merry christmas … for some

Many will have returned from spending Christmas with family, full of stories of how stressful the whole experience had been … putting up with grandad who’s losing his marbles, or the interfering in-laws, or in my case a precocious 5 year old nephew who wanted nothing more than to play with his cousins, but was frustrated when he was not in control of the gameplay – typical ‘only child’ behaviour, I suppose. But these little inconveniences are simply inconsequential when you reflect on the plight of those affected directly or indirectly by the Aceh earthquake and ensuing tsunami in S E Asia.

I find it humbling beyond words to sit through news report after news report, watching the death toll rise and feel totally paralysed about the prospect of more suffering and deaths if aid and disease control are not affected in time for these pitiful people. If there is a god, he should be listening to answer their prayers now …

This Christmas, my sis-i-l got a puppy as a pressie – a golden retriever with the peculiar name of Giger, named after HR Giger (of Alien fame) who was a favourite of her late brother. Here he is with J1 – isn’t he just the cutest thing?!

When we were not watching the news or being wound up by said child, we pottered about Dublin even venturing to the end of the red Luas (say loo-us) line to the shopping mall at Tallaght. Great tram, but the experience of the less than salubrious parts of Dublin (for example, there is absolutely nothing mansion-like about Fatima Mansions), is something that most of us can forgo 😉

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bonjour de paris …

There are signs and there are omens: when bmi announced the cancellation of the flight I was supposed to be on, you know the start of your holiday is going to be trying. And when a twitchy middle eastern looking bloke sitting in the next seat insists on filming the cabin area and runway with his camcorder during take off (despite numerous warnings from the air stewardess to stop), I automatically assumed the emergency position and got ready to give my arse the proverbial goodbye kiss. So imagine my relief when said gentleman ordered beer for refreshment – well, I was simply working from the principle that no self-respecting suicide bomber would resort to a bit of dutch courage before doing whatever it is that they do… I was in Paris … again, this time as a tour guide to J’s family which included one sick child. Poor little devil was leaking from both ends! Which made it difficult to do much sight-seeing but enough to catch the Eiffel tower and the magical sight of the giant glass balls, part of the Swiss exhibition at the Place Vendome.

On Wednesday evening, David and I went to a wine tasting/dinner event at Philippe Cordesse’s Le Bistrot a Vin at La Defense. The esplanade was also host to a large Christmas market and naturally, we proceeded to whet our appetites with some tartiflette, washed down with a very nice glass of vin chaud, which cleared my sinus sufficiently for me to be able to enjoy the rest of the evening where we were very fortunate to have the wine producers present to give us a guided tasting (prompted naturally with Philippe’s pet sommelier and partner in crime) of a Alsace Rielsing, a Mersault, a lovely Pic St Loup from Languedoc, a divine Gevrey Chambertin, plus others that I cannot remember, for obvious reasons! We were also in great company which included a lovely girl called Soad (whom David couldn’t keep his eyes, or hands off!) and her boyfriend, the finance director of SFR, who coincidentally went to the European Business School with J-G Prat from Cos – a very enjoyable evening indeed, which was good because the next day, my cold broke and I spent most of it in bed 😦

Paris is lovely, but not when you’re sick …

not so chic …

When an errand brought me to London, I took the opportunity to coast the West End … and found myself locking horns with other crazed Christmas shoppers on Oxford Street. So I turned off down New Bond Street and scanned the haute couture outlets … which let’s face it, just doesn’t have the style and elegance of the Ave Montaigne. Anyway, I made a note to check this out next week when I’m playing tour guide to J’s mum, sis and hubby who are on a shopping spree in the City of Lights. Then, back for another week at work before we take off to Dublin for Christmas. And in early January, I’m Malaysia bound to attend a couple of weddings. Ummmm, not sure what I’ve done to earn these liberty passes from J and the kids, but hey I’m not complaining 😉