirling of plaster dust hovers on the shafts of sunlight beaming down through the skylight before settling on everything in sight. Today apparently, a paint sprayer is being used to paint the impossibly large area of wall. It has occurred to me that had I had the wit to use one of these machines in the first place I might have saved myself at least two years work. Everything needs to be covered as the paint might, and I'm quoting the builder here, cover other things too. At the end I am assured the ceiling of my Chateau will be transformed. 'Everything will be just dandy for the guests arriving for Christmas' and here I quote the husband.
I've been giving it some more serious thought as to what Father Christmas could give me this Christmas. I've been terribly good all year and worked very hard. The business has taken off, looking back on 2007 there have been some interesting learning curves.
'Hindsight' I say, 'I think I would like hindsight for my Christmas present'