I woke at 6am on Christmas morning. For the first time in my life it was not because I was excited by a visit from Santa but because I’ve taken to walking early in the morning and watching the sun rise. With four dogs in tow.
Barry and I arrived in Vientiane a couple of days before Christmas to start our house sitting for Michael and his lovely family while they headed back to visit family in Switzerland. They showed us the ropes of the house and the animals – two Labradors, two German Shepherds, two cats, one kitten, a peacock, a guinea fowl, fish, rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens. A veritable zoo. Oh, and a car and tuk tuk.
So, when Christmas morning dawned we rose early and headed for some swamp land with the dogs to walk, run and throw sticks. I’ve now taken to watching the ground wherever I go, looking for suitable ‘back-up sticks’ for when one of the dogs leaves them carefully in the weeds along the way. Or decides that’s too early or cold to go swimming, leaving the stick floating forlornly in the lake.
It was strange having Christmas just the two of us, without any of our family around. It did make our morning Marcothon run easier though – no distractions or pressing kitchen matters to see to!
But I didn’t want to let Christmas go by without some of the trappings, namely food.
For the first time in three months I have use of a real, well equipped kitchen so breakfast was a delightful spread of eggs, bagels, bacon and pancakes (because everyone should get their favourite on Christmas morning).
Barry snuck off for a post-Christmas breakfast/pre-Christmas lunch nap (who does that? Christmas naps are supposed to be for after eating and drinking too much.). I Skyped my family in Australia and prepared our lunchtime feast. My nephews have so much energy that it seemed like Christmas in Australia was a bit of a zoo too. It was wonderful to see them all, show them ‘my’ animals and hear about their Christmas day. I really miss my family, especially at Christmas time.
Another first for me, I had to make Christmas lunch. When I’m with my family, the extent of my involvement in the wonderful food that hits the table is usually setting the table, running to the corner shop to buy extra cream, maybe working on dessert. I think I’m pretty lucky. My mum and my sister Melanie are usually in charge of the pork, turkey, ham, roast vegies, greens, Christmas pudding, pavlova and any other dessert that someone takes a fancy to (because everyone should have their favourite on Christmas Day).
But I must have learnt something because our lunch for two of chicken wrapped in bacon, roast potato and sweet potato, greens, French bread, chocolate cake and mango crumble turned out to be pretty good.
After all that food we were very grateful to have four dogs to help us walk off some of the calories.
Merry Christmas everyone.