This is not alleviated by the municipality's being seemingly reluctant to risk their shiny snow-ploughs in such dangerous conditions ...
I suppose there are some things better said in that language. Mind you, she does the same with her Parisian cousins, so I suppose we shouldn't take it personally.
Whatever, I made clafouti for dessert. Two clafoutis in fact, one with cherries as God and the Auvergnats intended, and one with apricots, as the Bimler family prefers. You really would think that two of the suckers, for four, would be enough to ensure some left-overs, wouldn't you? Wrong, I'm afraid. Jerry needed a midnight feast, Malyon didn't want to miss out ...
Unfortunately the execrable Pierre seems to have read Beckham's rough drafts because he appeared to have no desire to either sleep with, nor offer free wine, to anyone younger than his rather shoddy boots: a population which appears to include both Mal and I. Damn.
And Beckham was up in Paris, which meant that she couldn't even bat her eyelashes at him (yeah, I know, there's probably an app for that if you have the right sort of phone, but apparently I don't) and melt a little spot in his flinty bartender heart. Assuming him to have one, of course. (Of course he has a heart. Pickled, in a jar on a shelf behind the bar.)
So what with the whisky Saturday evening just seemed to drift away and to hell with the rain - and I have to say that this Christmas day was one of the most beautiful I can remember. Marred only by a hard frost, but that had vanished by the time I got around to dragging the barbecue out from its lurking-place in the cellar and chopping a bit of wood.
This being France, this often - and in our specific case, definitely - means a pain surprise, which is an enormous loaf of bread cut open, the mie removed and turned into sandwiches, which are then stuffed back inside and the lid put back on. Quality is variable, and to my mind it still doesn't beat a decent mess of club sandwiches, but we're slowly educating the poor things.
By the time we got to that point Bryan turned up bearing bottles, just as well as we would otherwise have had to go on to the reserve tanks of wine in the cellar, the white having more or less run out. Not as though we were in grave danger of dying of thirst, but still ... can never be too careful.
I'd just like to mention that we were remarkably restrained. No snails, no smoked salmon, no oysters, no foie gras, and no pestilential poulet de Bresse swimming in its own fat.
Come to that, we even passed on the bloody buche de Noel, that splendidly multi-coloured ice-cream log. Although Jeremy insisted on having marrons glacés, which are basically large lumps of vaguely chestnut-flavoured sugar. And there was pavlova.
Still, although we ate with - for us - great moderation, I have to admit that come the evening we were still more or less grazing, and there was no great enthusiasm for dinner. Hardly a surprise, really.
I know it's wrong of me, and I'm sure to be disappointed, soon enough, but I really do find it difficult to believe that Spring is not just around the corner. The shortest day of the year has been and gone, the sky is blue and brilliant and not only is it warm enough for the barbecue, it's warm enough to be out there tending to it in a t-shirt. (Well, provided you stay in the sun, anyway.)
Oh yeah, there was a good fall last weekend - heavy enough that you could not, in fact, go skiing - but there can't be that much left. Or if there is, it'll be stuff from the snow cannons, and that's not really the same.
So we're slowly winding down, munching on left-over canapés and about all I can face this evening is perhaps a little blackberry and apple strudel. Still have to get in training for New Year, mind you - but I think that too will be a quiet affair, especially as I have to drop Mal and Tony off at Geneva at some unearthly hour.
Anyway, a late Merry Christmas and an early Happy New Year to the lot of you.