Doings: Walking out in the moonlight; celebrating the Winter Solstice with friends: making a fire charm, meditating on trees, exchanging gifts and sharing feasts; dancing around rooms filled with holly, ivy, willow and bright red dogwood. A night with two parties and a starlit cycle home; A LOT of wrapping; a Boxing Day walk slightly off piste with plenty of bog and heather in our socks and shoes. But see the beautiful ice formation above.
Listenings: the wonderful Christmas compilation Claire and Mark gave us years ago, which includes a great deal of The Ronettes; Prokoviev’s Troika from The Lieutenant’s Kije Suite; winter birdsong; the howling of the wind; the yin of my children’s hysterical laughter and the yang of their tears over the last few days; much purring from Bear and Fish the kittens.
Watchings: The Snow Queen; Raymond Briggs’ The Bear; small sections of Indiana Jones; the BFG (while I could keep my eyes open); some marvellous televised MRJames (winter is spooky story time to be sure); kid B bravely roller-skating for the first time; kid A dancing with excitement as he wanted everyone to open their presents he had wrapped; the cats performing their nightly ritual, hunting each other down like Inspector Clouseau and Cato.
Eatings: Plenty. Bendicks Bittermints, parsnips, nuts and bread sauce (not on the same plate) were verily enjoyed. The homemade mince pies were a winner but I shall probably move Nigel Slater’s Christmas cake recipe aside next year in favour of something heavier and darker. Sorry Nigel, though I shall always favour the addition of hazlenuts so thank you for that.
Favourites: setting out sherry, mince pies, milk and carrot for the big FC and Rudolf; sleeping the deepest heaviest sleep each night from utter exhaustion; knowing the wrapping paper is being kept as a great big den for the kittens for a few days yet; singing solstice songs by candlelight; smiling as N and I gave each other the exact same Christmas present; the bare trees and the peace and stillness they signify and the birches I saw today were fuzzy – the tree tops looked like a reddish haze of smoke. Perhaps best of all – being here:
Feel lucky to have had such comforts and pleasures. There’s no such thing as perfection, when it comes to Christmas. I fell out with a very old friend on Christmas Eve, I didn’t vacuum upstairs and we ate Christmas dinner to the sound track of kid A’s declaration that he hates everything. But. No serious storm damage, no war, no deep sadness. Happy Christmas everyone. And it’s still Christmas.