Christmas is well and truly on its way now that Marché de Noël season is here. Our local village of Nouzerines had its marché today. As usual there was a small service autour de la crèche (around the creche) in our wonderful old, but very cold, church, St Clair’s. The theme was a little ambitious this year I thought. In previous years we’ve had wool and lamps and bread, but this year it was the work of Secours Catholique. There was a certain something lost in translation. I thought I’d understood what Stéphanie, my namesake with an accent who organises this ceremony every year, had told me, but clearly not. The other kids turned up with dolls wearing national costumes of countries where Secours carries out its valuable work.

National dolls and santons

We turned up with a flag of Montenegro and a fake aluminium ingot to represent the metals the country exports! Oops.

It was a nice occasion with singing and prayers but no candles, which was a bit of a disappointment. There’s always been the added excitement of wondering which child will be the first to set fire to themselves or their hymn sheet. Rors has come close most times.

This year's particpants. Rors is far right.

As ever, it’s a shame it wasn’t better supported as it’s a gesture towards appreciating the real meaning of Christmas.

We browsed round the marché and picked up some last-minute pressies which I can’t tell you about as they’re destined for certain family members who read this blog. Suffice it to say they’re unusual and lovely. The Salle des Fêtes was superheated and since we’d wrapped in our warmest clothes for the walk down and a half hour in the very chilly church we quickly started to melt, so we didn’t stay very long.

We left before Père Noël appeared as he was running late – as normal! But we did see his awaiting carriage and chien de Noël.

The only other thing that was missing was the snow. It’s a very cold but very grey winter so far although I’m sure our snow will be here before long.