Monday, 30 November 2020

Preparing for Advent 2020

 Every now and again I go on to Instagram to check in on my sons' virtual worlds! I had a browse this afternoon, pretending to myself that I was putting parenting before dishes and not just surfing the waves of procrastination. One of them had posted a picture of our Christmas tree, stating the location as Lapland, North Pole, and announcing, "Here we go again!" I'm not sure if that was typed in a tone of excitement or resignation, but I'm hoping it was more enthusiastic than prematurely cynical! I'm too afraid to ask him.

Now, I know that we have always been very strict about 1st December being the only acceptable first mention of all things Christmas related. This year, however, we have been switching the lights on for days. I think the whole nation feels the need to be at least bright, if jolly is too ambitious. 

We went ahead with our Preparing for Advent morning on Saturday. We put the usual reflection and cookery on to this youtube playlist, but kind and talented folk also gave us musical and skincare videos, and the schools SU worker for our area made us a video about her work. And then we zoomed. Are you feeling jaded with zoom? I don't do more than one a week usually, so the opportunity to connect is still manageable. I was still amazed by this zoom though. Everyone was so open and honest that it felt as if we nearly were all sitting in our circle, listening supportively. It was such a blessing. 

We're not trying to find new ways to do many other traditional things at all. We are going to take a year off planning and parties and panic, and sit as quietly and attentively as we can in this Advent journey to a Covid Christmas. We're grateful for the hope of a vaccine that could mean that it will be just this one bare year. This is the video that I put up. Dedicated to Mary Kathryn, to whom I always mean to send my little Northern Irish accent!

Sunday, 1 November 2020

First weekend in November


The hurricane tree lost its last leaves sometime in the middle of the week. I had been watching them carefully, but then they were suddenly all gone even before Storm Aidan blasted through this weekend. The skies are steely, the days are getting dark, and it's now November so, while it's not really cold enough yet, I suppose I'll have to start getting ready for Winter!

What I'm still reading then this Winter: Psalms right up to Old Year's Night, and I'm in Psalm 119 now. I didn't know that it's an acrostic poem - every one of those intriguingly titled sections represents a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and in the original every line of each section starts with that letter.  Also still reading Kierkegaard's Lilies and I should really read the last essays in my William Morris book. I think I'm not going to try to read anything else, except maybe Ali Smith's Autumn and Winter. Oh and I find I'm already looking forward to Rosamond Pilcher's Winter Solstice (I do love that Scottish house with its big Belfast sink). But mostly I'm finding it hard to settle my mind to reading. It was the same at the start of Lockdown - I just couldn't still myself. I feel some of the same unsettled fragility just now.

What I'll be making this Winter: up to Christmas it will be all about Cushla's Comfort blanket. PC helped me do some hard ratio sums today based on the seven out of 26 balls of yarn used thus far and I think it might turn out alright in the end. Still spending Wednesday Hookery zooms on my shawl. Still hoping to make the Harris Tweed Christmas presents pouches before Christmas! And would I be able to make ten crochet bauble covers for the ten teachers in my school department? We'll see...

What I'm doing: the course - first assignment submitted last week - and swimming. I was in the Lough this morning so that definitely feels like winter swimming if I got to November! Will I still be swimming in the first weekend in December? Oh, what an exciting question!

Here's the maple tree right outside our living room window. It's gloriously vibrantly defiantly red, during the day when we can see it glow. So it's my next leaf counting project.


 

Happy St Patrick's Day!

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