Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Someone at work tells me that a 'feast' in the Catholic tradition means a celebration of eight days.

Like the idea: maybe all celebrations should last several days. My birthday celebrations are limping on. Always difficult to celebrate in the midst of office Christmas parties. Someone a few feet from me has bare legs and diamante sandals. The coal fire isn't lit, strangely. Outside driving rain and wind on Pall Mall.

Three hundred miles away, things are ready for Christmas.

Shining leaves of pagan light in the depths of winter - the shine of holly and ivy thought to be magical in winter when everything else lost its colour. They say it's bad luck to take ivy indoors. Luckily glorious holly - speckled with the symbolic blood of Christ? - has no such aura. Stored (above) in a bucket in the cold in a shed in Cornwall until it's time to take indoors.

Feast too the name of a cookery book (a Christmas present a few years ago - alas never much opened) by Nigella Lawson. The trial continues: more testimony today from assistants accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands. They are out to discredit her and it is as if she is on trial. So many details aired in public - drug use, florists' bills, rolled up bank notes, white powder around her nostrils - who knows whether true or not. But the suggestions are like debris - flotsam somehow washing up against her.


Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy