An elegant sufficiency

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sorting out, clearing up, moving on

Today we took down the Christmas tree and all the decorations were packed away for another year. As I take the baubles down from the tree, I always think of doing that same job twenty three years ago when the very first twinges of labour pains began! That year we'd waited until Twelfth Night but these days, once Christmas is over, we prefer to clear it all up sooner rather than later.

When we got back from a couple of days in Hull yesterday, I finished the Christmas jigsaw. I did it single handed this year since my Mum couldn't be with us and Edward had other distractions, namely a new laptop to play with. I sat there until late last night, finishing it off as a distraction from a worrying phone call earlier in the evening - Mummy had fallen and was being taken to the hospital for X rays in case she'd fractured her hip. Fortunately my cousin Christine was on hand to keep me in the picture and a phone call later reassured us that she was fine - no bones broken, thankfully. She was kept in overnight however, "just in case".

This morning, having checked that she was ok and en route back to St Mary's, I put the new Roomba to good use and left it zooming around the sitting room whilst I came downstairs to the studio to finish off my Christmas Journal. I think I shall have to have a sort out down here before long too, don't you?


Saturday, December 29, 2007

More fun

We've been up in Hull again and spent last night in the company of the delightful Susoolu . Fortunately, I was the guilty party when it came to choosing and booking somewhere to eat last night, so I can take all the credit for offering an opportunity to enjoy the small idiosyncracies of the place.

"We opened three years ago and used to be a pan-Asian restaurant, but now we serve Global food. Special today is Beef Wellington"

"Do you want wine as well Sir? - give us yer glass then" (at which point wine is poured into a tilted glass held a foot above the table, can-of-lager style)

"The Goan Fish starter is off - would you like to choose something else?" (yes, if you'd bring me a menu)

I don't think the evening convinced my two companions that Hull is anything but the gastronomic desert they believe it to be. Having said that, my Chicken Biryani was pretty awful, Mark tells me his King Prawn Sambal wasn't much better, in spite of the radish content and we can only hope that our guest's "House Curry" was more successful! Next time we'll eat at the Parkway Chippie...

On the way home, conversation included a discussion on the trend for totally tasteless over-decoration of houses for Christmas, at which point we screeched to a halt in front of an inflatable Tigger, drunkenly propped up in front of an illuminated Santa on a motor bike.


Sadly I couldn't offer any suggestions for Susoolu's latest knitting conundrum, so in awe of the amazing complex cabled yoke was I. All I know is that no way could I bear to take out so much lovely knitting and redo it - I think I'd simply keep it as a pet and take it out to stroke and admire daily!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


One of our visitors in particular made herself very much at home this afternoon. What fun we had!
Posted by Picasa



He came.
He brought us many lovely things and some amazing surprises.

I was especially pleased to learn that, however old we are, some simple things continue to amuse and delight (as long as the mobile phone isn't far from hand)

But eventually, the pleasures of more technologically advanced presents won Edward's attention.

We had a lovely Christmas Day and hope you did too. We enjoyed Bettine's company and though we missed my Mum more than I can say, I spoke to her on the phone several times during the day.

"How has your day been?" I asked her around 7pm last night.

"Wonderful" was her answer.

It made me smile.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Couldn't put it down...

I've just finished "The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox" and found it a compelling read. It's been on my bedside table for a couple of months and somehow it's taken a while to find its way into my hands. From the very first page it drew me in completely and the beautifully told story of a tragic life is well paced and very moving.
There's a review here by Jane Gardam, which sums it up far better than I ever could.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A night out

We were in Birmingham last night, for we had tickets to see Katherine Jenkins and Darcy Bussell in Viva La Diva. Before the show we spent a lively half hour watching the antics on the ice rink outside Symphony Hall, hearing such words of wisdom as "It's ok, you can't fall over unless someone bumps into you". This was probably true for the large number of people fearfully keeping hold of the handrail around the edge of the rink!

Symphony Hall was looking rather different from usual and the seats began to fill faster and more comprehensively than any symphony concert we've attended which wasn't surprising since we'd booked our tickets months ago and founds few available even then.

Though we did our best not to dwell on the reviews we'd read (more here and here and here) the show failed to match the standards we'd expected, sadly. Both women are undoubtedly talented though it was only Darcy who really hit the spot with us even though Katherine Jenkins seemed to have had the more difficult journey in the making of the show. She put in a creditable performance as a dancer, even if when the two danced side by side it was clear that she was not quite in the same league as her co-star! Thankfully, some small details (the start of the show) appear to have been changed since the start of the tour - no longer does it open with the pair in pyjamas, but with a warbled delivery of Jenkins' Viva Tonight and a typically stunning performance by Darcy Bussell.

What confounded us most was the vibrato in Jenkin's voice which persisted throughout the evening though was less noticeable in the more upbeat numbers. OK, we're not adoring fans of hers, but hearing her recordings gives no clue that her live performance will be so different. That Symphony Hall has been filled on three consecutive evenings by people paying more than twice the average symphony concert ticket price is vaguely depressing. Seldom more than half full for concerts including world class soloists playing music from the generally conventional repertoire (seldom does the programme include anything more adventurous than Bruckner or Sibelius!) it was remarkable that so many people were prepared to offer a standing ovation last night's performance. Such is the power of the media hype, I guess.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh my, how the time flies

I simply cannot believe that it's so long since I posted something here. Time to put that right and bring everything up to date.
Though there has been far too much of this

and this

and not at all enough of this

we are getting into the spirit and things around here are looking Christmassy.
(shame about the light switch!)
Our tree is a particularly good shape this year and it looks so pretty lit up each evening.
I'm enjoying the kind thoughts of good friends a great deal and though I sometimes question the whole Christmas card business, I very much appreciate being sent them from friends far and near, especially when they contain family news to celebrate.
(The louvre door idea came from somewhere unknown years ago, but is a particularly good way to manage so many cards, especially since it means we can take individual cards down to read now and again)

Dear friends and neighbours have called with some lovely plants and flowers and I am particularly enjoying the wonderfully rich colours of these poinsettias.

and in the midst of such generosity and good spirit, it's not difficult to keep the real reason for Christmas in mind.

My list is still getting longer by the day but we'll get it all done, for sure. Right now, it seems more important to enjoy the company of family and friends, to appreciate each day and not to be overwhelmed by it all. We'll go to Hull this weekend and again on the 27th, doing our best to make sure that one person in particular does not feel forgotten. Believe me, she is never far from my thoughts.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Shoes and Shopping

Funny, isn't it, that I have more time to blog when I'm away from home? Here we are, a week since we've been home (almost to the hour) and it's the first time I've had chance to put something together. OK, I've been up to Hull, enjoyed a great evening in the company of Susoolu and spent a few hours with my dear Mum. We've visited Edward in his new flat in Finsbury Park and I've made three Christmas cakes.

I've also started Shimelle's Christmas Journal class again. I signed up last year and was pleased with the outcome so was delighted to find that I was included again this year - what other class do you know of which delivers the goods again and again and again - all for one enrolment? Brilliant! Though I don't follow the prompts slavishly, it does mean that I try to write something each day to record what I've done - and on those days when I don't think I've achieved a great deal it's a great reminder that I really haven't wasted my time.

Take yesterday for example. I wondered where the day had gone. A visit from the gas man to repair a couple of radiators, together with Ian the painter who's painting our garden room - the day whizzed by and I hardly noticed. But quite a bit was achieved now I come to think of it!

First of all, the fairy shoemaker was busy. Good grief, the sewing machine was switched on again - nearly had to get the manual out to find the on/off switch ;-)

Then later, one of our members opened her home for a little Christmas sale. Well, perhaps not quite so little...(home or sale....)

Not a bad day's effort, really.

Labels: , ,