Saturday, November 28, 2015

The year rolls round

…and before we know it Advent is here again. I know it’s a sign of advancing age to comment on the fact, but I truly don’t know where this year has gone.  And what a year it has been.

As I write this on a dark November evening, with the wind battering the rain against the window by my desk, I am again filled with gratitude for my safe and cosy house and deeply aware that many are not so fortunate. 

I think of the thousands of refugees seeking shelter and sanctuary from the ravages of war and with foreboding of the many more who may be driven from their homes as the conflict in the Middle East intensifies. I remember with deep sadness the many lives lost or damaged in cruel attacks.

We are living through dark and difficult times and yet, as a Christian, I cannot help having hope as Advent begins. This wonderful season of anticipation, of promises made and fulfilled, of the coming of Emmanuel, God with us, reassures me that there will always be light in the darkness and that the darkness will not overcome it. This message of hope and encouragement is wonderfully summed up in one of my favourite arias from Handel’s Messiah, to me the very spirit of Advent.

Image via Google

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A sense of déjà vu

One of the many advantages of writing a blog is the way it acts as a useful record of what has been happening in the life of a non-diary-keeper like me. Go back to this time last year and I am reminded that after a very busy October we had visits from my dear mother-in-law and DD and her family, with lots of board games and music practice, conversation and laughter. I’m also reminded that DD brought with her, and generously shared with me, a cold which gave me a persistent cough which lasted until the middle of November.

Now if you want to know what has been happening to me since my last post, you only need to go back and reread my first paragraph. Granted the busyness this October wasn’t due to moving house but to helping out every week in the parish plus a few other activities, but the rest is almost word-for word the same as last year, right down to the cold and cough.

The big difference from last autumn is that we’ve almost reached the middle of November and are still in Wales. Just like last year, we had been planning to head north as soon as our visitors had returned home. However when the time came we had no choice but to reassess the situation. On the one hand there was me, feeling distinctly under the weather with my bad cold, on the other was DH with an urgent and unavoidable series of dental appointments if he wants to be able to eat his Christmas dinner in comfort.

Very reluctantly we came to the conclusion we had to cancel this autumn’s visit, which is why we have been enjoying our first November in the new house instead. Not that the weather has been cooperating with us. After a wonderfully calm, mild and colourful October, November is now doing its best to add to our electricity bills with leaden skies that necessitate keeping the lights on all day and copious rain to ensure that the area doesn’t run short of water this winter.

Looking on the bright side, I’ve stopped coughing and can again blow hard enough to practise my sadly-neglected clarinet and I’ve finished not only my great-nephew’s sweater, but also yet another pair of socks for myself. I have all the ingredients for this year’s batch of mincemeat and, best of all, my recent mammogram came back clear. It will be a quiet winter here in Wales, but I’m looking forward to it.

The sweater finished at last

And the boy himself wearing it

Grandson#1 doing organ practice in a nearby village church

The view from my study on a calm, misty day in October

The last rose of summer safe on the kitchen windowsill