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christmas lunch

December 19, 2009

Mad%20Hatter%27s%20In%20Snow.jpgTo The Mad Hatter's Kitchen on Thursday for Christmas lunch with friends before they all disappear (variously to Miami, Spain and the UK) for the festive season.

As usual, there are dozens of hens and ducks roaming around in the courtyard outside, all adding to the charming ambiance. (Unfortunately, there is one less of them when we leave, but more of that later.)

Lunch is superb - turkey with all the trimmings and the most fantastic array of vegetable dishes. Just as the main course is served, snow starts to fall outside. It's quite magical. I honestly can't think of a better setting for Christmas lunch.

Just before pudding is served I take Biff outside for a little walk. The snow has already stuck and it's tricky walking in high heels. Suddenly, Biff pulls sharply on the lead and breaks free, heading straight for the hens. I run around in the snow screaming for him to stop and trying to catch him. Sixty seconds of absolute mayhem and terror ensue, culminating in a dead cockerel.

I slap Biff sharply and shove him in the car, feathers still hanging from his mouth. Charlotte is wonderful about it - particularly since the cockerel was a pedigree French breed - but I assure her that it is the very last time Biff will come here. My dog is officially, a serial killer. I honestly don't know what to do about this, apart from avoiding places where game is kept. (An electric collar is the only solution according to my friend Ed.)

It's quite a hairy drive home - 40 km of narrow, curving back roads - and difficult to stop the car sliding to the centre or side of the road, as the snow falls thickly around us. I'm wearing a short, thin dress and very high heels - not the best kit for navigating snowfall in the depths of rural France - and I'm terrified that I'll end up trapped in a ditch again (as happened several winters ago, when my car slid off an icy road and had to be pulled out by a tractor).

Fortunately, we make it back without incident (and I won't be going out on the roads again until the snow has completely gone.) But crawling along at 20mph in the whiteness, wearing a cocktail dress and heels, the car strewn with feathers from Biff's earlier kill, the journey home seemed very surreal.

comments (3)

1. Posted by anna on December 19, 2009 8:33 PM

Oh, how shocking. Start keeping a blanket and other stuff in the car for if/when it breaks down - I have started doing that since my tyre blew out last week (in the day time but it was cold waiting for help).

2. Posted by Eagle Wings on December 28, 2009 11:06 PM

Just to console you, a teacher's newish Patterdale terrier puppy slaughtered two hens belonging to a neighbour a while before Christmas. Oh dear Biff....

3. Posted by Nathalie on January 31, 2010 6:35 PM

Hi Karen,
We met at the France Show where I bought your book. Being French myself (and a Kensington resident) I was looking forward to reading your adventures in the heart of rural France. I LOVED the book. So easy to get into and pure escapism. I am glad that I took the trouble to 'find' you on the internet and look forward to reading more about your life in France.
Take care

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