I've just got home from Christmas with the folks. It was quite a good holiday this year - mum turned out a great meal every night, including doing the turkey the brine-soak method which worked really well. I'd first heard this method from an American friend, where you soak the turkey overnight in really really salty water, and then it cooks quickier and juicier (never had a failure yet). I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this to mum before, but this year Nigella Lawson (UK TV cook) had described it, so of course it was now acceptable.
The Eurostar back was interesting - the general feeling of a journey totally depends on when you're travelling. For this trip, it seemed mostly french and british expats returning home - not many tourists at all. The train struggled on the UK side, and the announcer took great pleasure in explaining it was the British network at fault. A guy sitting near me practically exploded with smug indignation at this, and was probably a bit disappointed that an anti-british food comment couldn't have been worked in (train delayed to pork pies on the track perhaps). He seemed to take great pains to do this when the announcement was being said in French, although I'd already clocked him for being definitely not-french. I assume he must be an uber-francophile of some kind.
More signs of it being a french dominated train were seen at the boarding, with what can only be described as near panic as people tried to board quicker than everyone else. People wheeled their giant cases up and down the isle, bouncing anyone else out of the way, before re-wheeling them back again against the frantic traffic. At one point two little boys fought each other all the way down, screaming at the top of their voices. Their mother called after them, calling them her petits chatons (kittens), an odd expression for boys, and with my poor french it could equally have been petits châtains (chestnuts), or more likely petits shits (shits).
Getting off the train was the same as boarding - you could easily have assumed there was a fire further down the carriage (if it wasn't for the fact that once off the carriage, everyone stopped in front of the door to adjust luggage, coats and petits shits). The earlier mentioned francophile did a wonderful job of hurdling several suitcases before being finally repelled by a fur coated octegenarian (experience counts). Inwardly I'm sure he was still very happy at becoming a naturalised Parisian, while externally he managed his well-practiced french tuts and huffs - very impressive, hopefully if I get to be like this one day, I'll have sufficiently good enough friends who will shoot me.