Firstly let me wish each and everyone of you a very happy 2010, I hope you've had a smashing Christmas and are ready to throw yourselves into 2010 with gusto. Today is 12th night so with just a small hint of resistance, I have taken down the decorations, said goodbye to them for another year and laid them to rest in their bubble wrap beds. We still have a few remnants of the festive season left - large jugs of holly and ivy still adorn the mantle piece and I am supplementing the builders lunches (work on the barn has recommenced) with chocolate tree decorations. We're working our way through the remaining mince pies and Christmas cake and Eddie (my cat pictured with Mark) has helped by cleaning the plates of brandy cream. So, what of our first Christmas and New year in France? The simplicity and sincerity of the village decorations touched me. The warmth and hospitality of our friends and neighbours was all we could ever ask for. We noticed that the French are not big on sending Christmas cards but make up for this by sending New Year wishes. Their cards are still sitting next to the holly above the fire and are filled with wishes for our good health, dreams come true and happiness. Our elderly neighbour M. Guillot went one further and wished us 'love'. I have never been wished love before and, after a moments reflection, Mark confirmed that he hadn't either. What a lovely thing to wish upon someone else. So, to friends, family, blog readers and strangers - I wish you all you wish for yourself and, above all else, I wish you much love.