Winter Holidays

I had a lousy week a while ago. Just after the kids went back to Bellegarde on a Sunday afternoon I got sick with the flu the very same evening. I was totally nocked out for three days in a row and then it took me a week to start firing on all eight cylinders again. Being home alone with a flue was the most depressing days I’ve spent since my girlfriend passed away.

Luckily last week and tA chilly February day in Nyon.his week is the Winter Holidays in French schools so I have had the kids at my place a bit more than three days last week and all of this week. Actually it was only the two small ones that were at my place last week since Jonathan, being at university level, do not get the luxury of two weeks of holiday.

It is called a Winther Holiday but, since none of us are very interested in winter sports, to us is it like any other holiday. We watch movies, play games, go out for some dining and make some excursions.

At Balexert about to watch Black Panther.Yesterday we watched Black Panther in the IMAX salle in Balexert. It was not too bad but it is, not very surprisingly, totally overhyped by the clueless SJW’s. There will come a review soon on my other site.

The forecast said that today should be a sunny day so we had planned to go and have a look in Shilliger in Gland and then go for a walk along the lake in Nyon and have a lunch there. Unfortunately the forecast was way off and it was windy, gray and cold as you can see from the photos attached. Well, it was nice lunch even though it became less of a walk along the lake than I had hoped for.

A chilly February day in Nyon.Tomorrow we are going to make into a resting day with no plans for the day. I suspect a sleep in with a late morning is on the menu…as well as some more movies from my collection of course. Jonathan and I are still kind of binge watching ourselves through my 007 collection. We have just come to the Pierce Brosnan period.

One of my orchids about to flower.Oh by the way. One of my orchids have started to go into flower again. I hope I will have the same success with the rest of them.

I uploaded a few more photos from the last couple of days to my Miscellaneous 2018 album on Flickr.

Well, that was the end of 2017

So that was the end of 2017. This morning I drove the kids back to my ex in Bellegarde so now I have a lonely week ahead of me before CERN opens up again.

New Years Eve DinnerAnyway yesterday me and the kids celebrated New Years Eve with the usual fois gras canapés, new years dinner, fireworks, watching Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde. Oh and of course watching Dinner for One.

I was not too  unhappy with the new years dinner. I made an entrée of scallops on a bed of salad with a pesto sauce and . . . Burgundy snails. Okay now you probably think I have gone bananas but there is actually an explanation. The two young ones are not at all fond of scallops so they got a plate of Burgundy snails, which they do like, and just a few scallops to taste.

New Years Eve DinnerThe entrée was followed by a lamb rack encrusted with a garlic, rosemary and dried tomatoes and accompanied by country potatoes and haricot verts. Not bad at all.

Well I guess now we have to see what 2018 holds in store. It is not exactly going to take that much to make it a better one than 2017.

Spending the time between Christmas and New Years Eve eating…anything but Christmas food.

As usual when Christmas is over everyone wanted to eat anything but Christmas food. It is also days when we mostly sit down and relax. With CERN being closed for two weeks from the 23rd and the kids having school holidays we can do pretty much what we want.

Well, actually I’m not so sure about the sit down and relax bit though. I feel the holiday days go by faster than working days actually.

The day after Christmas day I had booked tickets in Balexert to watch The Last Jedi in their IMAX salon. With a bit of a sleep in, an early lunch, getting there, watching a two and a half hour movie and a huge mess in the parking garage making us spend almost an hour to get out again the day was pretty much gone when we got back.

At Leon de BruxellesThe day after was fairly calm. We went to Leon de Bruxelles to have some french fries and mussels although I had to do some shopping as well.

Yesterday me, Jonathan and Cassandra went to Ornex to buy the fireworks for New Years Eve. Another one of our small traditions. Cassandra did not really care but she wanted to go to the pet shop in Jardiland (despite the fact that she’s been told that we are not buying any more pets right now).

At Au Carnivore in Geneva with the kidsToday I had booked a table at Au Carnivore in the old town of Geneva were we had a excellent lunch. The name of the restaurant is well chosen so it was of course a nice vegan-free lunch. Then we strolled over to the big butcher at the main shopping street and got us some lamb rack and fois gras for New Years Eve (now I have to think about a recipe too).

The afternoon was comparatively calm. Me and JJ had to go and do some quick shopping but we (especially I) finally got to sit down later when we all played some cards. I really liked to play cards as a kid so it is so nice for me that the kids like it to.

Now I am about to go and fix up some Tacos for tonight and then I guess we’ll sample something from my movie library or Netflix afterwards.

Yes the photos are pretty crappy. Indoor photos taken with a phone leaves somewhat to be desired even with a relatively good phone camera (no matter what the smartphone enthusiasts claim).

Christmas classics: “Julbordet” part 1 & 2 followed by “Julklappsutdelningen”.

Well, yesterday it was time for some of the classic Christmas traditions again. This would of course be the Swedish Christmas buffet followed by the handing out and opening of the Christmas presents.

:Julbordet" Part 2As we have been doing the last couple of years we split the buffet into two. One lunch buffet with the fishy stuff and one evening one with the charcuterie and the hot food.

This is the first year were I’ve been making all the food myself. I have to says that I have been quite nervous. Given how difficult it is to get the proper ingredients for a lot of the dishes here in France it’s not exactly like I can go out and buy me some new ones and start over again if I screw up. In addition the critics, that would be my kids, are quite merciless.

:Julbordet" Part 2Luckily it looks like I managed to get everything right. I am quite happy about how the pickled herring turned out. I made three classical ones and experimented a bit with the last one, a lemon pickled herring. The red and brown cabbage, Christmas mustard etc. etc… all turned out quite good. Actually the only thing I was a bit disappointed with was the Christmas ribs. They turned out a bit bland and not “Christmasey” enough.

Well, I’m happy that went well!

JulklappsutdelningWe’ve picked up a bit of an American Christmas tradition as well. “It is not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls from Nakatomi tower”. So obviously we sat down in the afternoon and watched the original Die Hard.

As usual I’ve snapped a few photos which I published to my Christmas 2017 album on Flickr.

Waiting for the kids…

Christmas three in place 2017The Christmas three is decorated. A real one of course. I’m not a religious person but this is where I draw the line. Not having a real Christmas three is my definition of sacrilege. The presents are wrapped up. The Christmas buffet is prepared. I lay awake a good chunk of last night thinking of what I might have forgotten or worrying if it will taste as it should…and missing Carola of course.

Anyway, this morning I did the final cleaning up and now I am having a breather while waiting for the kids to come.

3rd of Advent weekend with the kids.

As usual the closer we get to Christmas the faster the days seems to pass and the faster the days pass the higher the stress levels rise. One would have thought that I would be more at ease this Christmas than the last one. After all, last year I had barely started to recover and I mostly fumbled and stumbled myself through Christmas. If it hadn’t been for the kids I would probably not manage much Christmas at all.

Okay the tragic passing of my girlfriend a couple of months ago hasn’t helped things but this year I at least feel a bit more prepared. That of course also means not only that the plans are more ambitious this year, but that I have no excuses. Well keeping busy keeps my mind of Carola and how much I miss her. That last bit doesn’t always work though.

Well I have almost managed to buy all the Christmas presents and I have started preparing the Christmas food. Yesterday I made the Christmas ribs. One big advantage with the Swedish Christmas specialties is that most of it is old-fashioned food that not only can but pretty much should be prepared in advance.

Christmas Village 2017Last Friday I also put up the Christmas village so it would be there when the kids arrived yesterday. It got extended with one more cottage this year. As usual I took a couple of photos and published them to this years Christmas photo album photo album on my Flickr account.

Anyway, back to the 3rd of Advent and the kids. They came yesterday morning and stayed until this afternoon. Me and Jonathan had just finished a 3 episode sitting of Big Bang Theory when my ex rang the doorbell.

Not very surprisingly a lot of the weekend was spent on Christmas shopping, decorating and movie watching. Me and Jonathan watched the second Bond movie in my box set that I purchased recently, From Russia With Love, as a matinee on the Saturday and finished the day off, together with Timothy, by watching Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. There vill be a review of that one on my Book & Movies site by the way but I can spill the beans right now and tell you that we both liked it.

Well now I’m going to sit down and catch up on my reading .

Christmas market in Lausanne

Today me and the kids went to the Swedish Christmas market in Lausanne to get our yearly fix of Swedish food products for Christmas.

Actually we first went to Balexert in Geneva to do some Christmas shopping and to pick up Jonathan’s vest for his suit. It actually went unusually smooth. Even Timothy found something fairly quickly. Not that this years shopping ordeal is over by any means though. I still have quite a few presents to buy myself and the kids have to buy the presents that they are going to give between them as well.

After that shopping spree we drove to Lausanne. It was a bit of a pain to get there as usual. The drivers in the French speaking region of Switzerland must be among the worst highway drivers in Europe. They constantly hug the left lane and never cares about anyone else.

Once there though it was surprisingly easy to get the shopping done and nothing was sold out despite the fact that we were later than usual. I was afraid that there would be massive queues since we were a bit late but there was almost none at all. Smoked eel, fish (sill), Swedish cheese, elk sausages etc. etc. all went into our bags smoothly.

We even got some real “Julmust”. Normally we buy that at Ikea but since the fucking bean counters ruined the Swedish shops at Ikea we buy less and less. This year Ikea’s own brand of “Julmust” was even more abysmal than their usual surrogate. Everyone, except the unsuspecting foreigners, know that “Ikea’s own brand” is just a rewriting of “We buy at as cheep as possible on the world market”. This years batch must have come from North Korea.

After the shopping we want home for a late lunch. I made some Jambalaya-like stuff on peppers, chicken and Chorizo from the Basque region.

To Timothy’s great despair we went out again after lunch. Well him and me at least. We had to go down to the florist where he is going to do his “stage” later. There were some paperwork that had to be done.

I think this was the busiest Saturday in quite a while. We only had time to watch one episode of The Orville just before Cassandra had booked the TV at 6 o’clock in the afternoon. That was when the free beta of Monster Hunter started on PS4.

Well, at least now I can sit down and relax a bit.