Wednesday 18 December 2013
A streamside walk on Sunday afternoon, just before sunset. I was in a strange mood, unable to drag myself out of a bit of a gloom. So I took a walk on my own - an almost unheard of thing. The streams were far more full than usual because of the rain, and the water was moving quickly - at a fast walking pace, rather than a slow meander.
I walked down to the small community orchard which is just down the road from us.
You can just make out the list of varieties planted, although the light was low by this time.
The trees are mostly bare now, although one of them at the end did still have apples on it. No doubt hungry birds will eat them soon.
The sun set just after 4 o'clock. I love the winter sunsets and the early darkness. Somehow I can feel the vital spark of life more keenly. Human existence is closer to the edge. Solitary walks are perfect for musing on such things.
The next day there was mist and sun. The colours in this photo taken from our top room are some of my favourites. Another reason to love this time of year. The bleached greys and blues and the jagged black silhouettes.
Above the river there was an odd tunnel of mist in places. I stood for a while watching the birds going about their business. With only eight hours of daylight they are hungry by morning, and there are always plenty flying past, looking for food.
Today the house smelt like Christmas. I brought the tree in and made some mincemeat, with apricots, cranberries and Cointreau.
After school the boys decorated the tree. The usual mix of red, green and gold baubles, gold stars, angels and ornaments that we've been given over the years.
And my favourite little things that the children made at pre-school. Misshapen lumps of clay, saturated with glitter and stuck with plastic holly. Cardboard shapes covered in sequins and glue and trimmed with pipe cleaners. Baubles made from old CDs with sweet photos of little boys on them. Nothing finer.
I'll try a few more photos tomorrow in the daylight. For now, this is all I have.
Pretty much identical to what I can see without my contact lenses in.
Tomorrow is the children's school carol service. The church is always candlelit and it's such a beautiful service. It's my favourite thing in the run-up to Christmas. And to add to the excitement, apparently all of the boys have A Line this year. In fact the littlest boy has three. He came home today clutching a piece of paper with his lines on it. He's Shepherd 1, which is a promotion from last week when he was one of many sheep in the nativity play. I muttered something about hoping he didn't need a costume. He gave this some consideration and then said actually he thought he would take one, as it was possible his teacher had said something about it. I'm really hoping she didn't.
There's been lots of carol singing. I think they do it at school every other day, so they come home singing them. I had a "discussion" with the littlest boy about the correct words to "Hark the Herald". I said it was "Joyful all ye nations rise". He felt certain it was "Joyful all ye nations rife". His teacher said so. I said it actually wasn't, it was "rise". He got a bit shouty and said that SHE SAID IT WAS RIFE. I said, "Just for the record, I'm older than she is and I trump her every time when it comes to knowing stuff" (I know, I know, but honestly, he thinks she's the oracle), "and anyway, what does rife even mean???" He said, "It's you know, rife guns". Yes. That makes perfect sense. I'm definitely going to be singing that tomorrow.