Christmas with the immediate family, despite the fact that it was the coldest Christmas on record, was a beautiful affair filled with crayfish, prawns, moreton bay bugs and pudding (plum or self-saucing chocolate, for people like me who refuse to eat plum). After eating all that I was surprised that I was able to make it up the stairs at the end of the day.
Boxing Day was held in very traditional way, with family and good friends and a barbecue and cricket and cards. Sylvain was made watch Shane Warne make his 700th wicket, although he confessed that he didn't see what all the fuss was about. I told him that I'm Australian and I don't see what all the fuss was about and so it was ok. We weren't going to send him back to France for that.
We visited some of my favourite relatives yesterday - my grandparents and aunt and uncle and cousins. It was only a few hours, but it was very special. My grandparents are two amazing people who I love dearly, I was delighted to see them, and my gran was very happy to see that I'd curled my hair. As a little girl, I would sit on her knee while she licked her finger and tried to curl my dead-straight hair into ringlets using her finger. She would despair to see it fall straight again within seconds. She also thrashed me in 500, but I suspect there was something dodgy going on with the scoring (Sylvain was probably well aware of where his pudding was coming from).
Driving through the country, I was shocked to see the extent of the drought. I knew that it was nearing crisis point, but I simply didn't realise how dreadful it really was. The normally lush green eucalypts looked grey and tired, with bark stripping off the trunks. The paddocks, yellow and brown as far as the horizon and beyond. The consequences are already being felt, and unless some serious rain comes soon, and in the right way, the results are going to be drastic. It was heartbreaking to see my homeland being blown away by the winds of drought.
In any case, I am grateful to be able to spend these moments with the people I care about, although I admit that I'm already fretting a little about having to go back. I do love France, but life here seems so much more laid back and easier. We have just over a week before we get on the plane again, and I wish it would last forever.