Returning home this week reminded me how much I appreciate Christmas in England.
There’s certainly plenty to write to home about Christmas in Corsica; strolling around in a t-shirt in December, not having the car de-icing ritual every morning and avoiding weaving through Christmas shopping crowds.
But being a secular country, Christmas in French schools seems little austere without festive decorations or nativity plays; I couldn’t help feeling a little nostalgic for shepherds dressed in old sheets and the child who doesn’t want to be a camel.
And as for the food, it was perhaps unfortunate that I decided to try a traditional winter Corsican meal 3 hours before a very twisty three and half hour road trip to Ajaccio. From now on, I can only associate figatelli, sausage made with pork liver, fried egg and chestnut pate with holding my breath round every sharp bend to try and keep the waves of sickness at bay.
Taking in a panoramic view of London as I landed at Heathrow gave me goosebumps. An awash of Christmas lights illuminated the urban landscape adorned with iconic landmarks and a flurry of cars circulating crossing bridges and roads.
So for the next few days I will be making up for lost time and soaking up Christmas in England to the max, starting with my fist mince pie of the year, better late than never I suppose. And like it or loath it there will be no escaping the likes of Slade or the gin-soaked lament that is “Fairytale of New York” playing in every high street store.
After getting home from a last minute Christmas shopping trip with a bright red nose, surely a look that's fetching only on reindeer, I felt truly back in England.