Friday, December 20, 2019

I’ve had a very nice visit from James. He has now gone off, carrying a (very) few Christmas presents with him. He’s got a wonderful new electronic blood-sugar testing device (he is a Type 1 diabetic), just like the one worn by Theresa May. He had to pester the NHS a bit to get it.

I have made good progress with the South African shawl – I’ve got about 110 stitches, I think, out of the 144 I need before it’s time to start decreasing. I have finished the first ball of yarn. That always feels like significant progress, I’m sure you’ll agree.

No sign of the Spring Shawl.

I have decided to postpone my Box of Light. These pre-Christmas days are too fraught, even for one so old and feeble as I am. I’ll put envelope 18 back, and start for real on January 1, 2020.


I have been worrying about the 24th. I can’t remember how I spent it before, in the two years since my husband died. In the Olden Days, we listened to the King’s College Carol Concert, all of us together,  while erecting and decorating the Christmas tree. I don’t think I am going to bother even with our beloved plastic tree this year, and I have decided to spend Tuesday afternoon making the cranberry sauce while I listen. All that really matters is the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City” sung solo by a boy who didn’t know until the red light went on, that he was the one. Some of them are better than others at reaching and holding the high note on “Mary was that mother mild…”

Is this the week for bad movies? C. and some friends went to “Cats” tonight or last night – I’ve never seen such bad reviews in my life. I’ll see her for a de-briefing on Sunday. Archie and some of his friends went to the new Star Wars film yesterday, and walked out half-way. I’m looking forward to The Two Popes and Marriage Story on Netflix.


  1. I'm listening to the great O Antiphons leading up to Christmas, finding different recordings and arrangements on YouTube. A moment of peace, and sense of time and space. It's a fairly new advent tradition for me. As for Christmas Eve... I'll give it some thought...

  2. Anonymous11:20 AM

    If a theater full of happy people is any indication, Knives Out is very fun and well-done. Most of the good movie-making people seem to have flocked to Netflix, etc. So many movies which just miss the mark. I wonder if TheTwo Popes is like The Crown? Good theater drama but questionable accuracy. Has any chosen soloist ever seized up when his name was "called"? Chloe

  3. We are planning to listen to the 2pm afternoon concert on Radio 3 on Dec 24th. It is being recorded at Snape Maltings this afternoon. We were there last night to hear Bach's "Christmas Oratorio," which was glorious. Reading the words in German in the programme made me feel that I am making some progress in my Duolingo German course, however slow it may seem.

    1. We went to hear the Oratorio last weekend. Thankfully, the programme was in English and German!

  4. I never realized the boy who started to song was taken by surprise. How nerve wracking!

  5. I will have to work on the Eve and am not too pleased. The company is owned by two partners one Jewish and the other Chinese so this holiday has been problematic since I started. I do get the Day off but with it being a Wednesday this year it’s harder to take time off. I asked for Tues and Thursday but was countered with Thurs and Friday. I hate working on the Eve. However I will be listening to the ceremony live at my desk. It won’t be the same as listening at home but I know it will be on again on the Day so I can hear it again.

  6. =Tamar5:30 PM

    I'm actually more interested in the movie of Cats because of the bad reviews. I haven't actually read the reviews themselves but when a film is so universally scorned, I sometimes find I like it, or at least like parts of it. Do please let us know what your friends thought about it.
    (On the other hand, I gave up on the Star Wars stuff a long time ago. I just pretend only the first one was ever made.)
    I wonder what could have happened to the shawl. Surely that cats couldn't have eaten it. I wonder if it was so damaged that your cleaner didn't recognize it as knitting. In any case, if you have enough yarn left, it might be better to start fresh.

  7. I listen whenever and wherever I can to Handel's Messiah. It remains my favorite musical work. Our choir sang the O Antiphons and read from the neumes (hope I spelled that correctly) - quite a challenge! Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Jean:)! Usually the quiet celebrations are the most meaningful.