Monday, December 21, 2020

France Trivia Advent Calendar day twenty-one, Marie Curie

French Village Diariess France Trivia Advent Calendar day twenty-one Marie Curie
Advent day 21 a sparkling rosé and a biere blanche

Advent day twenty-one, Monday 21st December 2020


Winter solstice.

The arrival of the shortest day and the knowledge that from now on the hours of daylight will slowly increase, gives us much more reason to celebrate than Christmas, and last night we enjoyed our special solstice eve meal, which is the closest we will get to a traditional Christmas dinner. 


This morning we were up early, hoping to see a spectacle of colours as the sun rose, promising us that the dark days will become light. Just after eight o’clock, the sky began to lighten, but when the official sunrise of 8h40 arrived, there wasn’t even a hint of pink or orange to break up the grey. I think today must be one of the gloomiest days of winter so far and I couldn’t settle to anything, apart from soup-making. 


I don’t think I can claim another December recipe challenge victory for last night’s meal, as although I’ve never cooked guinea fowl before, I just did exactly what I’d do with a whole chicken. However, as the challenge was to drag our meals away from what had become routine, it did at least count as something new. 

French Village Diariess France Trivia Advent Calendar day twenty-one guinea fowl
Guinea fowl ready to cook in the slow cooker


I slow cooked the bird on a bed of leek tops, carrots and turnips with a little rosé wine and then served the meat on a Christmas vegetable risotto, and it tasted delicious. There is enough meat left for tonight’s dinner and the carcass was boiled for a stock, which along with the cooking vegetables and liquid, plus some other bits from the fridge, made a tasty soup for this week. 



The news at the weekend that there is a new strain of the virus in the UK and that all of our family over there are now in the Tier 4 category, seemed to come out of nowhere. Just to compound things, two of our close family members, who live in London, have had positive test results in today, having had coughs last week. They assure me they aren’t feeling too bad, but all this has meant their plans for Christmas have had to change. 


The world seems to be descending into a madness we could never have imagined a year ago. France (and most of Europe) has closed its border with the UK, we are living with an overnight curfew, and the more I focus on these statements the more it feels like things are spiralling out of control. It is way scarier out there now than it was back in March, but at least from today it is onwards and upwards and I can look forward to longer days, the arrival of spring and the strength the sunlight gives me to remain positive in a mad world.


Our Christmas greeting to you

Ed’s latest music video, his take on Lonely this Christmas, which I think is a pretty apt choice for this year, is now up on YouTube. All being well he won’t be lonely this Christmas, as he’ll be with his girlfriend, who he hasn’t seen since the end of October. The poor thing has been cooped up with his mad parents for almost two months and if you do decide to watch this video, you will see just how bonkers we are. 


This is our Christmas greeting to you all, wherever in the world you are and however you are celebrating this year. Thank you for following our French village adventures, and liking, sharing and commenting on my posts. Happy Christmas.


France Trivia advent calendar, day twenty-one, Marie Curie (1867-1934)

It was on this day in 1898 that French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium, so it seemed fitting for them to be todays’ French trivia. Marie was born in Poland, studied in Paris, where she met Pierre and became a naturalised French citizen. She was the first woman to win a Nobel prize, the only woman to win one twice and the only person to win one in two scientific fields (physics and chemistry). They shared the 1903 Noble prize in physics for their pioneering work in radioactivity and during the First World War she developed mobile radiography units to provide x-rays to field hospitals. Pierre and Marie also shared a passion for long bicycle trips and as the saying goes, the couple who cycle together, stay together. 

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