Posted by: kathandroger | December 16, 2018

Jack Frost, the Black Prince and Christmas Cake.

At last the commotion in France seems to be slowly improving. There were less “Gilet Jaunes” demonstrating and less damage in Paris. We are hoping they don’t block the ferries when we go back for Christmas next weekend. But the weather may be having some effect. The temperatures have been sub zero in the mornings recently, and with the freezing rain the demonstrators must be having a miserable time.
Not so us! With the lovely log fires going and taking the dog for early morning frosty walks, I just love this time of year.IMG_0221 We have been up at sunrise to wander our pretty country paths and see the fleeing deer and hares. The local hunt apparently killed seven wild boar in the woods by our house last week, but Jon-Jaques our neighbour who was one of them, reckons there were at least thirty. There were some well fed hunters this week! At least the quarry is worth hunting for the pot, unlike the foxes at home. And I note that the public are at last realizing that the drag hunts in the UK are only an excuse to continue hunting foxes. Anyway, our dog enjoys the early mornings, and seems to have even more energy with the ice on the fields.IMG_0222 She has a wonderful nose for detecting pheasant and partridge, and puts them up frequently, but has now learned that chasing them is not really worth the effort. Likewise with the local deer, although she likes to show she is a proper dog by chasing for a hundred metres or so! And it was wonderful to see her chase a female Hen Harrier which was flying low over the fields yesterday morning. What graceful birds they are.

But although the cold and frost are no problem, the freezing rain and wind prevent any outside work, and I have had to take refuge in my workshop. Most Christmas Presents will be hand made this year, often involving fossils and old surgical instruments. I feel a bit guilty about cutting up old pure silver tools, but they will never be used again in this age of plastic everything, and at least they will give some pleasure… I hope! But I am not the only one working inside. Kaths’ English learning students have had a project to make a typical English Christmas cake as part of their learning! Much enthusiasm and confusion from the French, but yesterday the fruits of their labours were put on show and judged.IMG_1906 This is one of the three contenders. Weeks had been spent on debating decorations and feeding the cake with cognac, and a couple of dozen of us sampled the efforts along with mulled wine and some sloe gin. I can’t remember who won, but it was a good afternoon and we slept well. The judges had to be neutral, and English of course, but it was no problem to find volunteers for the task amongst our friends! I am not sure how much useful English will have been learned, but at least the French students can talk about marzipan, icing, and fruit cake mixtures.

And finally, thinking about next year, I have somehow become attached to another French drama group. A friend told us about the requirement for an English speaker to join a French play about the Hundred Years War and become the “Black Prince” in their forthcoming production. So I have learned a lot about history, both the French versions and the English, which are very different! Anyway it appears that I will be the villain of the piece, which should be fun. Better get on and learn how to pronounce those funny French words!


  1. Glad you are going to have fun with the Black Prince and I’m sure J-C is relieved to have found someone who can do it.

    We introduced a French friend to our fruit cake yesterday. She said she liked it, but didn’t sound overly enthusiastic.

    • I look forward to working with Guy, who plays the hunting horn and seems quite a character!

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