In The End

I didn’t feel there was a huge festive or frantic vibe through December, but in the end everything was purchased and organised. I attended a carol service with my sister on the afternoon of the twenty second and by then it felt under control. Despite being one of the shortest days there was a little light after we had finished our mince pies to go out and managed to catch a bit of sunset. The picture doesn’t do it justice, there was a fair amount of fiery red and pale pink cloud but no good photos of it. The days will be lengthening from then on.

Early sunset

Presents were wrapped in time to be unwrapped within twenty four hours, so just as well I am often re-using gift bags and wrapping paper. Christmas day has passed off successfully. In the end everything worked out for the dinner with helpers to hand and nothing forgotten or burnt and games played. I got a seasonal cd, well it was by The Cranberries, which we also played. It has the additional advantage that a few tracks look like suitable blog titles.

We were unaffected by storm Gerrit. Sometimes no news really is good news. Many people had a disrupted time, with ruined plans, cancelled travel and evacuation. We did not have to change any plans but made plans for walks and cycling around the weather. I managed to take advantage of a concert advertised at short notice. An ex teacher from the special school I worked in for many years was doing an organ and piano recital. I went with my sister and fitted in cafe visits and admiring the nearby episcopalian church grounds with a labyrinth and ancient buildings, currently serving as a children’s nursery.

Palmerston place Episcopal Church and 17th century buildings, now a nursery

The inimitable John Riley was playing in The Palmerston Place Church of Scotland which had a grand piano as well as an organ. He specialises in improvisation. Attending the concert was a last minute thought for us but for him, while there were set pieces, he didn’t even know what he might be playing at all at some sections as he asked people to shout out notes and he would create a piece instantly based around the notes, in the order they were randomly suggested – a brave party piece! The concert was free with drinks and mince pies so what was not to like! I loved the ceiling in the church too.

I felt fortunate to have that extra event slotted in to the week between Yule and Hogmanay. Pleasant surprises are very welcome. We had an easy Hogmanay plan of an invitation to Kenny and Helena’s and before it a walk with Cath and Michael. I had never noticed this statue of St Francis near them before, oddly sited beside a park in a school playground, though it is the grounds of.Catholic school, the school is St Peter’s, not St Francis.

St Francis and some squirrels

We had Cath’s freshly baked scones afterwards. I haven’t done any baking but we have been well topped up with sweet treats and I am very pleased to have used all the turkey in sandwiches, pie, stir fry, risotto, curry and soup.

On the walk, I kept my feet cosy with my newly knitted socks. Cath is a great fan of the knitted sock and can knit them without the patterns now, I have a while to go before I can manage that. I have begun a baby cardigan and the wool shop owner was very good about looking stuff out for me. I’m generally enjoying the pattern, one I have done before. My recent frustration at having to rip back my knitting was due to me not reading the pattern carefully enough, unlike errors in the pattern like last time.

We rounded up the year altogether with a fine night with Helena and her usual large supply of food and drink of all kinds, good company and a surprise game of epic hill cycle top trumps. Then we all went outside to appreciate  an excellent colourful firework display to start the new one. My back twinged slightly  as I was fetching my coat. A timely reminder that top of my list of new year resolutions is doing my physio exercises daily. In the end quite a bit  of your luck is made by what you do,  how you plan and the opportunities you seize.