Friday, 31 December 2010
I missed going to The Vintage Wedding Dress shop with a dear friend.
We missed going to see my parents... which meant we did lots of Christmas shopping instead.
Winter cocktails with the Best Girls at Skylon - The Winter Warmer kicked quite a punch.
Wanting to be a snowflake having marvelled at The Nutcracker with mother, Twin and Blessing.
Lunch with university girls at Browns.
Festive drinks and pizza with dear friends at Rocket.
It snowed again which meant...
Walking through the snow to meet up with dear old book club friends, drink mulled wine and eating mince pies and Nigella's Christmas morning muffins.
Buying The Christmas Tree. Then decorating it. And then admiring it.
More mulled wine and mince pies this time at Beas.
Christmas events at school. Our class Nativity tableau, Christmas Parties, Staff Panto.
Morning coffee in Forest Hill.
Books read - The Glass Room by Simon Mawer, Miss Buncle's Book by DE Stevenson (my Persephone secret santa).
Films watched Joyeaux Noel and Elf on Christmas Eve in front of the sparkling Christmas tree. United 93, The Reader. A most enjoyable time watching Upstairs Downstairs on BBCiplayer whilst Warmth was at work.
Shopping - bought not one but two pairs of boots - quite different ones and there was 25% off them both - so I saved money. However with the snow it took along time to wear one pair. Thankfully neither of them are in the sales - phew right decision. Good sale shopping at SpaceNK too.
Christmas Day in Kent with my family, The Blessings were on good Christmas form, Boxing Day over eating - family friends for lunch and then a drive up to London to see Granny Warmth. Huge Boxing Day tea there including Mama Warmth retelling The Story On Top of the Christmas Cake. (There's a whole post in this but basically each year there are topical (both family and news worthy) events illustrated on top. This year an errupting volcano, the Chilean miners, a 'No to university fees' protesting Father Christmas, and then when the cricket really did go well a cricketer appeared!)
Christmas cooking on the 26th for Family Warmth.
Parsnip and Stilton Soup, Turkey, Ham and Cranberry pie, Aubergine Involtini, green salads (on my insistence), potato salad and pasta salad. Christmas Pavlova, a disastrous caramalised clementine pudding, delicious Neal's Yard cheeses and then devouring a large box of Quality Street.
New Year's Eve tapas with dear friends and then back to our own homes for fizz and welcoming in 2011
Thursday, 30 December 2010
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
For Warmth Carol Ann Duffy Another night before Christmas
and her 12 Selected Poems, Tim Burton The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy, Wisden Cricketers Almanack 1986 and 1999
For Twin Mrs Dalloway's Party Virginia Woolf
For Brother in law The Flavour Thesauraus
For Pops John Le Carre Our Kind of Traitor
For a dear friend Hatfields Herbal
For Godchild Ted Hughes The Iron Man
For another Godchild ABC in Animals
From Warmth Carol Ann Duffy Mrs Scrooge and 12 her Selected poems, a beautiful diary, A World History of Art (having mentioned once that in hindsight sometimes I think I'dd quite like to have read History of Art at university.)
From Parents Vogue covers
From a dear friend Sarah Broom Tigers at Awhitu.
Persephone Secret Santa Miss Buncle DE Stevenson
What books did you give or receve this Christmas?
Saturday, 25 December 2010
Happy Christmas To You x
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
"It's bad enough in life to do without something you want; but confound it, what gets my goat is not being able to give somebody something you want them to have." Truman Capote A Christmas Memory
The gift of baking
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Monday, 20 December 2010
'We're almost there; can you smell it Buddy?' she says, as though we were approaching an ocean.
And, indeed, it is a kind of ocean. Scented acres of holiday trees, prickly leafed holly. Red berries shiny as Chinese bells: ...we set about choosing a tree. 'It should be,' muses my friend, 'twice as tall as a boy. So a boy can't steal the star.' The one we pick is twice as tall as me. A brave handsome brute... Lugging it like a kill, we commence the long trek out...But we have the strength of triumphant huntsmen; that and the tree's virile, icy perfume revive us." Truman Capote A Christmas Memory
Tomorrow we'll decorate the tree.
Friday, 17 December 2010
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
And a lovely notebook. It's perfect - blank inside which is the way I like my notebooks. I shall store it away for when my currnet quotes/ blogging thoughts notebook has finished.
And a lovely notecard.
"Hope you enjoy this one and you have a Merry Christmas."
Thank you and Merry Christmas to you.
Thank you Claire for organising Secret Santa.
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
to liberate us into life.
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
Monday, 13 December 2010
Friday, 10 December 2010
'And so you're phoning me now from your bedroom?'
'I certainly am. And from my bed as well.'
It was eleven in the morning.
'You're not exactly an early bird.'
'....Do you know what time yours truly got up, my dear boy? At seven. And you dare to wonder that I'm back in bed again at eleven! Besides, it's not as though I were sleeping - I've been reading, scribbling some notes for my thesis, and looking out of the window. I always do a whole lot of things when I'm in bed. The warmth of the blankets undoubtedly spurs me into activity.' The Garden of the Finzi-Continis Giorgio Bassani
I'm hoping for the same this weekend.
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Monday, 6 December 2010
Red Boots On
Way down Geneva,
All along Vine,
Deeper than the snow drift
Love's eyes shine:
Mary Lou's a walking
In the winter time.
Red boots on, she's got
Red boots on,
kicking up the winter
Till the winter's gone.
Sweet light burning
In winter's flame.
Snow in her eyes, got
A tingle in her toes
And new red boots on
Wherever she goes.
May Lou's walking
In the big snow fall.
Red boots on, she's got
Red boots on, kicking up the winter
What will you be wearing in the snow?
Thursday, 2 December 2010
What I've found hard, and this was the same for me in another great Russian novel Anna Karenina, is the great love. But they're already married I keep thinking and feeling. In this case it's not as if his marriage wasn't happy. A part of me kept thinking 'We're lucky to find one love in life and here's Yury and Lara each have had two loves in their life!'
This passage shows he has a soul and a conscience - but what good are they if we don't change our actions?
"Yury was deceiving Tonya and what he concealed from her was becoming increasingly grave and ilicit. This was something unheard-of between them.
He worshipped Tonya. Her peace of mind meant more to him than anything in the world....
At home he felt like a criminal.....
Had he been unfaithful to her because he preferred another woman? No, he had made no comparison, no choice. He did not believe in 'free love' or in the 'right' to be carried away by his senses. To think or speak in such terms seemed to him degrading...Now he was crushed by the weight of his guilty conscience.
'What next?' he sometimes asked himself, and hoped wretchedly for some impossible, unexpected circumstance to solve his problem for him."
Part of me wonders what would have happenend if they hadn't been in the midst of civil unrest with families being mixed up, people just disappearing. How convenient for their love.
And then we read this letter from Tonya to Yury when she is about to leave for Paris.
"The whole trouble is that I love you and that you don't love me. I keep trying to discover the meaning of this judgement on me, to understand it, to see the reason for it. I look into into myself, I go over our whole life together and everything I know about myself, and I can't find the beginning , and I can't remember what it is I did and how I brought this misfortune on myself...
As for me, I love you. If only you knew how much I love you. I love all that is unusual in you, the inconvenient and as well as the covenient, and all the ordinary things which, in you, are made precious to me by being combined in an extraordinary way;
...God keep you, I must stop. They have come for the letter... O Yura Yura, my darling, my husband, my children's father, what is happening to us? Do you realise that we'll never, never see each other again?"
And my heart and soul ache for her - and I think/feel again 'Yury how can you do this?' And I think about us, the readers, are we condoning such behaviour by reading and re reading this story of deception, hurt and betrayal.
And then we get to the Conclusion and Epilogue (which to begin with I didn't understand and wondered why it was there but then grew to love it and perhaps became one of my favourite parts of the book.) Reading this passage I realised why everyone refers to Dr. Zhivago as 'the greatest love story.'
"Oh, what a love it was, how free, how new, like nothing else on earth!...
It was not out of necessity that they loved each other, 'enslaved by passion', as lovers are described. They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees and the clouds and the sky over their heads and the earth under their feet. Perhaps their surrounding world, the strangers they met in the street, the landscapes drawn up for them to see on their walks, the rooms in which they lived or met, were even more pleased with their love than they were themselves."
I'm still not sure how I feel about this love story. What are your thoughts?
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
The year dwindles and glows
to December's red jewel,
my birth month.
The sky blushes,
and lays its cheek
on the sparkling fields.
Then dusk swaddles the cattle,
simple as faith.
These nights are gifts,
our hands unwrapping the darkness
to see what we have.
The train rushes, ecstatic,
to where you are,
my bright star.
Carol Ann Duffy