Archive for December, 2021

steady rain

Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

Steady rain. Refilling any water collecting containers left in place for that purpose. Not that any of them will already be less than full to the brim. I need to empty the water buts around the greenhouse as I didn’t clean them out last year and at one stage a blockage stopped my self levelling system from working. The sound of the rain is very relaxing. This is nothing new but significant enough to be restated. 

I hear some noises from the kitchen and the occasional sound upstairs. A radio programme comes in and out of hearshot as the listener moves around.

The beech hedge, not copper beech, is very rusty brown. I didn’t notice the change. Not much will be moving in the garden in this weather. No avian activity. I’ve certainly not been sent any flight plans. They don’t normally bother anyway 🙂

A red and a blue balloon lie motionless on the conservatory floor. Leftovers from a Boxing Day birthday.

This morning at 6.30 when I took up the tea the gleaming wet path stood out as the only visible thing in the back garden. Next door’s fir tree stood silhouetted against the pre dawn sky.

The new tarpaulin, carefully tied around the patio furniture, has already come adrift. Sigh. Gotta go. Just William on four.

27th december 2021

Monday, December 27th, 2021

The lawn is at its lowest ebb in the flow of the seasons. Appearance unloved, forlorn. Staring at it engenders the shutdown of the brain as any real thoughts are smothered by the seemingly hopeless disposition of the grass. Were it frozen there would be some mitigation, justification of the sitch.

In the house Handel’s Messiah is playing quietly. Neville Marriner. A few jobs have been ticked off and I’m taking advantage of the opportunity for a quiet sit down in front of the fire. The fire is set but not yet lit. I’m hoping it will light naturally from the embers. Save a match 🙂 Normally catches light eventually.

It is the day after Boxing Day. The feasting has been in full fling for a few days and a slight toning down is called for, especially as I was asleep by 9pm last night. Again. There is plenty to keep us entertained and I have a swim booked for 1pm. I’m in two minds about this. It will undoubtedly do me good but is certainly a great contrast with what has gone before it for the past few days. There is time yet to decide.

This is the first Christmas with none of our parents around. Last year we had dad here and I sensed it might be his last. He was getting very weak and awash with the problems of old age. It was really fantastic that we were able to have him here. A great contrast with the subsequent “covid” isolation that ultimately did for him.

The passing of parents should send out a strong signal to get on with life. Just having turned 60 I am fortunate to be able to make fundamental directional changes to my own path. In 2022 I shall only be a part timer in the world of telecommunications and internet and have time to devote to side projects, some of which are already becoming mainstream.

Anne’s Vans is such an entity. Having started with one van 5 of 6 years ago we will be going into the 2022 season with four. This will merit me spending more time on that business. It is a very rewarding activity. Customers bring vans back and tell us what a fantastic time they have had. What’s not to like?

I also want to spend more time writing. I have one or two projects in mind that will soak up the days. See how I get on. The other activity is getting out and about more, exercising. I have the pool, the bike and want to do more walking.

Telecoms will still very much be there but I’ve decided to focus more on the bits that I like doing. Hence part time. 6 days a month is the notional plan. It’s all about taking the stress out of life and maximising the fulfilment. I like the people at Netaxis which is a company on a nice trajectory so it will be good to maintain links in there.

That’s it for the mo. I could probably fit something else in if the right offer came along but it isn’t something I’m particularly chasing.

The nice thing about this plan is that it leaves room for ad hoc activities. For example we are eyeing up a trip to see My Fair Lady in May or June sometime. Nice little mid week trip to town. There is here an element of risk. To make sure of seats you have to book early but at this stage the hotels are expensive. They will come down in price, presumably. 

The other curveball is that I am organising a conference in Antwerp (as you do) sometime in the spring. Not nailed the dates yet. Feels as if this is something I need to get on with during the first week in January. It’s an incentive innit.

Nothing feels guaranteed or straightforward these days, certainly from a planning travel perspective. In February Anne and I are looking at a nice little trip to Brussels (work), Antwerp (work and play) and Amsterdam (total self indulgence at the Waldorf Astoria) but this is entirely contingent on these countries being amenable to our turning up without having to isolate in our hotel rooms for the whole trip.

When I booked the Waldorf I was immediately asked for our travel plans and arrival time. I told them this was a little ambitious at this early stage. Amsterdam is handy though as it is a short hop home from there via Humberside, particularly in comparison to the 8 or so hours elapsed time when travelling to Brussels. My gut tells me we won’t be going but the next two or three weeks will give us more of a feel.

Time for a swim. Anne tells me there were only four people in the pool when she went…

Hark! the herald angels sing

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

Hark! the herald angels sing:
‘Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!’
Joyful, all ye nations, rise!
Join the triumphs of the skies!
With th’angelic host proclaim:
‘Christ is born in Bethlehem!’

Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King. 

Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see!
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell:
Jesus, our Emmanuel!

Hail!, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Adeste, fideles – O come all ye faithful

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

Adeste, fideles, 
Laeti triumphantes,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem!
Natum videte, Regem Angelorum!

Venite adoremus!
Venite adoremus!
Venite adoremus

O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!
Come and behold Him, 
Born the King of Angels!

O come let us adore Him, x3
Christ the Lord!

God of God,
Light of Light,
Lo! He abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
Very God, 
Begotten, not created.

See how the shepherds
Summoned to his cradle,
Leaving their flocks draw nigh to gaze!
We, too, will thither
Bend our hearts’ oblations.

Lo, star led chieftains,
Magi, Christ adoring,
Offer him incense, gold and myrrh;
We to the Christ-child
Bring our hearts’ oblations.

Child, for us sinners,
Poor and in the manger,
Fain we embrace thee with love and awe;
Who would not love thee,
Loving us so dearly?

Sing, choirs of angels!
Sing in exultation!
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
‘Glory to God
In the highest.’

Yea, Lord we greet thee,
Born this happy morning;
Jesu, to thee be glory given,
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing.

Last verse traditionally only sung on Christmas Day itself.

The first ‘Nowell!’

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

The first ‘Nowell!’ the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Nowell! nowell! nowell! nowell,
Born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the east beyond them far;
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.

And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from country far;
To seek for a King was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.

This star drew nigh to the north-west:
O’er Bethlehem it took its rest;
And there it did both stop and stay,
Right over the place where Jesus lay.

Then did they know assuredly
Within that house the king did lie;
One entered in then for to see,
And found the babe in poverty.

Then entered in those wise men three,
Full reverently upon their knee,
And offered there, in his presence,
Both gold and myrrh, and frankincense.

Between an ox-stall and an ass
This Child there truly borned was;
For want of clothing they did him lay
All in the manger, among the hay.

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made heaven and earth of nought,
And with his blood mankind hath bought.

If we in our lifetime shall do well
We shall be free from death and hell,
For God hath prepared for us all
A resting-place in general.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me:

a partridge in a pear tree
two turtle doves
three French hens
four cally birds
five gold rings
six geese a laying
seven swans a swimming
eight maids a milking
nine   ladies dancing
ten lords a leaping
eleven pipers piping
twelve drummers drumming

Deck the hall with boughs of holly

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

Deck the hall with boughs of holly:
‘Tis the season to be jolly!
Fill the mead cup drain the barrel
Troll the ancient Christmas Carol

See the flowing bowl before us!
Strike the harp and join the chorus!
Follow me in merry measure,
While I tell of beauty’s treasure.

Fast away the old year passes,
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses!
Laughing, quaffing, all together,
Heedless of the wind and weather.

We wish you a merry Christmas

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

We wish you a merry Christmas x3
And a happy new year!

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Now bring us a figgy pudding x3
And bring it us here!

Oh we won’t go until we’ve got some x3
So give it us here!

Oh we all like figgy pudding x 3
So bring it out here!

The angel Gabriel from heaven came

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame:
‘All hail,’ said he, ‘thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favoured lady!’ Gloria!

‘For known a blessed Mother thou shalt be;
All generations laud and honour thee:
Thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold.
Most highly favoured lady!’ Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head;
‘To me be as it pleaseth God!’ she said.
‘My soul shall laud and magnify his holy Name.’
Most highly favoured lady!’ Gloria!

Of her Emmanuel, the Christ, was born,
In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn;
And Christian folk throughout the world will ever say:
Most highly favoured lady!’ Gloria!

We three kings of Orient are

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

We three kings of Orient are,
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a king on Bethlehem’s plain,
Gold I bring to crown him again,
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign.

Frankincense to offer have I,
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising all men raising,
Worship Him, God on high.

Myrrh is mine; Its bitter perfume
Breaths a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Glorious now behold Him arise,
King, and God and sacrifice.
Heaven sing: ‘Alleluia’;
‘Alleluia’ the earth replies.

Ding! dong! merrily on high

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

Ding! dong! merrily on high
In heav’n the bells are ringing;
Ding dong! verily the sky
Is riv’n with angel singing.

Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis! Gloria!

E’en so here below, below,
Let steeple bells be swungen,
And ‘Io, io, io!’
By priest and people sungen.

Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers;
May you beautifully rime
Your evetime song, ye singers!

Silent night! holy night!

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

Silent night! holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child;
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Silent night! holy night!

Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing: ‘Alleluia!
Christ the Saviour, is born!
Christ the Saviour, is born!

Silent night! holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light,
Radiant, beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!

While shepherds watched their flocks by night

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.

‘Fear not!’ said he; (for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind),
‘Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.

‘To you, in David’s town, this day
Is born of David’s line,
The Saviour, who is Christ the Lord;
And this shall be the sign:

‘The heavenly babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid.’

Thus spake the seraph; and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels, praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song:

‘All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from highest heaven,
Begin and never cease.’

In the bleak mid-winter

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter,
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain:
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God almighty
Jesus Christ.

Enough for him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breast full of milk
And a manger full of hay:
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him
Give my heart.

God rest you merry, gentlemen

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Saviour
Was born on Christmas Day
To save poor souls from Satan’s power
Which had long time gone astray.

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy!

From God that is our Father
The blessed angels came,
Unto some certain shepherds
With tidings of the same:
That there was born in Bethlehem
The Son of God by Name.

‘Go fear not,’ said God’s angels,
‘Let nothing you afright
For there is born in Bethlehem,
Of a pure virgin bright,
One able to advance you
And throw down Satan quite’

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest storms of wind;
And straight they came to Bethlehem
The Son of God to find.

Now when they came to Bethlehem,
Where our sweet Saviour lay,
They found him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
The blessed Virgin, kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.

With sudden joy and gladness
The shepherds were beguiled,
To see the Babe of Israel
Before his mother mild;
On them with joy and cheerfulness
Rejoice each mother’s child.

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
Like we true loving brethren
Each other to embrace,
For the merry time of Christmas
Is drawing on apace.

God bless the ruler of this house,
And send him long to reign,
And many a merry Christmas
May live to see again
Among your friends and kindred
That live both far and near.