Christmas is all about family time, to me. The best Christmas we ever had was in 2001, when my whole family plus a few extras came together at my house. We had literally just completed building an extension. Two weeks before Christmas, we still had nothing in the kitchen, not even a level concrete floor, but it all worked out in time for the big day, apart from the floor – the bare concrete was covered with various bits of carpets to try to conceal it and warm the place up. Fifteen of us sat down to Christmas dinner that day, and I think it was one we’ll all remember.
Last Christmas, all of my immediate family once again joined us for the festivities, with my sister-in-law joining us the next day. Of course, things were complicated this time by the fact that the LSH and I were abandoning our guests on the 27th, but we had a good time nonetheless. So good, in fact, that we agreed it was our turn to travel for Christmas next time, and that we’d all go to California – me, the LSH, the daughters & Granny.
We booked our flights way back in June. At that stage, we thought we’d be starting our Year in Provençe in January, so we intended to arrive back in Ireland on the 31st and travel to France via the UK a couple of days later. Plans changed, we’re already in Provençe, so we’ve arranged to fly from Nice to Dublin on the 14th to meet up with the rest of the gang (and there’s the small detail of a family wedding to attend on the 15th, too!) and continue from there to San Francisco on the 16th.
I know that the horses will be well looked after at the Farm, but I was worried about kenneling Cinnamon – she is so stressed out by thunderstorms that I was afraid she might give herself a heart attack if she’s in a kennel environment. Some kind English friends have said they’ll look after her (Phew!) so that just leaves Cookie…
Some internet research turned up a place about 15km away, in between Vachères and Banon. I went and checked it out today. The owner seems ok, and is a real “Dog” man – he trains dogs for hunting and his own dogs were very well behaved and well fed. The facilities are pretty minimal, though – Cookie will have a kennel and a small run. There’s no heating in the kennel, so if it’s cold, she will feel it. Dogs are let out for a run in a large exercise area, which is fenced, but not terribly well, although the owner assured me that he’s never had a dog escape in twenty years! All I want is that she will be kept safe, and will still be there when we get back on Dec 31st, so I think we will ask that she is not let out into the exercise area, and we’ll leave plenty of warm bedding with her.
We can’t do much else, with her “cat” and “escaping” issues it is very difficult to ask friends to look after her, but I know I will be in tears when we leave her there in two weeks time.
Yes, two weeks time. Maybe it’s time to start Christmas shopping!
Here’s a video I’d forgotten about to start setting the Christmas mood – this is Roxy at our house last Christmas, discovering the singing penguins :
By the way, Roxy has just graduated from her training and is now an Assistance Dog with a family in Co Meath who have a son with Autism. I could not be happier – it just seems so right that she has ended up as an Assistance Dog!