Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Good news:


         My Christmas dinner is here, delivered by a daughter, I think. I told her how anxious I had been, and she said her father had been as bad. “Where are they? Where are they?” all last weekend.


         I’ve made the cranberry sauce. I’ll give Helen hers when she comes tomorrow. I was surprised to find that cloves, cinnamon sticks and powdered ginger were at the front of my over-extensive spice cupboard, and less surprised to find port (2 tablespoons required) in front of the drinks. Do I cook nothing else?


         I feel there was something else, but can’t think of it. Helen came, and we got around the garden.


All the rest:


         The worst is, the King’s College Choir tomorrow won’t be broadcast live. That’s new – today’s decision. The BBC, including the World Service, has been advertising it all week. No congregation, they said, but at least the choir would be there as usual. That’s been the centre point of all my British Christmasses, the brief news summary at 3 pm, the hush, and then that boy’s voice: “Once in royal…”  And however dreadful the preparations, the card-writing, the present-wrapping, suddenly it was all over. Everything was all right.

 I might as well stay in bed tomorrow. (I saw a programme once, not long before whatever Christmas it was, in which a former Boy was interviewed. The boys don’t know, until the red light goes on and the choirmaster points to one of them, which one it will be. He found, he said, for a terrifying second, that he couldn’t remember the words.)


         I feel there was a lot else, but can’t think of it, or can’t report it. The virus news is bad.




         Grazie, Lisa, per i tuoi auguri. Per un momento, ho pensato che la mia insegnante sia qui! I reciprocate all your wishes, to you and everybody: a happy Christmas, a good New Year. It can’t be worse.


         You don’t have time to read this stuff over the holidays, even if I do have time to write it. I’ll see you again on the 27th or so.



  1. Our saintly Vicar, when I was a teenager, always used to wish everyone a peaceful Christmas. I can think of nothing better to wish for you and yours.

  2. I hope you have a happy and peaceful Christmas, Jean. Thank you for sharing a little part of your life with all of us.

  3. Please don't stay in bed, Jean. We are all having to adapt this yea, some at a moment's notice. I certainly feel for those poor lorry drivers stuck on the motorway in Kent. Why not set yourself a little target of achieving a number of steps within your flat, just to keep the circulation going?
    We will be looking for you on the 27th. We need a full report on whether a black feathered chicken just tastes like chicken or is worth the extra money.

  4. Anonymous8:21 PM

    This has been a challenging year, but lighter days and spring are on the way. Happy Christmas everyone, things WILL get better.

    "Oh the weather outside is frightful
    but this yarn is so delightful
    and since we've no other place to go
    another row, another row, another row!"

    Courtesy of pinterest. Sarah.

  5. Merry Christmas Jean from another downunderite. You have cheered on a pretty crummy year. Prayers and grateful thoughts always, and never underestimate how much good your blog does for someone else a long way away.

  6. I hope you enjoy your chicken. I look forward to reading all about it. My husband and I are having a capon for Christmas dinner. There will be leftovers galore.

  7. You know, we all look forward so eagerly for your words, Jean; we will all be logging onto our computers on the 27th and there had better be a nice long chat about the chicken and all the sides. (No pressure...)

  8. Merry Christmas Jean. Your words have given us a bit of normality in an otherwise topsy turvy year. Thank you for that. I look forward to hearing if your chicken lives up to its expectations.

  9. Anonymous11:12 PM

    Jean, I'm with everybody else: hoping for a report about the chicken on the 27th. & about the hap. & about the quiz.

    And I have a word of hope: my niece, a health care worker, received her first vaccination today.

    I hope you & all your other readers can find a measure of peace and even joy over the next few days.

    Beverly in NJ

  10. Jean i sent you a gift of an advent calendar centered around Edinburgh. it was awhile ago and i am behind in reading the comments. i hope you found the email and loaded the calendar. perhaps you can do it tomorrow (chirstmas eve) while listening to the recorded broadcast .. i too am depressed at no live Festival of NIne Lessons ... and i too will be celebrating alone (but i have done this before the pandemic its never easy any time) i will think of you... if you want to chat... just email!


  11. Hello Jean
    I don't know how to upload it for you but imagine the picture of Mary, Joseph and The Baby being visited by the Three Kings...and one of the Kings saying, "Now you know these presents are for your birthday and Christmas". (I hope that brings a smile for you.) Cat

  12. Anonymous12:11 AM

    Jean, all good wishes for hope, peace, joy and love this Christmas and in the New Year. Like others, will look forward to your post on the 27th.

  13. All the best wishes! I pretty sure you won't stay in bed all day tomorrow. Looking forward to hearing how the chicken was. Please pet the kitties for me. Marilyn in Chicago

  14. Happy Christmas Jean! As others have said, please do not underestimate how much your blog means to all of us. I enjoy it every single day. I have checked out Scoop from the library and it's next on my stack. I have some Le Carre to follow. I remember The Spy Who Came In From The Cold as a favorite. And I am looking at Majestic cruise lines and hope to book something for next year. You are an influencer. I think that is a real job these days. And like everyone else, I love your cat pictures! Thank you for talking to us all this long year.

  15. I still get chills on the opening line of that carol. I was an alto in my church choir as a teen (so would never be the soloist) but the vicar had the church lot by candlelight, and we would process into the church holding tapers, in pairs. I don't attend church now but would have attended the local one this Xmas if it wasn't bookings only, no singing this year. Even if I'm not particularly outwardly religious, I do still love the music and ceremony even 30 years later. Classic FM has been very comforting this week! Merry Xmas and best wishes, next year can only be better for the world.

  16. Anonymous11:29 AM

    Dear Jean, Merry Christmas this Christmas Eve morning. I read your blog first thing each morning - about 6 or 7 hours, perhaps, after you have written it - so that I can start my day right. Its's funny. This pandemic has made me inclined to count my blessings. That I have my family. my reasonably good health, the wonderful hobby of knitting, so many things, including the happy luck to have Flipboard lead me to your wonderful blog. I hope you have joy this Christmas despite all the challenges. Know that we are here and looking forward to next hearing from you. You count a lot to us. Chloe.

  17. It is a frigid sunny morning here in Minnesota after yesterday's blizzard. Less snow than predicted but the winds were terrific. Do make a few circuits of the apartment at least. I think staying in bed is really enervating. I'll be checking in daily, I hope. I look forward to hearing about the black chickens.

  18. Happy Christmas Jean! As with everyone else, I love reading your daily posts and look forward to them. I too found your blog through flipboard - I miss that app! Take care and enjoy the chicken!
    Anna usually in Toronto

  19. Wishing you peace and good health for the coming year. I read your blog daily and enjoy it immensely. Thank you for taking the time to write.

  20. Happy Christmas, I watched the Carols from Kings on bbc2 just now, knowing nothing about the last minute hitches until I heard the announcement. It was still wonderful, I hope you managed to watch. Have a happy Christmas and thank you so nmuch for all your blog posts.

  21. =Tamar8:30 PM

    Happy Christmas! I, too, am awaiting the report on the black chicken, having just had a rotisserie chicken that was excellent and very moist. My best gift so far this year was a favor done by a friend. It's quietly rainy here in MD.

  22. Anonymous1:07 AM

    Here's Handel to the rescue: today's post on the Modern Daily Knitting blog has a link to a performance of The Messiah, but please note that the film won't be available after 11:59pm on Boxing day - Toronto time, I believe. I'll try to link to their post, but if my link fails just look for the blog.
    All good wishes for Christmas and the new year,
    Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

  23. Much love to you Jean.

  24. Dear Jean,

    All the best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us - knitting and otherwise.

  25. Once in Royal David's City is one of my all time favorite hymns. I hope you got to hear it Christmas:)! Merry Christmas.