We kicked off the Christmas season with a visit to Southwest England to see my boyfriend’s family. He is the biggest Christmas geek I know, so he was really excited to show me England in the Christmas spirit.
And England was in the Christmas spirit. The city center had fake snow and twinkling lights galore. Smiling families posed inside a life-size snow globe to have their portrait taken. Most of our too-short visit was spent running around Christmas shopping and doing other errands, but we did take some time to go up to Exeter to see the Cathedral and the Christmas lights.
Our visit flew by and all too soon we were saying goodbye to Toby’s family, exchanging gifts to stash under the tree until Christmas day. By the time we got home to France, we were itching to decorate the house for Christmas. The first thing we did once we got off the ferry was to put up our Christmas tree and decorations, just in time for the arrival of my Mom and Dad from California.
My parents have bad luck with weather in Brittany. I know Brittany and rain are practically synonymous, but whenever my parents come the weather is exceptionally bad, even by Brittany standards. This Christmas period was no exception: during their visit we had maybe 2 sunny days, but the rest were gusty, rainy, stormy. We lost electricity several times throughout their stay, and running water as well. We didn’t have a white Christmas, but we certainly had a wet one. Small streams turned into small lakes, the canals overflowed, streets were shut down, friends’ houses flooded. Still some hamlets are without running water and electricity.
In France, in lieu of saying ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’, an expression the French find amusing albeit bizarre, they say il pleut des cordes (It’s raining ropes). At this point, Brittany has had more than enough cordes for one winter…
Despite being stuck in doors, we had a ball playing board games, playing music, drinking bottle after bottle of red wine and eating enough to hibernate, all by candlelight.
And when there was a brief respite from the rain, we would walk, walk, walk… All those storms made for some pretty righteous skies. One rainy day blended into the next, until suddenly, it was time for my parents to pack up and head back to California. I’ll never forget the Christmas it rained.