Panier of Plenty

December 2015

Welcome to the visual diary for December…

December 1st. I have just had ‘un stère’ of wood delivered… hopefully enough to last a few months. There is nothing as comforting as having a wood fire burning, and to be able to cook or reheat dishes on top of it, or roast potatoes in their jackets, within. Oak endures the night, burning very slowly and taking the chill out of the air, as temperatures outside drop to around 7°c (at the moment).

Leaves turn yellow

Still autumn

Although January, February and March are usually considered winter months, the trees are undecided and many have yet to shed their leaves.

Reflection in the river

Reflection in the river

Sunday 6th December. When I first started producing diary pages, they commenced with ‘From The Forest’. Moving in to the centre of town, it wasn’t the most obvious title, so I am thrilled to have found the surrounding forest so accessible, on foot. Today I have been exploring new paths and following the river to find a circuit to the lower then upper cascades behind Céret… straight out my door, across town and up the hill…

Deciduous amongst evergreens

Deciduous amongst evergreens

Walking up-river

Walking up-river

Forest floor

Forest floor

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Céret below

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Cascade pool

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Following the river

Riverbed

Riverbed

Carpet of leaves

Carpet of leaves

Cliffs of the valley

Cliffs of the valley

Lower cascade

Lower cascade

Passing a cherry orchard

Passing a cherry orchard

On The Menu

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From the market

Signs Of Winter

The arrival of each season’s offering has always been religiously followed and celebrated, yet now confounds – mimosa, this early?

Usually signals spring's arrival

Usually signals spring’s arrival

Coldest night so far

Coldest night so far, Friday 11th

Sun melting crystals

Sun melting crystals

Visiting the forest

Visiting the forest

Another ‘peculiarity’ this year is the lack of wind. Instead, we have had a sea mist rolling in (essential for the vines covering the rocky terraced slopes that are emblematic of the terroir of Collioure and Banyuls)…

One minute clear

One minute clear

The next, hazy

The next, hazy. Port Vendres

Usually, the holly has berries at this time of the year, yet they seem to be rare and I picked ‘false holly’ instead…

Decorating

Decking the halls

Cut branches in water

Cut branches in water

Fair weather for the festive season

Fair weather for the festive season

Oranges ripening

Oranges ripening

Sunday 20th December. Outside on the terrace as the sun disappears behind the ridge. Apparently we are having the warmest December since 1890. Nature is confused… the hills now covered in blooming mimosa. Iris flowers are three months early!

The weekend has been filled with festivities: Père Noêl giving out chocolates and fruit jellies; a fairy sprinkling magic sparkles; Christmas markets; carol singers; music piped through the town’s speaker system; a children’s parade of lanterns with the goddess Llum, hot chocolate and vin chaud, culminating in the release of flaming floating balloons into the sky at the stadium; free manège rides (a lively carousel); jumping castles; banda; free tastings outside boutiques and bars; a magic show with sculpted balloons for children; a foire gras with traditional Christmas fare…

Festa de la Llum (Fête de la Lumière)

Festa de la Llum, Fête de la Lumière

23rd December. The recent snow on Canigou is now melting to streaks as clement weather continues. We enjoyed a second visit to Perpignan to see the lights and ride the giant wheel, rising above the ice skating rink…

Perpignan canal

Perpignan canal

Banks of canal  lit

A magical evening

Village de Noël

Village de Noël

Fleuriste

Fleuriste

Cathedrale Saint-Jean

Cathédrale de Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Bon Nadal !

Bon Nadal ! Le Castillet

La Grande Roue

La Grande Roue

Ice skating below

Ice skating below

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