Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas at Fezziwig's Warehouse

I'Yo Ho! my boys," said Fezziwig. "No more work to-night! Christmas Eve, Dick! Christmas, Ebenezer! Let's have the shutters up!" cried old Fezziwig with a sharp clap of his hands, "before a man can say JackRobinson. . . ."
"Hilli-ho!" cried old Fezziwig, skipping down from the high desk with wonderful agility. "Clear away, my lads, and let's have lots of room here! Hilli-ho, Dick! Cheer-up, Ebenezer!"Clear away! There was nothing they wouldn't have cleared away, or couldn't have cleared away with old Fezziwig looking on. It was done in a minute. Every movable was packed off, as if it were dismissed from public life forevermore; the floor was swept and watered, the lamps were trimmed, fuel was heaped upon the fire; and the warehouse was as snug, and warm, and dry, and bright a ballroom as you would desire tosee on a winter's night.In came a fiddler with a music book, and went up to the lofty desk and made an orchestra of it and tuned like fifty stomach aches. In came Mrs. Fezziwig, one vast substantial smile. In came the three Misses Fezziwig, beaming and lovable. In came the six followers whose hearts they broke. In came all the young men and women employed in the business. In came the housemaid with her cousin the baker. In came the cook with her brother's particular friend the milkman. In came the boy from over the way, who was suspected of not having board enough from his master, trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress; in they all came, any-how and every-how. Away they all went, twenty couple at once; hands half round and back again the other way; down the middle and up again; round and round in various stages of affectionate grouping, old top couple always turning up in the wrong place; new top couple starting off again, as soon as they got there; all top couples at last, and not a bottom one to help them.When this result was brought about the fiddler struck up "Sir Roger de Coverley." Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs. Fezziwig. Top couple, too, with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them; three or four and twenty pairs of partners; people who were not to be trifled with; people who would dance and had no notion of walking.But if they had been thrice as many, oh, four times as many, old Fezziwig would have been a match for them, and so would Mrs. Fezziwig. As to her, she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. If that's not high praise, tell me higher and I'll use it. A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig's calves. They shone in every part of the dance like moons. You couldn't have predicted at any given time what would become of them next. And when old Fezziwig and Mrs. Fezziwig had gone all through the dance, advance and retire; both hands to your partner, bow and courtesy, corkscrew, thread the needle, and back again to your place; Fezziwig cut so deftly that he appeared to wink with his legs, and came upon his feet again with a stagger.When the clock struck eleven the domestic ball broke up. Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side of the door, and shaking hands with every person individually, as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas!

Christmas at Fezziwig's Warehouse by Charles Dickens

All Photos from 2010 Holiday House by myself

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Paris: Day 7

My last full day in Paris was spent seeing some new things which left me wondering why I waited so long to see them!The Musee d'Orsay was shockingly good: not just the art itself (which constituted my favorite periods) but the building, a converted train station, took my breath away.Designed for the Universal Exhibition in 1900 by the architect Victor Laloux, the train station laid vacant for decades until being converted into the art museum in 1986.A surprising added bonus to the museum are the views of the city from the 5th floor. Talk about Paris at your feet!On my way back to the apartment I dropped into the church across the street, St. Louis en I'Ile, for an impromptu organ recital (ok, practice time for the musician with me sneaking a listen!). The church which has a rather....shall we say rough exterior, has a magnificent baroque interior designed by royal architect Louis Le Vau designed in 1664. Walking out of the church, awed by the over powering music, the house across the street confronted me with my true feelings of the city and my trip: a heart shaped topiary.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bûche de Noël

A client recently presented me with a traditional Bûche de Noël, or Yule Log, for the holidays and it was so pretty (and delicious!) I had to share it with you all. The dessert is a traditional French pastry commonly shared around the holidays and decorated to look like a log ready for the fire (that is, if one decorated their logs with snow and meringue mushrooms).This dessert in particular came from the Praline bakery in Bethesda (a suburb of DC) which was founded by former pastry chefs from the White House kitchen. This version featured both chocolate and vanilla butter cream on a sort of chocolate brownie (is your mouth watering yet?). If you're in the DC area you may want to consider one of these as a hostess gift -you won't regret it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Paris: Day 6

Day 6 in Paris started with a walk through my favorite neighborhood in the city, St. Germain.No trip to St. Germain is complete without shopping. The neighborhood is full of the most unique and fascinating shops in Paris. The most famous of these is Deyrolle of course.The taxidermy shop takes merchandising to a higher level with their clever displays. I loved this tableau of animals eating a meal together at a table mad-hatter style.
As throughout the city, the buildings are gorgeous. As space is at a premium I noticed many double and triple dormers like the one here: no attic space goes to waste!
After a morning of shopping it was across the river, past the Tuileries to the very British and charming old world Hotel Regina to meet friends for drinks.Along the way, I passed these faux-bois doors painted by Jacques Garcia himself on an elegant apartment building facing the Louvre.
The evening ended fireside at the apartment of friends before dinner at a cafe in the Marais.What else could one ask from a day spent in Paris?