Posted by: Sam Olsen | December 27, 2011

Chinese Christmas

Well, we had a lovely first Christmas out here. For Lawrence and me, the first we’ve spent outside the UK. We experienced No Room at The Inn on Christmas Eve when we went along to the Christingle service at the local church (St. John’s Cathedral). Standing room only, except there was no standing allowed so we were all dispatched outside to watch it on a large screen as though we were D list royals at Will’n’Kate’s wedding. Actually it’s the best way to attend Church with Lawrence i.e. he can run around freely and poke at the grass (not a familiar substance to him), knock small Chinese kids over and screech loudly. 

We came home to prepare for our Christmas Eve traditional extravaganza. We had six people coming for dinner, and served up a Norwegian-Wiltshire spread of cold fishy items for starter, including Ikea’s finest rollmops, and the now-familiar fresh prawns that Tessie insisted on boiling alive shortly before the guests arrived. For the main course an enormous ham, with spuds and red cabbage in true Petchey tradition. The dessert was a slight let-down. A breakdown in communication between Sam and Tessie-as-sous-chef, which resulted in rather a creamy, salty, rice risotto. I certainly don’t blame Tessie, who has 30-odd years of rice cooking experience and back home eats it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Christmas Day dawned early, Lawrence was delighted with his stocking and relieved not to have encountered Father Christmas I am sure. We had ham and eggs for breakfast (in fact we have been eating ham every meal since then), and set out for more church. It was a bright, warm day. Sam and I regretted our Christmas jumpers. Especially as mine kept fluffing all over the man next to me in church and making Lawrence cough. Then, to the Peak, for our lunch reservation at The Peak Lookout, a swiss-chalet style building, with more Chrissy decs than you can imagine. As we tucked in to rather meagre portions of turkey (four sprouts each though), the Chinese family next to us devoured chicken tikka masala and naan bread. Bit surreal. Father Christmas then DID turn up, and Lawrence couldn’t really escape this time. Plus he wanted the free gifts that came from Santa’s sack. To walk off lunch, we headed down the Morning Trail, a gently winding path (from the downhill perspective-  coming up is blooming steep!). Lawrence walked for 800m, falling quite a few times, and stepping in his first dog poo. Momentous day! 

Boxing Day was a similar blend of old traditional and strange Asian twist. We had the requisite walk and ‘pub lunch’ (actually the Rainbow seafood restaurant for chilli crab and clams), on Lamma Island with the lovely Cooke family and their friends, who brought along two lovely dogs. Lawrence very happy despite his snotty nose getting lots of licks from Brandon the golden retriever.   Back home we opened the rest of all our lovely presents, and settled in for an evening reading some of our super new books including the excellent Highway Rat which was given to Lawrence by Aunty Cath and Uncle Jez. 






  1. Just commenting on behalf of Mags-the-Mother-in-Law; no, it was not the first Christmas you spent outside the UK Anna-Louise. You also spent two very snowy Christmasses in upstate New York when you were a toddler. Forgetful. Is that a symptom of SARS?

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