So I just sent out the last e-mail Christmas 'cards', half a dozen or so to those we reckon might not see a virtual one as unacceptable insouciance or cheap-skating or who never send us a card anyway. I used one of today's photos, added text and made a coloured background, then set about personalising and adapting them, only to find that, having sent one in French to a French friend, I had erased the text I'd sent to her but forgotten to change Lucy et Tom to 'Lucy and Tom' in all the subsequent ones to anglophone recipients. An ampersand would have been a better idea. What bothers me about this is not that I have exposed myself as absent-minded and inept, or even a copy-and-paste correspondent, but that it might conceivably look as though I was attempting some kind of pretentious affected Franglais to prove how jolly cosmopolitan I am and how effortlessly I move between languages etc which is a thing I can't abide and which reflects no kind of truth about the situation. So if you got one, my apologies and please take it from me it's the ineptitude option.
I like to get a post done to wish you all well on Christmas Eve, but often find I've run out of steam somewhat by the time I get here. In fact I have been filling a stocking with small stones over the last week or two, to get in practice and also to have something to hang up here tonight if all else failed. But then Mol and I went for a walk and took some pictures leaving Tom to play with chicken stock in the kitchen, so you can perhaps have the stocking tomorrow morning, and look at some landscape for now.
We seem to have had all kinds of weather lately, most of it dreary, though none of it intemperate, so a day of sun in and out of the house was most welcome. As you can see, there are still flashes and sheens of gold to be seen in the countryside, and we have all manner of confused spring and summer flowers still blooming in fits and starts. As a friend said the other day, it seems as if it will go from autumn to spring with nothing in between this time. But I wouldn't be sure, it can still have something up its sleeve, no doubt, and I do feel we need a touch of ice for our health's sake.
Mol has been going a bit short of exercise one way and another, the last time we tried to walk it was cold and she suddenly went all poorly and pathetic, holding up her paw and wouldn't walk any further, though she was chirpy enough when she got home, after being carried much of the way, hmm. Then the other morning she got up and seemed to be afflicted with cramp, squealed horribly for a few moments, limped downstairs, then by the time she came in from the garden she was fine again - none of this looked as though it was ear-related, but seemed to be around her forequarters.
So it's time for her to wear her neck-warmer! This is an old one of mine, a bit small for me but fine for her, and rather a fetching colour on her, we think. She wears it happily and walked very well for an hour today.
We came home in time for tea and the last of the mince pies and Nine Lessons and Carols on Radio 4. A nice one, I hadn't heard 'The First Tree in the Greenwood' for a long time. We pottered in the kitchen for a while - I'm very appreciative that the level of busy-ness I experience at Christmas is largely of my own choosing, as much or as little as I wish, and I enjoy it. We considered the telly but decided to skip it, anything we might have watched we'd either seen before or it wasn't that compelling, and then Tom surprised and pleased me by putting on The Messiah, which is still going. Just us tomorrow and Boxing Day, dinner with friends the next day, then dear step-daughter is coming over, on her own and just for a couple of days at the beginning of the New Year, which was another lovely surprise. 'Step-daughter' always sounds very inappropriate in terms of our relationship for all sorts of reasons, yet I find I now want a way of placing her which involves 'my' rather than referring to as her 'Tom's daughter' all the time. I hope, of course, that she is my friend, but that doesn't explain how we came to be here. I have an inclination to say 'daughter-in-law', and in French of course the distinction would not be made, but then, while she would be the rather nice-sounding belle-fille I would be a belle-mère which brings us back to Snow White, Cinderella et al.
Well now Mister Händel is just winding up with the big Amen, and it only remains for me to wish you all the very best of the season and the holiday, whatever it means and brings to you, and a fond goodnight.