My second eldest daughter was due to come over from England with her family the day before Christmas Eve, and we wanted everything to be perfect for their visit. Our first priority was to buy the biggest Christmas tree we could find so that it wouldn't look lost in our large salon. The ceiling height was not far short of 5 metres, so finding a tree that big was no easy task. The local garden centre managed to come up trumps and delivered the tree, but that was the easy bit-- getting it into position and securing it was tricky! In the end Alex found a large metal hook and he went up a ladder and managed to screw it discreetly into one of the beams-- so he was then able to rope the top of the tree to the hook, hiding the rope under a cloud of tinsel!! HOORAY!
It worked a treat! and this is the finished decorated tree- sorry the picture is not too clear......
By the time the weary travellers arrived all was ready and we felt quite festive as we sat around the crackling log fire, catching up on all the news. My daughter Victoria and her boyfriend were at home as well so we had lots tales to swap. The dogs snoozed away happily and, for once, didn't hog the fire!!
That's Rocky on the left, and Axle curled up on what was their sofa! I KNOW! Yes I did spoil them a bit :)
Christmas Eve Morning arrived , and I was up early as I had to turn out the horses into their field. I looked out of the window and - MAGIC- it had snowed quite thickly in the night! Could you believe that? Perfect for our first Christmas!
Christmas Eve was spent singing carols with the children and grandchildren who were getting really excited about the visit from Father Christmas. They were finally persuaded to go to bed after placing their pillow cases near the fireplace.
In order for Father Christmas to visit a certain amount of presents had to be arranged -if you know what I mean. One of those presents was a Barbie Castle for my young grand -daughter and her Dad thought it would be great if he assembled it then, instead of having to do it in the morning, and she would be able to play with it straight away! That was a good idea, but throwing all the cartons onto the fire after he had assembled Barbie turned out to be BAD idea!!!!
The first sign of a problem was this awful roaring noise-- we all listened and wondered , then Alex suddenly said " OH NO" and rushed out into the garden........ Oh dear- the chimney was on fire, flames were pouring out of the top ; you must bear in mind that this was Xmas Eve and it was nearly midnight, so you can imagine what sort of response we got when we had to phone the fire-brigade! Midnight on Christmas Eve is the time that the french exchange their presents!
We were lucky that night -- they sped to our rescue in true film fashion, but given the height the chimney reached to, they had a difficult job in getting the fire under control, as you can imagine. Bu what a great lot of chaps they were though, they laughed and worked well and had a good tot of whisky before they finally left.
We wearily cleaned and mopped up and , finally exhausted but happy, crawled into bed! Yes, as I said , we will NEVER forget our first Christmas at La Roche Hue!