will it fit?
Can you believe we've never spent a Christmas on our own! Instead we've always chosen to spend the festive period with our families. This year was certainly going to be different with covid infections increasing pretty much everywhere in Europe and the UK so rather than coming together as a family unit we decided that it was sensible and safer for us all to stay apart this Christmas - those hugs and kisses will just have to wait until such a time when this dreadful virus is under some kind of control. Admittedly our hearts weren't in the best place for a while but after we finally accepted the situation our thoughts turned towards what we were going to do for Christmas and the New Year. It was going to be a quiet one regardless given that the Italian government were placing us back into lockdown with the objective of stopping social contact during the festive season.
The whole nation became a 'red zone' from 24-27 December meaning bars, restaurants and non-essential shops stayed closed. People were only allowed out of their home if they had a good reason and it was supported by a written declaration. From the 27 December the nation returned to 'orange' for three days (with shops open and people free to move around their home town, but bars and restaurants remained closed) before reverting back to 'red' on New Year's Eve. This remained in place until Mon 4 January when it reverted back to 'orange' again before returning to 'red' for 6 January, a national holiday in Italy.
Like many other cruisers on the marina, we created our own little 'bubble', in our case with our long term cruising friends Clare and Vic so we welcomed the opportunity to meet for mid morning coffees, the occasional glass of prosecco and lunchtime meals.
a noon lunch with Clare and Vic
Around the grounds of the marina, dozens of planters were filled with huge red poinsettias and a Christmas tree was erected outside the marina office, decorated with red bows, baubles and lights. Along the perimeter of the marina itself circular turfs of grass appeared containing a small conifer tree and red poinsettia. The plaza which always has some kind of festive decoration came alive with a lovely modern light tree that added to the festive cheer.
Several yachts in the marina strung lights up their masts so they looked like sabres, lit up with a varying multicolour display of LED lights, some flashing randomly, others remaining static. As for Flirtie, we laid over 40m of warm white flashing LEDs all along the guard wires and over the gantry making our cockpit look more like Santa's grotto. We decorated the saloon with various colourful baubles and a mix of wooden ornaments. Some decorations were picked up on our travels from La Rochelle (France), Lagos (Portugal) and Cagliari (Sardinia) and stored... little did we know we'd be calling on them now!
We managed to source an oversized Christmas table cloth from one of the supermarkets and cut it to fit the saloon table with the excess material cut to make matching napkins. The only thing missing were crackers, not for the toys or tug of war but for the hat inside - Christmas wouldn't be the same if we couldn't experience the cheap, tight fitting and unruly paper hats that slip off the head no matter what. Bruce's technical skills came to the rescue as he created paper 'napkin hats' utilizing a couple of Christmas napkins folded and sellotaped - they worked really well.
Santa arrived early with two parcels for us! Collected from the office on the 24 December just moments before they closed for the holidays. Thoughtful gifts and delights from the UK that filled our hearts with love and appreciation that we are so lucky to have such wonderful caring and thoughtful families as well as some special cruising friends here in the marina.
As for our Christmas meal, surprisingly we settled on a traditional Turkey with the usual roasted potatoes and vegetables but the turkey size required some thought. Putting aside all the recommended Turkey sizes based on portions we had the added challenge of a small oven. We decided to measure the internal oven dimensions and were able to work out the weight based on the average turkey dimensions so a 3-3.5kg bird was ordered.
Phew, a perfect fit!
Christmas day was more structured than usual because we'd arranged skype sessions with both sides of the family so that they didn't interfere with any of us eating and took into account the time differences. All in all everything went beautifully and we couldn't have wished for a better day given the circumstances. What's more we now know that with a bit of forward planning it's totally possible to cook a small Turkey with all the trimmings in a small boat oven!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!
Much like Christmas, New Years Eve was a quiet one spent drinking possibly one too many glasses of prosecco whilst we welcomed in the New Year and pondered on what challenges lie ahead. For us this marks a very sad day, the day the UK left the EU! Undoubtedly things will get harder for many like us who no longer have the right to move freely throughout Europe. Whilst we are now Italian Residents, we still remain UK citizens but we will always be "Forever European!"