Despite the disappointment of having our flight to Barcelona cancelled (eased considerably by the tapas Shelly’s aunt treated us to in Nottingham…known for its Spanish food, of course), spending Christmas day in Clifton ended up being wonderful, and I imagine a lot more fun than celebrating in my minimalist dorm room in Nantes, comfortable as it may be.
The day was executed expertly, though was much more elaborate than any of my family Christmases, where the guests number no more than three (me, ma, pa). But in Clifton, the plates of cookies and sweets are endless and it was entirely too tempting to grab a tin of gingerbread and head off on your own.
Shelly and I made the gingerbread…delicious, but difficult. Half the measurements were done with the metric system, the other half with some goofy approximation (American ingenuity!). There was no molasses to be found, so we substituted in some treacle. And when we wanted gingerbread man-shaped cookies but had no cookie cutter, we found some cardboard, made a stencil and cut out our own! Success! A Christmas Miracle – which, oddly enough, is what I insisted people call me all day. Yep, the very people who were so kind as to take me in for two weeks. Shelly was the Christmas Gift.