Luckily we were able to fly from Dublin to London and London to Boston with no trouble from the weather, apart from a rather shocking landing at Boston airport in thick fog which me and, I think, the pilot were both surprised by. But we got there and G did an amazing job of driving us from Boston to VT in challenging conditions. J found the airport lounge a revalation and was determined to earn back as much as he could from the over weight baggage charge in free food and drinks from the lounge.
The first few days in Quechee, Vermont were spent busy preparing for the Christmas feast for 20 people. This involved going to Pricechopper, my favourite supermarket in America! It’s enormous and has the best selection of bagels in one location I have ever seen! I miss it already! I also baked the desserts for Christmas day and figured out how I could make suet-free mince pies with some rather nice brandy from brother barman (thank you!). I also got to hang out with my nieces, cook with them,teach them backgammon and too quickly how to win backgammon against me.
Uncle B was kind enough to drive us all around to get our last minute shopping done and spend some quality time with I & L at 5 Guys burgers! Yummy food and free refills!
Christmas day was a stunning sunny day in Quechee! Started off at B’s with some food prep for later and then we all piled in the car over to J’s for bagels, coffee and present opening with the rest of the family. I love J’s house, it perches on top of a hill with the most stunning views, especially in the snow, and it lets in fantastic light. It also helps that she has decorated it beautifully and everywhere you turn there is something interesting. So it is the best possible place to hang out with your family on Christmas day and open gifts. Highlights for me of Christmas morning were the awesome bagels kindly provided by J, B’s hilarious wrapping of my christmas present (the only one he had to wrap himself), watching my nieces open their presents and how excited and thankful they were for all their gifts, L’s face when she saw the painting I gave the A family of their two dogs, the beautiful and generous gifts I received (especially my necklace and desk diary), it must be said that my nieces have very good taste!
I made us all laugh when she decided to open her presents behind the sofa and we only her her squeals and screams of delight and her tiny feet flailing in the air.
I was so excited to give the A’s our gift which was a painting of their beloved two dogs which my extremely talented friend painted as she has recently started a business doing pet portraits. I gave her a picture of the dogs from FB and she captured them beautifully, she is a very talented artist ( you can see the painting here http://alicecreateart.wix.com )
The morning was finished off with a rather competitive game of Bopit followed by an even more competitive table tennis tournament. B managed to get the highest score of the day on Bopit and despite E’s best efforts B also came out victorious at table tennis!
J and I decamped back to the condo to cook Christmas dinner. The menu was a 30lb turkey, roast and mashed potatoes, honey glazed roast parsnips, mashed potatoes, J’s mum’s stuffing, carrots, brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce. One rather substantial duck-fat-induced oven fire later, we were cooking on just the small top oven for cooking and food warming. We managed to serve everything (except the sprouts which I later discovered I had put in the microwave to keep warmer) mostly on time and hot, but maybe not to the exact standard that I may have liked. I have definitely learned that the finesse of cooking can easily disappear when cooking such a large meal for that many people; cooking becomes catering! Thanks for your help A I don’t know how you do it!
It was so wonderful to have all the family together at the condo and it was very kind of B host us all and of A to provide all the chairs, tables and tableware from the Inn. I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas because I loved it!