TRAVEL: Back to March 2012!!

I have just found this post sitting in my drafts after a loooong hiatus from writing. Would seem a shame to waste the words, it was, and it is reading it back, full of beautiful memories! So enjoy…. from way back in March 9 2012.

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So after flying from the sunny, humid, tropical paradise of Cairns, (via Brisbane, Melbourne, and Hong Kong, with an unexpected 5hours on the tarmac in Brussels!!) my 40+ hour adventure brought me to Heathrow International airport on a windy, yet refreshingly cold damp evening! Oh, it’s been awhile!

The time spent in the UK was wonderful!! I got to meet my mans loving and generous family, put names to the faces of friends in his stories, catch up with my absolute bestie and rub her pregnant buddha belly(!!!), revel in wearing layers of wool and denim, buy coats and boots and gloves, drink hot coffee (as much for warmth as enjoyment!) and breathe steam, try yummy foods like homemade fish pie, REAL Lincolnshire sausages, the worlds BEST aubergine marsala, eat out at ‘Jamie’s’ in Cambridge, enjoy lunches with the ladies, fall in love with fresh soup again(!!), visit farmers and Christmas markets, attend a rugby match at Twickenham, a house party in Norfolk, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and so SO much more!!

As if just being there wasn’t enough…. we also went to…. PARIS!!!

I was blessed and surprised with a weekend trip to France! Catching a train under the English Channel and into another country was a trip!! Showing my passport to get on a train was definitely a new experience!! Our one night in Paris was spent, well, at the Moulin Rouge!! Where else?? Just as enjoyable as the show was the look on my mans face when he realised on the way in that he was going to get to see bare chested women!! “Oh my gosh, is there boobies? Do I get to see boobies?” HAHA “yes darling, it’s the Moulin Rouge, you get to see lots of boobies!” (Darling had never been to a cabaret or burlesque show before!!)

We then drove to Montchaton near the coast of Granville, hours across the countryside navigating by spider-senses as both our phones failed to cooperate in the mapping department, and the GPS we were given was missing its mapping card!!! Thank goodness my darling is a navigator!! He did very well to get us out of Paris and onto the motorways!

2 days in the countryside staying in a converted barnyard was incredible. The pace of life, the simplicity of growing herbs and veggies, keeping chickens, heating with fire, fetching fresh baguette each morning… it was such a pleasure to relax, to talk, to eat, drink and to experience each moment in its fullness, many from the kitchen table with two smoking men! So French!

Now a trip wouldn’t be complete without my food rundown…. here, it’s easy. In the mornings I had a fresh buttery, flaky, soft, croissant, with freshly brewed stovetop espresso coffee, and the rest of the day revolved around the fresh baguette! Lunch was fresh bread, butter, and cheese, snacking was slices of baguette spread with butter, and dinner, well both nights we enjoyed fish. The first was with vegetables at the house, the second night was by the port in Granville and was the biggest “plateau de fruits de mer” I have EVER seen!! It was absolutely delicious! Langoustines, prawns, crab, mussels, oysters, clams, lobster, shrimp, and for the first time in my life, escargot!! YUM!!!

Needless to say I could have gladly spent a lot more time in France, and I very much look forward to going back someday!!

Back in England I received news that my grandmother had passed away suddenly, I was going to have to leave earlier than expected.

I am extremely grateful that before I left I got to experience a traditional winter family Christmas feast! Together we enjoyed wine, roast turkey, roasted nut loaf (so good), yorkshire puds, veggies, gravy, all the trimmings, bread sauce, fruit cake… it was absolutely spectacular!! I ate so much good food and loved having leftovers for breakfast the next day! It was a shame that I missed the snow though! That would have been a perfect end to my (short) English winter. Mind you back in Sydney it wasn’t much warmer!! Certainly not the kind of summers I enjoy! What ever happened to nights so hot you had to flick the bed sheets in order to get a breeze wafting over your body, mornings so warm you tried to get as much in before 8am as you could, days too hot for the beach… that was what I was going for, and yet I think I spent more time in my jeans!! Summer? What summer???

My grandmothers funeral was beautiful. The church was full of people who loved her dearly and will treasure her eternally. Pink roses were the order of the day and there could not have been a prettier sight! She would have loved it, and been just as pleased at everyones out-welling of tears!! HAHAHA!!

What this meant was that our ENTIRE family was able to get together a couple of weeks before Christmas. As was the matriachal orders, EVERYONE was present, flying in from out of state and out of country to attend. It was really nice having all of our cousins in the same place and gave us an opportunity to retake a family photo from about a decade before!

Christmas was wonderful, I love spending Christmas with my family! The food was delicious(!), I got spoilt rotten on the present stakes, and it is always so much fun just hanging out with my sisters and my mum!

I was given some absolutely gorgeous gifts, very thoughtful and very generous, and providing renewed inspiration for my kitchen and my garden, and my bookshelf which is so exciting!!

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