This year I am determined to be more aware of the passing of time. Last year birthdays, anniversaries, public holidays, all the times when I would celebrate with family or friends passed without note. The year was punctuated by the changes between lighter restrictions and more serious lockdowns. The seasons passed but nothing changed.
Starting in January I intend to make the most of the dates which offer a chance to celebrate and think about the places that are connected, in my mind and memories, to these places. The first is Burns Night, on 25 January; I plan to have haggis, although there won’t be a piper leading it into the room or any fuss. It’s good cold weather food.
The Scottish connection reminds me of Loch Torridon, a beautiful hotel which we will return to in better times. It is a gloriously remote and wonderful place, where I remember watching the Highland cattle wander down to the Loch and eat seaweed. The whole experience is about getting away from your average day to day life and staying somewhere special. And the haggis connection? Well, I peeked at the breakfast menu and you can even have haggis as part of your fried breakfast with other Scottish delicacies such as Lorne sausage and potato scones. Luckily haggis is available anywhere; Lorne sausage and potato scones are regional so they will have to wait.
February abounds with festivals starting with 2 February and Chandeleur, the French pancake festival. I think about the creperie in Wimereux, always busy, offering simple and hearty food. The menu has a lot of savoury pancake choices, but also tartines which I thought would be be a smaller dish.
As you can see I was wrong.
For a pancake lover like me, February is a double treat as Chandeleur is followed by Shrove Tuesday on 16th February. Normally this would be a chaotic family pancake tossing session, but this year, we will all be making pancakes separately at home.
Chinese New Year is celebrated on Friday 12th February, so we will be starting that weekend with a takeaway. My travel thoughts don’t run to China at this time, but much closer to home, a visit to Calais, to ride on their wonderful mechanical Dragon that travels along the sea front. I have only seen this online so far and l have to wait until I can visit it in person.
Right now, the weather might be grim and cold, but we have plenty to celebrate.