Thursday 14 December 2017

Madhouse diaries : Festive Fun

We live in a smallish town just outside of Dunkirk called St Pol Sur Mer, but I've decided it should be renamed St Pol Sur Mer-ry Christmas  in the run up to the big day because they've just installed lots of illuminated figures in front of the town hall. We went along for a look today and they had a couple of mascots handing out sweets.

 As well as some very modernistic Christmas trees that reminded me of the giant pyramids of Ferrero Rochers at the ambassador's ball in the advert (!), there is a special post box to send your letters to Santa. Apparently, if you put your address on the envelope, he'll send you a reply.

 The kids wanted to sit on the giant chair but it was soaking wet as it was raining.

The reindeer was cute but looked a bit boss-eyed !

The giant teddy bear and penguin looked fantastic once the twilight started drawing in.

Even the town hall is lit up in the patriotic blue, white and red of the French flag.

There have been lots of other things going on locally lately, that we've been popping off to see but that didn't really merit a full blogpost. In some areas of France (including Flanders) and Europe, December 6th is St Nicolas's Day - some kids get their presents then rather than at Christmas, although most get just a small gift (if that) and open the rest on Christmas Eve. I always think it's a bit controversial because St Nicolas is accompanied by le Père Fouettard (the Father Whipper), who punishes naughty children or gives them coal while St Nicolas gives out satsumas and speculoos (cinnamon biscuits) and in Dunkirk, he is accompanied by Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), the Dutch version of Père Fouettard - there is a small protest about it being racist in the Netherlands (where he is more well known) but nobody seems to bat an eyelid here. Oh well, the kids enjoyed their biscuits, satsumas and hot chocolate, and Sophie posed with the much less controversial figure of Snow White ! 

We also went to a small Christmas crafts market a couple of weeks ago, which had a pets corner. We got to stroke some black Ouessant sheep from the Breton island close to Madhouse Daddy's hometown of Brest.

They also had this Lapin Géant des Flandres (a giant Flanders rabbit), which can grow up to 10kg in weight, but usually stops around 6.5-8kg. That's still a whopper hopper though !

Next were the donkeys ... you can decide if they're on the left or right hand side of the picture ! 

We'd never seen a white donkey before.

Or a chicken so white and fluffy that it looked like an abominable snowman !

I've already shown you the Christmas Parade and our wet and windy visit to the Christmas in Dunkirk decorations with the Madhouse grandparents. I wonder what else we'll get up to between now and the end of the year !

Country Kids


  1. The teddy and penguin are fab

  2. It looks like you've been enjoying some wonderful Christmas fun, I'm impressed with how much there is to see and do there. The kids look like they're loving the festive feeling the days out are providing, I bet they can't wait to enjoy more. Those chicken are amazing, I might have to get Farmer Nick to find some of those for the farm.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

    1. With every year that passes, I keep thinking that family days out will be met with less enthusiasm from the girls, but so far so good - long may it last !

  3. Wow they haven't half put some effort in haven't they! It is really interesting to hear what people do elsewhere. I don't think a person who punishes children is such a bad idea as it makes Father Christmas more of a reward for being good lol. #countrykids

  4. Wow! What fantastic Christmas decorations! I thought our town had done well but seeing this I think our town should have tried a bit harder! #CountryKids

  5. Wow they really go into it in a big way! I love all the different lights. I wish our town did something more like this as all we have is a few fairly lights on the lampposts! #CountryKids

  6. Oh wow these lights are beautiful! I love the boss eyed reindeer! #countrykids

  7. My son would love all those Christmas lights and seeing all of the animals. It looks like you have had some nice Christmas trips out and about #CountryKids


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