30 December … last day together for a year!

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As everyone had different plans for New Years it turned out that 30 December was our last night together as a family so we decided to make it my birthday dinner. After a lot of deliberation I was sick of trying to sort something out to suit everyone so in the end I delegated everyone jobs and we ate at the apartment. Jack was on wine, John, Daisy and Joe were on cheese, salad and dessert and Till and I were on mains. Till and I had a bit of trouble finding something suitable. We had been at Galleries Lafayette food hall and bought great chinese dim sum etc but were still a bit stuck. By the way I am never going to Galleries Lafayette ever again … it is a nightmare and not worth the hassle.

We eventually ended up in the Marais and ran across this lovely guy at a street side oyster stand who shucked 4 dozen oysters for me. Perfect! Andrew joined us for dinner as well which was great.

I had a lovely night … everyone did a great job with the food and drinks. There were beautiful flowers and we could all rela

x and chat without feeling stuffy or being interrupted. It was the perfect birthday celebration for me.
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The next day Lala arrived … Jack Makim’s beautiful girlfriend. It is always such a delight to spend time with this lovely young woman.

After my birthday celebration I was slightly hung over … even though it was actually a fairly tame night.

I did manage to go for a walk in the afternoon to my favourite art shop where John and I met up with Jack, Sarah and Marto who had been wandering around this area.  Sarah loved it … I knew she would. Then we met up with Daisy and Joe and they all headed off for the night together. They ended up going to an all night party on a barge. They all loved it.

After we left them we ran into Till and Lala … small world … and walked home with them. I couldn’t stay awake but set my watch for midnight so that I could look at the Eiffel Tower. As it turned out it did nothing! I was devastated … apparently the fireworks were out of the Arc de Triumph! Ha. Till and Lala went down to the Champs de Mars thinking that the Eiffel Tower would be alight as well. They still enjoyed the atmosphere.

New Years day Jack and Sarah caught a flight to Istanbul.  They enjoyed their time there but they got really unlucky with the weather as it was really cold and snowed!  Not the norm for Istanbul.  Marto moved over with us until we left on 4th.  He headed off to Chamonix to go skiing and to meet up with 60 Australian friends.  Big party there as you can imagine. The night before he left Marto gave me the most thoughtful and lovely birthday present.  He had actually been travelling with us when I started the walk last year.  The first night of the walk we stayed in a lovely vineyard and he took great photos of the sunset.  Anyway he had one of the photos lacquered and framed for me.  It is the perfect size as he planned that it be a piece of art for the van.  I was thrilled with it.  You scored mega points Marto!

Lala stayed with us until 3rd.  Daisy and Joe flew to Stockholm on 2nd for a few days.  They got lucky with the weather … it was only -2 and even though they had very little daylight they really loved Stockholm.  From there they caught an overnight ferry to Helsinki.  They also got lucky with the weather there as it had been -15 but when they got there it was only -2.  They enjoyed Helsinki but their favourite by far was Stockholm.

After arriving into London by Eurostar on Sunday 4th January John and I headed straight down to Woking were we had arranged a housesit for several months.  We only stayed there for three nights to check it out and make sure everything was safe and ok … as we had another housesit for friends in Kensington.  Not really a housesit … they were just kind enough to give us their beautiful house for three weeks.  Margaret (nee Delamothe) and Jonathon Mervis headed off on holidays and we moved in.

We moved in on 7 January and we celebrated John’s birthday that night.  I cooked dinner and Till, Hooz and Lal came over for dinner.

It was perfect for us as Jack and Sarah came back through London the next night and could stay with us.  Once again I cooked dinner and Till and Hooz came over.

As Jack and Sarah had a night flight we spent the morning at Portobello Road Markets.  Sarah had a great time … she bought some great things … one summer dress that I loved and a great coat.  I even managed to find something … my first vintage buy … even if it did still have the original price tag on it.  A beautiful red cashmere jumper with black bows on the back for 20 pound … the original price tag was for 125 pound.  I was pretty impressed … and of course after washing it … have worn it to death.

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Then the next day Daisy and Joe arrived for a week.  It really was perfect.

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