Après a fantastic weekend with Laurence, it was time to return to the land of les roast beefs. My flight departed à l’heure, arrived early and after une bataille with the e-Passport gates at Manchester airport, I was reunited with ma famille (and a popping candy Freddo grâce à Vicki) which was fantastique!
Monday was occupied by buying Christmas presents à la dernière minute, eating beaucoup de chocolat with Vicki and a Christmas meal with Abi, Alex, Huw, Jordan, Natalie and Sarah. Malgré le fait that we had requested the Christmas menu (a fairly obvious request during the festive period, non?) we were initially told that it was impossible: huge shout-out to Huw for convincing the staff to count all the pommes de terre/ choux de Bruxelles/ carottes [supprimer as applicable] to ensure we could have it! [Les photos qui étaient prises were trop fuzzy so aren’t included ici]
Le lendemain, I took le train to London and met Laurence (et his GoPro stick) at Waterloo. Premièrement, we went to Eyeskate, la patinoire located next to the London Eye. C’était un peu trop child-friendly: squealing enfants were pushing bright orange seals partout. Despite the presence of ces phoques énervants, we had a great time and didn’t fall over!
Ensuite, we bought un chocolat chaud from one of the little cabins, and wandered along Southbank vers the Tate Modern.
En route, we accidentally stumbled upon part of The Paddington Trail – a definite point fort du jour pour moi!
En traversant Millennium bridge we saw another Paddington statue avant d’aller à Somerset House, whose sapin de Noël was much better than the tree (read: twig) found in Trafalgar Square.
After wandering through Leicester Square, taking encore plus de photos and a late lunch, we continued walking towards Hyde Park, pour voir the “Winter [not-so] Wonderland”; je ne suis pas le Grinch, but Hyde Park does not compare to les marchés de Noël here in Alsace. Après avoir vu all the stalls (including one claiming to sell “Mulled Viking Blood”, watch out Mum!) in Hyde Park, we walked back along Oxford Street (bonus Paddington), had another chocolat chaud and a wander around Carnaby Street and headed home. C’était une journée merveilleuse!
Le prochain jour was Christmas Eve: grâce à ma mère this began with a trip to the dentist. After this, Sally, Olivia and I went for une balade near the Candle Factory, before heading back to mine pour quelque chose à manger. Plus tard, I played Articulate (which Mum mistook for Charades) before showing Vicki ‘Les Intouchables’. Comme d’habitude, Christmas Day was filled with opening presents, eating and playing endless board games.
Boxing day chez moi is essentially a replica of le jour de Noël, minus les cadeaux…mais avec la neige!
The following day, après a cancelled train, several delayed trains, one severely overcrowded train and a bag of supplies from Auntie Anne (merci beaucoup!) I made it to Norwich to see Laurence, nine hours after leaving Chester. Hooray pour les trains brittaniques! After plusieurs hugs, a detour via Pizza Hut (Huw, you won’t have to request pizza sans tomate again) and a trip au cinéma to see The Hobbit, it’s safe to dire that all mon désespoir had disappeared.
Le dimanche was spent au centre-ville, searching (avec succès) for a new pair of boots pour moi and a trip to a cute tea room pour boire un chocolat chaud.
On Monday, Auntie Anne and Catherine came to Norwich; c’était une journée fantastique avec eux! We had a waffle pour le déjeuner with Laurence’s mum and sister, avant de faire un tour du centre-ville, including the castle, cathedral and ‘The Bear Shop’.
The next jour, nous sommes allés à Blakeney to see seals! Après a detour via Holt – to a deli named Byfords – we made it to Blakeney…où on a commencé a long walk sur la plage to see les phoques. Une heure plus tard (or perhaps longer than that) we saw two cute, blubbery, seals. Il y avait beaucoup de phoques (most alive, a few dead) on the beach, including one particularly adorable pup. By the time we returned to la voiture, the sun had set et il faisait nuit.
On New Year’s Eve, Laurence and I went back to Chester; tous les trains étaient à l’heure, rather a contrast to the last trajet en train! A group of us pre-drank chez moi and après an entertaining jeu of Harry Potter themed ‘Ring of Fire’, we then encountered une jeune fille who was très pissed on our way into town and things went downhill. Most of us then continued into town, pour fêter le nouvel an.
2015 a commencé with Dad’s birthday, and introducing Laurence to an afternoon of board games…la saison des fêtes is definitely a time of board game obsession chez les Maher. Vicki also kindly (use of ce mot is debatable given the taste) shared her ‘Pigs N’ Taters’ chocolate bar; note to self: never eat chocolate avec un goût of bacon again! The following day, we walked up Moel Famau: c’était une belle journée but le vent was freezing! Any post-Christmas calorie-burning was quickly compensated for by a trip to the pub…
After a breakfast of pancakes with blueberry jam and sauce (grâce à Laurence, one of the best presents ever), a game of MarioKart and a final check of my packing, on est allé à la gare to catch the train to London. We spent the après-midi wandering across Knightsbridge, past les musées and Harrods, across the Thames and up through Chinatown and Soho. After tea and an ice cream (even though il faisait froid dehors) on a passé the evening en regardant Harry Potter.
La majorité d’hier was spent at Heathrow Airport, waiting for our flights. Mine was en retard, so a huge merci goes to the London fog for the delay which meant I missed the last train back to Colmar and had to resort to Plan B.
J’ai passé des très bonnes vacances en Angleterre avec mes proches, thank you for everything! Also, a special thanks to Mum for the slippers, mes pieds are nice and toasty now!
Happy New Year/ Bonne Année!