January 4th 2009
Happy new year campers. Well, where to start, it's been so long. Firstly, the house. Finally, finally the ground floor is finished, windows are in, floor is laid, kitchen is in and life is good. The final stages weren't without problems (breaking down in my friend Wayne's borrowed truck on the way back from the window shop and being stranded in the middle of the highway as cars sped past me was a lowlight. Luckily four burly gardeners helped push me out of danger while Wayne came down to rescue me as Iain was oblivious at Nice airport, sitting in the executive lounge eating peanuts waiting for his flight to the UK). There were more handle issues, as the funky red kitchen arrived with big silver handles rather than integral handles, do I sound obsessed by handles? A compromise was reached and we got 1000 euros back for the mistake, thank you Santa! At last we have light and a house that doesn't resemble a derelict shack.
Our first Christmas here has been lovely, if a bit rushed as we dashed to London to do a rellies present swap and catch up with everyone just as the kitchen fitter was finishing, then returned home a day and a half before Christmas to straighten everything out, unpack, buy a turkey, you know the score. We were invited to Christmas Eve drinks at a neighbours and stood in warm winter sunshine on their terrace, sipping mulled wine and chatting til early evening. By Christmas morning, after late night last minute wrapping of pressies and munching of Santa's mince pies (Issy is still a BIG believer, have not yet worked out whether this is because she thinks she won't get anything if she lets on she has wised up) I was cream crackered but at least we had the prospect of Christmas lunch at our friends Norma and Tony's half an hour away. Which was lovely.
I really love Christmas but so often it's ruined by bad behaviour (not just talking the kids here) feeling duty bound, guilty or just running around like a crazy thing for two or three days on end and then collapsing in a stupor once it's all over wondering why you bother. This year was chilled, with lots of champagne, laughter, charades and good friends. The guilt factor being that I wasn't with my extended family but I did see them a few days before. . .
Onto the celebrity wedding....Amanda Holden's to be exact, at Babington House near Bath. Guests included Mick Hucknall, F1 drivers David Coulthard and Jensen Button (too good looking for his own good), Piers Morgan ( my ex-boss at the Sun) and various actors from Coronation Street, Cutting It, Noddy Holder and little ole me! The bride looked fabulous and showed off her silver Ugg boots underneath the dress, as it was FREEZING, everyone danced and despite my plus one guest Sarah telling best man David Coulthard that his speech went on a bit and trying to change the music at the reception, it all went swimmingly. Interesting to be on othe other side for once as a guest and not a reporter.
New year is a time for retrospection as well as looking forward and these are my thoughts ....
* That I really miss my friends and family in the UK, guess that will never change
* That I don't miss the UK AT ALL, I couldn't wait to get on the plane back to Nice
* How lucky that we have already met so many people here, and while some will stay acquaintances, a few are already shaping up to be really good friends, the kind you can drink too much with, loosen your tongue and not worry about what you said the following day.
Well, I was supposed to be ironing and catching up on chores tonight as my lovely brother Justin and his family have just gone home after five days here with us. We partied with a houseful of friends to Barry M's Copacabana on New Year's Eve, the kids even danced with their parents (We think we're quite cool but they don't) then we skied our socks off and rounded it off in Monte Carlo today. The house is eerily quiet now they have left, saying goodbye is always the worst part as I never know when I'm next going to see them all.