|Our family photo on Christmas day after lunch with our cracker crowns on.|
|My lovely new embroidered jeans from Zara|
|The lovely sequined party dress from Zara|
|The little black lace and velvet dress from Zara|
|A Zara jumper for Oli for Christmas|
|A Christmas photo of the 4 of us on our walk this week|
|The lorry attack at the Christmas market in Berlin|
|A shot from Oli's programme on Monday night that we didn't watch.|
|Our "hygge" lounge ready for our guests on Tuesday night.|
|The dining room all ready for our dinner on Tuesday night|
|The table groaning with low calorie dishes for dinner on Tuesday night|
|With my great friends Julio and Fátima at dinner at home on Tuesday|
|Sparklers to start the dinner|
|The confetti played havoc with our dining room table on Tuesday night|
It was cold but the sun was shining. We have been lucky in Madrid not to have had lots of rain like in the south and south east. Alicante, Murcia and Valencia and parts of Andalusia have had torrential rain and horrendous flash floods. The images on TV showed a ghastly scene for an area usually so dry. 10 people died in the freak weather which must have taken all the inhabitants by surprise. My heart goes out to the families and friends of all affected.
|Flooding in Los Alcázares in Murcia|
|Wednesday 21st December was the winter solstice.|
I don't think Suzy was aware it was the winter solstice. All she has wanted to do since she got here was to cram in as many social engagements as she could in her 12 days here. On Wednesday she had lunch with a school friend, Aranxa, who runs a successful NGO in India and in the evening she had lunch with her ex "Whitechapel" flat mate, Mónica.
She had time though to visit her sister Oli after lunch who, of course, was working. They sent me an unexpected photo of the two of them together. I love their relationship and wish I had had a sister in my life too.
|My 2 girlies together on Wednesday|
|TV series on Netflix, "Mar de plástico" (Sea of plastic)|
|A scene from the traditional draw of the Spanish Christmas lottery, "El Gordo".|
Teresa's sister bought one ticket (un décimo) equivalent to 1/10 of a whole ticket. The ticket was shared between her family with a total winning of 800.000 euros (600 odd after taxes). Teresa was overjoyed to learn she was to get 100.000 euros. She has a small baby and will be getting married in 2017 so no wonder she is overjoyed. Nice that one of the girls' friends won the lottery.
That day I got unsettling news from work. However no way was I going to let it spoil my Christmas, not to mention our upcoming trip to Cuba. But the day ended well with dinner at Oli and Miguel's with Suzy and Oli. It would be the first time Suzy was to see their new flat and she loved it. We had only seen it when they first moved in in the summer and hadn't been back since. It's very homely and awfully clean as I pointed out to Oli hahaha. Here we are around their dining room table after polishing off the dinner drowned with lovely wine the couple had bought in La Rioja region recently.
|Dinner at Oli and Miguel's on Thursday night.|
Friday came and it was the last day before Christmas. I had lots of last minute preparations and shopping to do for both our Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch. It was a very busy day and I was on the go until the evening. In the morning Eladio and I went to the Mallorca gourmet bakery and cake shop which sells all sorts of wonderful food. Here we spent some of my unused luncheon vouchers. We usually use them to go out to dinner but as I have been on a diet since the beginning of October I had excess vouchers which would expire in the New Year and the only place to use them apart from restaurants is at Mallorca. Here we bought lots of ready made delicacies for our Christmas Eve dinner, as well as fine olive oil, wine and of course croissants and similar for our Christmas morning breakfast.
|Mallorca, perhaps Spain's finest chain of bakery and cake shops|
Once home I went on my walk and Eladio mowed the lawn. The girls were away and the house seemed very quiet. On Saturday they would be home and the family would be together to enjoy another wonderful Christmas. Oh how I love Christmas.
Saturday was Christmas Eve, a traditional time in Spain to spend exclusively with the family and that's how we do it too. Finally we were all together. I had a sudden inspiration on my early morning walk that we could wear Santa outfits that night. So as soon as I got back, I went straight to my grandmother's wooden chest which is full of fancy dress outfits, to find them. I immediately tried one on and got Eladio to get into a Christmas Elf tunic too. And here we are the 2 of us by the tree getting into the spirit of Christmas. What a laugh!
|Eladio and I getting into the spirit of Christmas on Saturday morning|
|Our Christmas Eve table|
|Zena bringing in my Father for the family Christmas dinner.|
|Around the table at Christmas Eve with our Santa and Elf outfits hahaha|
|The four of us dressed up suitably for the occasion on Christmas Eve|
At 9.15 p.m. we watched the King's speech on the iPad after we had finished eating. I found it boring and institutional and didn't really listen. I was far more interested to see Oli's programme which came next on the TV and which was a special edition of "Mi Cámara y yo" for Christmas Eve. You can see it too here online. She and her colleagues, dressed in Santa outfits too, were the Telemadrid TV "Charlies' angels" as you can see in the photo below.
|Oli and her co-reporters, centre Andrea and right Amaya, in a shot from the special programme on Christmas Eve|
I was up earlier than anyone, as usual, but this time it was at 5.50 a.m. A bit much right? However, I had lots to do. After feeding the dogs, I had to hang up the girls' Christmas stockings and then lay the table for the family Christmas breakfast, making the coffee and orange juice for everyone. This is the best breakfast of the year and similar to our birthday breakfasts. This is what the table looked like. The first to arrive for breakfast were Zena and my Father.
|Breakfast on Christmas morning|
|Eladio and my Father sitting by the fire on Christmas morning just before we opened the presents.|
|The festive fireplace.|
|The lounge before we opened the presents on Christmas morning|
|In my gold dress on Christmas Day|
|Our official annual Christmas morning photo. We always dress up for the occasion.|
The present opening session took a good 2 hours and most people were happy with their presents. My Father later said how well organised Christmas had been, that he loved our Santa Claus outfits, the fire, his presents and the Christmas day lunch; a heavily British affair with all the trimmings. I was so glad to hear it.
Soon afterwards, I started on the lunch which was to be "pullet" chicken (pularda in Spanish) with sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, various types of veg, gravy and of course cranberry sauce. Dessert would be Christmas pudding, one Suzy had brought from England for us. I put everything in motion and then left Zena in charge so as to be able to go on our walk before lunch. The four of us went with our 3 dogs and it was a glorious sunny morning. It was also quite warm and soon we were peeling off the layers of clothes we didn't need. We came back to find our Ukranian carer slightly worried about the British lunch she was helping to make. I took over immediately of course to make both the gravy and the white sauce which I'm not sure she would not have known how to prepare hahaha.
Everyone seemed to be starving, despite our hearty breakfast, and were all tucking in before I even made it to the table. I told my family that was not the protocol and that we had to make a toast before starting haha. Here are Eladio and the girls tucking in and my Father too. He does love a Christmas roast meal like we all do. Thankfully his tummy upset was over. I remarked that he has now lived through 97 Christmases. Wow!
|Eladio and the girls enjoying their Christmas day lunch|
|My Father at lunch on Christmas Day|
|Zena with my Father at lunchtime on Christmas Day|
Believe it or not we had dinner that night or rather Eladio, Oli, Miguel and I did. Suzy said she was too full. We arranged an impromptu buffet helping ourselves to the leftovers from the night before and each took a plate into the dining room. Again I broke my diet, but that is understandable on Christmas Day isn't it?
Having got up at 5.50 in the morning, I was pretty tired by the end of the day and we tucked ourselves up into bed at about 10 pm to watch the latest episode of The Designated Survivor on Netflix.
I am finishing this post today which is Boxing Day. It was to be our last day with the girls before our trip to Cuba tomorrow. I went shopping with them this morning to change some of their presents, mostly at Zara where the queues of other people doing the same thing were endless. There was to be no Boxing Day family lunch as the girls and Miguel were going to a restaurant with the Manada, their group of friends. Thankfully though we shall have a Boxing Day dinner, just the four of us, our last meal together until who knows when, as Suzy is leaving for London the day after tomorrow.
It feels funny to be preparing for our trip to Havana tomorrow in the middle of Christmas but we are very much looking forward to it. Of course you will read all about it in my next post upon our return.
Meanwhile let me wish you all a fabulous 2017. I am wishing the same for myself but not sure it's going to be so after the unsettling news I mentioned at the beginning of this post. In any case I shall be positive and make the best I can of the new year.
So my friends and readers, that's it until next year.
All the very best,