Monday, January 02, 2012

Munson Abbey Christmas Special

I certainly didn’t intend to take a week off from the blog but I’ve been nudged enough by a few readers to get back behind the wheel. That’s not to say that I haven’t done anything over the last couple of weeks: if you are on the RSS feed or get my Twitter updates then you may have seen that I’ve been spring-cleaning the darker recesses of the blog from days gone by when time and bandwidth were a greater constraint.

Munson's to Ealing StudiosWhile I work fitfully on thebookoftheblog I’m dusting and polishing specific chapters of my travel years with Bondi as I review them. Graham Robb’s rather wonderful book Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris inspired me to attack the blog posts for our two month stay; so far I’ve done all of February 2006 and while they may not be as shiny as a Downton Abbey teaspoon, there are more photos on display and they’re much easier to view.

Cognoscenti will of course know that Munson’s Cafe is less than five minutes walk from Ealing Studios, so we all know where the Dowager Countess of Grantham is getting her lattés delivered from.

the barn de Sédouprat

Our last jaunt anywhere before Xmas was to a wine-tasting open day at Domaine de Sédoupret located just south of Eauze. Like some of the smaller markets we’d been to through December it was mainly an expat affair, but I saw familiar faces from all over the Gers making me feel a little less like an outsider.

Munson’s presence was an opener for a lot of new people to talk to us and Gustav even managed to connect over a barrel of fire with a neighbour from Sweden whose children go to school with the Munsoneers.

We took in a boarder over the holidays: César an old poodle-cross stayed for 5 days while his owner Dorothy was away. César appears to have Cushing’s Syndrome as Bondi did, but much more advanced and has lost most of the coat from his abdomen. He was a little grumpy and confused at first, but after a couple of nights of unsettled sleep (for everyone!) he got into the rhythm of life at Munson Abbey. The only awkwardness was when any of the kittens came to visit and quickly decided they should make a spitting exit.

Munson & César  Minty & Munson 1Minty & Munson 2  Otto takes the biscuit

The night before Xmas we had the annual show given by the Munsoneers, everything carefully prepared and rehearsed for days before, from the tickets and seating to the bilingual repertoire, and everything carefully falling apart during the show as performers, costumes, dogs and bits of set drifted backwards and forwards in front of our seats. Every time someone changed outfits, Tosca the dog looked through the old outfit for any food that might be found in the pockets. The fourth wall was penetrated every ten seconds – usually by Minty doing a comedy warm-up routine – even when the show was in progress, or looking for somewhere more comfortable to sit, such as a parental lap. It was an incredible leap forward from last year’s play when 2/3 of the cast decided at curtain-up that they all preferred to be kittens rather than whatever roles had been assigned.


After the theatricals we retired to the green room with the performers to supervise their (alcohol-free) fizz.

Post play

Gown of ThronesChristmas Day was another communal affair at the “big house”. Between the seafood platter and Otto’s new Star Wars chess set, one never whether to reach for a prawn or a pawn.

A big surprise for me was unwrapping this quilt that Jean had made. I was just beginning to take in the details when it struck me that some of the fabric looked familiar. “Isn’t this some of my missing sheets from the clothes–line the excess curtain fabric I gave you?” After a few bouts of putting up curtains to give extra insulation, I’d donated all the trimmed sections to Jean to make Xmas toys. Further analysis showed that the “bits of really ugly wool that you least want from your knitting bag” had also surfaced as knotty details. It was a very special gift. The idea was that I’d have something special to rug up in when a-bloggin’ late at night, so it’s actually transformed my office chair into a throne that I can wrap myself in.

The ensuing days were pretty warm, which was a shock to Gustav who’s been programmed to hibernate for days while snow piles up outside the door. There was even  a morning or two where I was out in tank-top to do some gardening, and to try to drag some tree trunks out of the pond. The pond has nearly refilled due to all the recent rain, but the temperature hasn’t dropped very far, so I was able to stand in it for a little while to break off smaller branches that were impeding progress.

2012-01-01 new year sun Munson courts the kittens #2Munson courts the kittens #1

1 comment:

  1. 'Tank top' - TANK TOP??!!
    Are you just pandering to the masses - or have you just been away too long!
    Hope you all had a great Xmas/New Year.
    (And my word verification for this comment was "pandly" - that's what you were doing - being masses-pandly!!)