Bon fete. It’s Christmas time in Provence. We seem to have escaped (so far) the horrifying weather conditions in the UK and USA. However, there is no-one who has not got a story about Gatwick or Heathrow Airports.

Our Christmas was planned to be quiet this year. It’s has been a hectic 2010 and 2011 is shaping up to be just as eventful. A week of doll merchandising and storage organising, left us ready for a great Christmas Eve in Goult.

The 24th December is Charlie the dog’s birthday and the local Goult schoolchildren parade through the streets of the village with candles and the villagers really make an effort to dress their windows – delicately, not brash Father Christmas’s and rearing reindeers.

However, the mistral had other ideas, no outside service, no candle procession and we repaired to Cafe de la Poste to celebrate Charlie’s birthday.

This is what greeted us!

Cafe de la Poste - ready for the Christmas Eve party

A few locals were draped around the bar and the owner, Bernard, told us “cinq minut” (literally meaning you have five minutes then get out!). Two and a half hours later, we were all there, the chairs were down and the village was a-partying. Even Bernard was seen to be quaffing the occasional glass of bubbly!

Birthday boy and his mother enjoying their champagne

Marcello (right) and Alma start to negotiate longer opening hours with the host

Christmas Day was an 80kmph mistral and with Alma and Charlie at a loose end we kicked off with foie gras accompanied by some delicious Beaumes de Venise sweet wine and then the piece de resistance – the Chapon.

The foie gras

Nicely rested - ready for preparation

All dressed and ready for the oven

3.5 hours later, out of the oven. Clementine's peeping out.

Carved and ready to go

(We’ll go into more detail of the Chapon’s heritage in a post later this week. It’s impressive.)

Boxing Day reversed the quiet trend. Denise and Keith from Louramin/Cape Town along with Jan, Clive and Catherine from Menerbes/London came for lunch at 2.30. We bade them a reluctant good-bye at 8.

Suffice to say, the only pictures we have of the lunch is the famous aubergine, courgette and tomato wheel centred with a full head of garlic.

The dish....

The doll cabinets are full. There’ll be plenty of posts about them but here’s a sweetener.

Miniatures, miniatures

Au bientot: Lovonne and Simon.xx

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