I have just returned from a Christmas holiday divided into two. The first part was spent in a manor near Pont-l'Évêque, Normandy. We left London in the snow and arrived at the Eurotunnel believing that we would be able to catch our train without any problems. The Eurostar had been making headlines with its vain endeavours to reestablish transport as normal following the 18th December debacle, but when I checked Eurotunnel’s website on the morning of our departure no delays were announced. In our clearly optimistic and festive mood we sleepwalked toward disaster: 5 hours in the cold before we could embark with the car. A farce. But I had my sister and her zeal for entertainment to keep me company. We gossiped and talked about various subjects such as international affairs, the environment and … I’m joking! The global picture is more “sex, music, food”, Avatar and fighting over my husband’s iPhone to play a Parra game. By the time we’d all finished dissecting the latest Hollywood blockbuster (my sister wants to live on Pandora and hold hands with fluorescent crusty Camden Town dreadlocked creatures in a trance, my husband took a keen interest in the blue cat girl and I laughed at all the hippie crap) we’d arrived! We had a magical time. Good food, which is what France does best, walks in the countryside, mini explorations of Deauville and Trouville, Scrabble, roaring fires and great books.