A Lombardian Christmas Card

As Christmas Day moves closer, a stressful count down for some, I’m finding peace in doing simple domestic tasks. Ironing old linen, making bread, shaping and rolling more batches of Sicilian almond balls to share with others, moving furniture around to create dining space for the day, and draping silvery bling around the Christmas tree. Mindless tasks allow thoughts to wander: the devil makes work for busy hands too. I’m back in the towns and villages of Lombardy. I don’t feel that I’ve really left: I have unfinished business there. I miss the sound of village bells, the simple risotti on every menu, the low-lying rice fields of the Po valley dotted with 17th century cascine, enclosed farm buildings and villas set midst stubbled rice fields, river flats edged with pioppi, poplar trees, remnants of Visconti castles, red bricked medieval fortresses, the wine growing hills above Pavia, and the gentle Lombardi people, my new friends and old. I will return to these stories in January: there are many waiting to be aired.

In the meantime, I’m sending out these Lombardi Christmas Cards. They depict a different kind of Christmas bell, the orange kaki or persimmons that caught my eye as we wandered about a small village in the Oltrepò, near Pavia. Nearby, an old shed housing some antique building materials attracted Mr T. This Christmas card is for shed lovers. Another renovation? A little house in the Lombardian hills? Wishing you, dear readers, many fine things this Christmas: good food, friends and family and a warm embrace. Who could want for more.

31 thoughts on “A Lombardian Christmas Card”

  1. Beautiful photos/cards, Francesca. It was 31c here when I got up at 5am this morning. I did finally find one small bag of tart cherries but the biscotti will wait until tomorrow when it is to cool to 34c for the day. Even the air conditioning is not coping at the moment. You paint a lovely picture of moving through home care. I enjoy all those things when it is cooler too. Very best to you and your family. xx

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    1. It will be 36 here today, though it does drop down to the low 20s overnight. One must plough on. At least when it’s too hot, I get to see my swimming grandchildren.
      Those biscotti without the fruit, the second recipe with just spices and honey, are now my favourite and taste more christmassy to me. I’m making three batches today for gifts. whip them up blindfolded now. Merry Christmas Ardys. xx

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      1. Looks like a cooler change for both of us tomorrow. 36 is v hot for you. Our daughter arrives in a couple of hours so I am plowing on too! Am going to try the biscotti without the fruit but using hazelnut meal to see what they are like. Will let you know. x

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          1. Francesca, sorry to bother you when I know you are busy… wanted to read some of your older posts about New Zealand as we are nearly ready to book our trip for this April, but I can’t find them. Is there a search function that I’m missing or can you tell me how to find them? xx A

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  2. Thank you for the stunning Christmassy images. We are decorating our palm trees today along with said bling draped carelessly over the ferns. I wish you and yours a safe, happy and belly-filled festive season.
    Joyeux Noël à tous
    Buon Natale a tutti.
    XX Peter

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  3. Perfect in age-old gentle beauty, thank you! Bling and I are not friends, never have been . . . . hope you and yours have a blessed Yule and that, in this imperfect world, more things will go right than wrong when the bells ring in 2018! You have given me so many wonderful moments to savour this year past . . . for that my appreciation . . .

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    1. Best wishes to you to Eha, you have been such an appreciative friend this year, especially during my travels and I always look forward to your comments.
      I went bling free last year, in fact we by passed major Christmas events. Bling comes out when the mob arrive, meaning 6 grandchildren. I’d like to have a persimmon tree instead.

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  4. I love these Christmas cards! And I completely agree with your sentiments…what more does one need than good friends, good food and love…. Sending Christmas Wishes and wishing you all the best for 2018 xx

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  5. Such lovely pictures, Francesca, no wonder your mind has wandered off. Happy Christmas and a contented and healthy New Year – thank you for all the pleasures your posts give.

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  6. Festive season good wishes to you and yours. Christmas has been followed by a Boxing Day pleasantly rainy & relaxed, so I can enjoy a revisit to its spirit via your words and cards. I love the true spirit of the season but when it is done the time to rest is all the more appreciated. I love the descriptiveness of your pottering & preparing while simultaneously exploring your beloved Lombardy ♡

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