Long time no write - I'm getting lazy but shouldn't so here's an update on activities here at Río Tajo this Christmas tide. Being out of work gave me lots of time for preparations and this year there was even a countdown master plan with elaborate menus (Christmas is all about eating, blast it) and secret present lists.
Quite a lot of wining and dining took place which included 2 now traditional meals - dinner with Mar and Mariano (my and our La Vanguardia journo neighbours). This year's dinner took place at our house and was the most exciting one yet as Mar and Mariano have just adopted Sam a 3 year old Chinese boy who is delightfully affectionate. He was a real plus to the dinner. Since then Mariano has been successfully operated after a cancer scare. We love them so much.
The next celebration meal on the agenda was with Julio and Fátima (my best pals). We all ate so much Julio needed a siesta afterwards. As is typical with Fati, she was only an hour late and, of course, no apologies on arrival!!! We ate the great fillet steak we had bought at a trip to Mercamadrid at the beginning of December.
In Spain the most important event is the Christmas Eve dinner but more about that later (and some pics) as we are off to the cinema to see Luther - people go to see the Narnia Chronicles and King Kong, etc but when you have a philosopher for a husband and a daughter (Olivia) immersed in journalist studies, you go to see more cultural things. Last time I studied Luther I was about 12 so I won't remember much. Well I'm back now (film was actually quite good) so I will continue where I left off:
Yes, Christmas Eve. It will probably have been our last Christmas Eve dinner here at Río Tajo. A very quiet and lovely dinner as usual; this year all prepared by me and not our household help cum cook Ana who made last year's dinner. Anyway my perushki (Russian pasties) are better than hers!!! This year just the family, no lonely strays like darling Berk Saglik a Turkish guest we had last year.
Christmas Day was purely English and as traditional as always - only change being we had capon instead of turkey; otherwise NO concessions. The day starts with the girls (now aged 20 and 21) finding Father Christmas' stockings in their rooms and we all go ooh and aah at everything they find. Then breakfast in the dining room with the best tea set. Once everything is put away and we are washed and dressed the opening of the presents starts. We go for volume in our house rather than quality, so we are often opening presents for nearly 2 hours - one at a time, of course, all "washed down" by a nice box of Cadbury chocolates.
The rest of the day consists of making the Turkey (or capon) lunch with all the trimmings (thanks again Anne for the sage and onion stuffing, etc), eating it, clearing away and then having a Spanish siesta for about 2 hours. There is NO dinner in the evening and the left overs get eaten on Boxing Day. The day finishes off with a family film we all watch together (with bloody chocolates again). This year it was the Choir Boys; lovely!!
Another highlight is and was dinner at Julio's. Julio is one and we are 6: Eladio, Masha, Susi, Oli, my Father and Oli's boyfriend José Luis. The rule is that the girls can only bring their boyfriends if they have been going out with them for more than a year and a half and, of course, that is never Susana's case. Fati also came this year so in the end we were 8 in Julio's delightful bacherlor flat. As usual the food was out of this world - most of it came from a very good catering group called Mallorca. Here we also exchange presents, each one with oohs and ahhs, too and this year Julio taught us all a game, the objective of which was to make us all drunk. Certainly a night to remember.
Well, Christmas isn't over. There is still New Year's Eve to come and that is always quite fun in our family. Tomorrow, as always we will travel up to León in the north of Spain to spend the evening with Eladio's family. With all his brothers and sisters, their offsprings and boyfriends and girlfriends there will be about 30 of us. The only sad note will be the absence of Eladio's father who passed away in May.
And after New Year's Eve comes "Reyes" or the Feast of the Three Kings on the 6th January. That is when Spaniards traditionally gave and still give their presents. As we love celebrations in this family, we will certainly be celebrating that too.
But meanwhile here are some photos to illustrate this post:
Top left Julio, Fátima and me at Julio's dinner
Top right: My Father, Susi, José Luis + Oli at Julio's dinner
2nd row left: My Father, Susi and me on Christmas Eve
2nd row right: Eladio and his girls on Christmas Eve
centre 1: Susi showing the thongs she got on Xmas morning.
centre 2: Eladio and I on Christmas Eve
Last photo: dear Sam stroking Henry our cat.
All in all a very nice Christmas time.
Cheers to you all/Masha