|With Fátima and Julio my best friends in Spain here for our traditional annual Christmas dinner this week|
|Huge queues outside the Doña Manolita lottery establishment, the most famous in Spain|
|In the Plaza Mayor|
|Eladio and the bobbly Christmas hat|
|Outside the Mercado San Miguel last Sunday morning|
|Table for 2 at Juana's house for lunch on Tuesday|
|Araceli, my ex Nokia colleague who appeared in Oli's programme "Madrileños por el Mundo" this week|
|Suzy home for Christmas. Father and daughter reunited|
|Just some of the decorations of our own personal "Christmas wonderland"|
|Oli filming in France. Here with a beagle who sniffs out truffles|
On Wednesday it was great to have Suzy with us. Her cheer and demeanour and general charisma seem to fill the house with joy and energy. Unfortunately I couldn't have lunch with the family as I had a meeting with Adamo in Madrid. I was meeting my two Madrid colleagues, Antonio and Pedro, both of whom had been my colleagues at Yoigo and Nokia respectively. It's a small world. We had the meeting and lunch at Whitby, the bar where I had organised Yoigo's 6th birthday for the press. I went by metro and with time on my hands when I got out at Alonso Martínez I decided to drop into the only English shop I know in Madrid which is just around the corner; "Living in London". Here I bought more crackers, some mince pies and a a pavlova meringue case.
I was home quite early, by about 4 pm and had tea with Suzy. We then went for our walk. She had engagements that night so got ready to go out. Meanwhile, Eladio and I prepared everything for the cold supper I was offering Julio and Fátima for our annual Christmas dinner chez nous so to say. I put on a huge spread and served them: salad of giant prawns, pineapple, avocado and lettuce, tuna fish spread with hard boiled eggs, ibérico ham, "raf" tomatoes and giant asparagus. I also made the mayonnaise and thousand island sauce to go with the prawns and asparagus.
This is what the table looked like heaving with delicious and mostly healthy food.
|The dinner table on Wednesday evening - dinner with Julio and Fátima|
|My dearest friends at dinner on Wednesday night|
|Suzy and Norah have a special relationship|
|The Catalan election results.|
Suzy and Eladio have their breakfast later than me. While they do, the dogs sit hoping for the odd crumb that may come their way. It's always a lovely scene and I was lucky to get them all on camera that morning. I just love the photo.
|Suzy, Eladio and the 3 dogs - just love this pic.|
Oli was home by 5 carrying her heavy luggage as well as lots of nice French produce for us all; wine, nougat, honey, biscuits, etc. It was great to have her back. I was feeling too ill for a walk and eventually when I began to shiver, I decided all I could do was go to bed and nurse my cold. I was dreading being ill for Christmas.
I woke up on Saturday morning feeling just slightly better. At least the shivers had gone. However, I had little energy yesterday. I joined the girls on what is usually one of the happiest days of the year, going Christmas shopping with them. We went to Gran Plaza 2 and walking around tired me. Thank goodness I had done all my Christmas shopping. We came home to have lentils and coq au vin I had made early that morning. After lunch, all I wanted to do was go to bed. I slept till 5 and woke up feeling groggy but better. Suzy and I did lots of cooking in preparation for tonight's dinner. In Spain the most important festive dinner is on Christmas Eve as in England it is on Christmas Day. Thus, being an Anglo Spanish family we do both which of course involves one hell of a lot of cooking. The girls and Miguel stayed for dinner before going off to Oli's flat for the night and we had a healthy and light dinner as there would be so much eating over Christmas. It was early to bed again for me and today I was up at 6 and feeling better but certainly not yet over the hill.
I have lots to do today and shall start by making bread for everyone and then the "salpicón de marisco". We must get a walk in today before dinner as, owing to my cold, I haven't been on one for a couple of days. Let's see if I'm up to it.
So now my friends, I shall sign off and get on with the day. All that remains is to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I'm not saying "happy holidays" which seems to be the politically correct thing to say these days. That is because, first I'm not usually very politically correct and secondly I am a traditionalist and if Christmas is about the birth of Christ then the correct thing to say is Merry or Happy Christmas. You will hear all about ours in next Sunday's post which I will be publishing from Montrondo where we plan to spend New Year's Eve.
All the best till next week.