Festivities in the Gambia

An 'orphans' Christmas

So Christmas away from home. I miss my family and friends a lot whilst here but at Christmas this seems to be magnified so much that at times I almost had a physical pain in my chest as I was missing my nieces and nephews so much. That said I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me as we did have a fantastic day….

Christmas has always been a very big deal in my house and so along with Jodie, Marney and few others we decided to have a full-on proper family Christmas with those of us that could not be home for Christmas. Jodie did a brilliant job of decorating Pauls house and creating a 'winter wonderland' so we had a fireplace, stockings (in African material of course), a Christmas tree, Santa and the like. (We also kept the air-con on full blast for a convincing winter chill!)

Paul was very sweet and got me a stocking to open on Christmas morning. I opened 1 gift and was amazed that he had got just the same kind of thing that my Mum used to get for me when I was at home. When I opened the second gift I realised that he must have enlisted help from my Mum…there is no way Paul would have bought me a french manicure polish and some stainless steel measuring cups (I’m weird like that!)

For Christmas lunch there were 14 of us for a sit down 6 course meal (of which we managed 5 courses, the 6th we had on boxing day). I did most of the cooking with help from Stew and others but was quite proud when it all turned out okay. We had roast Turkey and all the trimmings in Pauls back garden over looking the ocean. Followed by presents (Thank you for mine x) and then games before heading off to the High Commission bar for an evening party organised by Paul and Jules. Having had 14 bottle of champagne between about 8 of us (thanks mainly to my parents and Marneys Mum) we didn’t need much encouragement to monopolise the dance floor (and the window sill in my case!)

It was a truly great day. Totally British (except the lovely weather) with very few Gambian influences but to be honest, it’s just what I wanted at Christmas.

New Years Eve - Brazillian style

My sister Rachel was here for New Years Eve. Jayne an Australian friend out here hosted a party at her flat with a Brazillian theme. She made Caiprinas so we were sozzled way before 12 but managed to party tillabout 4 am (unfortunately the Caiprinias were with lemons instead of limes as they look so similar here!)

Jules and Rachel made us dresses to wear...well they were almost dresses but made without the aid of any kind of sewing or cutting equipment. It's a miracle but they did survive the night (including Julies midnight swim in the ocean!) Most people didnt really go to town with the dressing up so at least we made the effort. If there had been a prize then Jacqui Q would have won for her bravery in wearing a Carnival outfit for the whole evening.

Roll on 2009!