Work has been very, very busy this past week. One night I found myself cycling home in the small hours of the morning – I could have got a taxi but I didn’t fancy it – and Grafton Street was all lit up and quite deserted and it was absolutely beautiful in a way that this photo doesn’t quite convey.
One night I had to go back to the office building about 8 in the evening and with Covid and everything else, the building was empty and dark except for the emergency lights. When I stepped into the downstairs reception in the dark (doubtless a health and safety hazard) I was overwhelmed by the smell of pine and sure enough, by the light of my phone, I saw a real Christmas tree in reception which was lovely and a lot of effort for the few of us who are left in the building.
My sister bought me a box of 24 jams and chutneys in small jars as a very welcome advent present. I deployed the raspberry jam today to make an apple and jam toasted sandwich for herself who was flying out to her applied maths class. She ate it in the car and she said to me, “You know, this is delicious.” This filled me with joy because, cooking is not one of my core skills and my children are rarely enthused by my offerings. Also, I used my mother’s toasted sandwich maker which she bought in France about 40 years ago and which she would love to see still in regular use.
We’re still sticking cloves in oranges. Note fancy patterns.I bought gold and silver aerosol spray paint last week. This week I deployed it in the shed. Delighted with myself. I sprayed everything. Behold two pine cones which I stuck on top of the Aga. The corner of instagram I inhabit shows amazing Aga decorated for Christmas content but, I am unconvinced. If you deck your Aga or around it in foliage, it will soon be desiccated foliage. I am pleased with my minimalist solution.
I have taken the Christmas ware out of the press in the utility room and brought it into service.
Presents are flooding in. Gratifying. I moved spare school books from under a table to create room for the presents. I went to put them in the press in the hall only to find it full to the brim of Junior Cycle school books and past exam papers (some still pristine in their cellophane wrappers). As the children are all past Junior Cycle now, I decided to give them away on freecycle. I wanted to give them all to one person rather than have a stream of people coming to the house so, to discourage time wasters, I stipulated that whoever took them would have to take them all. That was a week ago and nobody has messaged me. I appear to have significantly over-estimated the potential popularity of Irish language Junior Cycle materials.
Yesterday was the centenary of the burning of Cork by the Black and Tans. I can’t help thinking about my Cork city relatives and how shocked and angry they must have been. My granny died when I was 12 and I don’t ever remember her mentioning it. I must ask my father and my aunt what she thought.
I finished my online Christmas shopping today. The relief. It meant spending much of the day sitting at the computer on a weekend which feels a bit too like work for comfort but it is done. Christmas cards tomorrow, if I’m feeling strong. And the Christmas tree. Online bookclub Kris Kindle tonight. One of those presents from under the table will be opened anyhow.
For those of you here for Gategate updates, all has gone silent. Alarming.
*Herself has got really into old English recently. This is the old English for Christmas she tells me. Apparently there are only 30,000 lines of old English extant and she is planning to read them. As a jumping off point she has bought herself a book from which she keeps quoting. I am irresistibly reminded of the elves in the Lord of the Rings films. Apparently I’m a philistine.