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Spanish Secrets: The X Factor

...Plump pork sausages sizzled in a large frying pan. A chilled glass of fruit juice and a piping hot sausage sandwich smothered with HP sauce, warm sunshine and a stunning Mediterranean panorama - now thatís what I call Christmas...

Craig Briggs and his wife Melanie savour Christmas in Spain.

For many people, Christmas is a very special and magical time of year. For some, itís a time of peace on Earth and goodwill to all men. For others, itís a time to eat a piece of pork pie and a slice of juicy hen. Itís difficult to believe that the word, Christmas, could become yet another sacrificial offering to the stalwarts of political correctness.

Gone are the days of innocence when my naÔve entry into the seasonal Sunday school competition received an unforgettable scolding from my biblical tutor. My depiction of the nativity scene, ingeniously created with the use of an upturned yoghurt carton, a few strands of hay and moulded papier-m‚chť characters, met with conditional praise.

Not wanting to appear foolish and lacking confidence in my spelling ability, Iíd headed my accompanying identity card - Merry Xmas Ė Craig Briggs Ė age 6. The response from my Sunday school teacher, the most wonderful Mrs Harper, was ďVery good Craig. But always remember, X takes Christ out of Christmas.''

Even though my adolescent faith has long since waned, Christmas is a valued and cherished time. For the passed seventeen years Melanie and I have used this festive break to take a holiday. The first three of these were in quaint country inns in the heart of the Lake District but thereafter, we chose a place in the sun.

Following our move to Spain these yuletide getaways stopped. It was only after suspension of this seasonal sabbatical that we realised how much we missed Christmastime away.

Last yearís resumption of this vacation tradition strengthened our desire to continue this ritual. Itís difficult to highlight one particular aspect of our reasoning but this morning typified our experiences.

I woke from my peaceful nightís slumber shortly after nine. Although the curtains were still closed the bedroom was light and warm. While Melanie went to brew a mug of revitalising coffee, I drew back the curtains then sat up in bed. The early morning sun was dazzlingly bright. In the distance, its reflection bounced off the Mediterranean Sea like the beam from a flash-light in a mirror.

The undulating hills across the valley were clearly visible through the morning haze. In the valley below, a heavy dew rested on the close-cropped fairways and greens of the golf course. Early morning golfers created sweeping parallel patterns as they drove across fairways in their electric carts. Long shadows reached across the terrace and into the bedroom. Silhouetted palm trees reflected in the deep-blue swimming pool.

Before long we were relaxing on the terrace enjoying the heat of the morning sun. Wrens chattered to each other as they flew through the gardens, resting on rooftops and terraces searching for an easy breakfast.

Fatty aromas floated through from the kitchen. Plump pork sausages sizzled in a large frying pan. A chilled glass of fruit juice and a piping hot sausage sandwich smothered with HP sauce, warm sunshine and a stunning Mediterranean panorama - now thatís what I call Christmas.

email address craigandmel@msn.com
Copyright © 2007 Craig Briggs



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