Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Days of Misrule. ( The Mithril Coat # 2 )

One of the pleasures of growing up is finding yourself preferring Boxing Day and the days after it to Christmas Day. Yes, it's partly to do with Christmass Day being more work and worry when you're an adult, but it's also about relishing the pleasure of savouring, of indolence and gentle misrule, over the excitement of anticipation and getting.

As a child I remember the disappointment as Christmas Day drew to a close, and the year before the next one seemed an eternity,( and to a point it still does, next Christmas still seems unimaginable from here...) The high point of the Day seemed to be everything, all else was anti-climax.

Then, however, I recall a Boxing Day when I was perhaps eleven or twelve, when I managed to stay in my pyjamas and read the whole of a book I had had in my stocking the day before ( Monica Edwards, one of the Romney Marsh ones. Anyone remember Monica Edwards? Probably shows you what kind of little girl I was and why I am what I am. My sharper and more au courant contemporaries were probably reading 'Lord of the Flies' by then, or Alan Garner at the very least, but I was still very happy with Arthur Ransome and Monica Edwards, thank you very much ...) . This required a degree of cunning on my part; I had to sidle off whenever my busy mother noticed I still hadn't dressed or set foot outside the door, and I remember closing the book after the last page and announcing triumphantly that I'd finished it and what's more had stayed in my 'jamas all day! Bliss. I think it must have been at about this time I started to appreciate the Days of Misrule.

Anyway, our Christmas lunch guests were charming and appreciative and just greedy enough. After they'd gone we went to sleep in front of Euronews 'No comment'. Ah, the wonders of digital, ever more channels to fall asleep in front of. We just about woke up for long enough to open the last of the presents, then wound our weary way.

The following day, yesterday, I took a very short walk by the foggy fishpond, where I generally unsuccessfully tried to take some photos of gelid winter hydrangeas until the batteries ran out - the spares I was carrying were also flat, I'm not yet used to having only two in the camera which run out every five minutes. When I came home, I filled a roll with stuffing, pate, cranberry sauce, sausage wrapped in bacon and forget the turkey ( for me, turkey sandwiches are a customary misnomer like mincemeat; there is no turkey involved in the former or meat in the latter) and ate it on the sofa.

I decided perhaps I'd best put the cheese and leftover Brussels sprouts away somewhere after Tom falsely accused Molly of needing a bath after standing downwind of them ( her wounded dignity was made up to by allowing her to lick the turkey serving plate, another act of misrule not normally countenanced; we washed it well and rinsed it in very hot water, honestly...), and spent the rest of the day, between lunch and turkey broth, finishing off the coat I'd been making for Ilan. Initially I was slightly annoyed with myself for not doing this before, and placing a burden of obligation on the idleness of Boxing Day, but sitting at the table in the drabs of the wintry afternoon sun, carefully ladder stitching the lining into final place, the initial struggle of cutting and folding won, listening to the Tallis Scholars and Loreena's 'To Keep the Cold Winter Away', I began to feel absorbed and happy. Sewing is a rare activity these days, but one which is redolent of sensory memory. But perhaps that's another posting.

The final result does not perhaps bear too close examination in its symmetry and details; it is an interesting pattern but I think I would have benefitted from a practice attempt to understand the principle of how it grows and goes together, as it is there are some wonky bits, and I hope it's not too small round the neck. I also couldn't have got another row out of the yarn I had, despite ordering more. So I doubt if dear Emma at Loch Sunart would be using it as a show sample of her beautiful product. The lining was a good idea, though time consuming; it really does help it to sit better. The Princeling will have it today; his Anglo-French family have gathered and been having a confused and confusing time eating Christmas pudding at midnight on Christmas Eve and no doubt indulging in other cross-cultural compromises to which the little mite must needs become accustomed. I daresay he'll cope.

That visit should be our last commitment for a bit, then it'll be all French hens and calling birds, leftovers, books jigsaw puzzles ( Tom's vice, not mine), and DVDs. I've the new Salley Vickers courtesy of my sister, and I've been hoarding Baraka, Chronos, Powaqqatsi and Koyaanisqatsi for this very eventuality.

Enjoy the rest of the Twelve Days.


Rosie said...

you have been very busy indeed. I had such an attack of laziness on boxing day that I reread the last Harry Potter, and the dog didnt even get a walk.

Marly Youmans said...

Happy Third Day! Hope you have a shamelessly good time, right through Twelfth Night...

meggie said...

Enjoy the aftertime. I too, loved Boxing Day. So much less hectic.

I love the little jacket for the Princeling.

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful sheeny garment for the shining one. I absolutely hate all sewing and applaud your will and determination. Happy misule!

Anonymous said...

A great read, Lucy. Misrule is the default state here with all three on the go. A shifting tide of brightly coloured plastic items makes mobility difficult & Em & are tending to confine ourselves to corners of the living room & kitchen, only emerging to mediate in disputes.

Sheila said...

My entire adult working life I've rued the experience of a real Christmas vacation. Growing up with a professor father, I think I thought everyone had a couple of weeks off for Christmas! (This year has been nice, the way the holidays have fallen with the weekends, plus being sick gave me more time at home!)

I never heard of Monica Edwards, but didn't encounter Lord of the Flies until I was 16...and I hated it. Can't imagine I'd feel differently about it now, either.

The little sweater is precious! You must get a picture of him in it!