Getting there?…or are we there now?

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Today is the first day of one of the sections of the Church’s calendar..Advent Sunday, and was traditionally when we start talking of, and preparing for, Christmas. One of our great Carols, ‘O Come all ye Faithful’, has a final verse ‘Yea, Lord we Greet Thee’, which we do not sing until Christmas morning. So we are prepared to wait.

The world is somewhat different however. We don’t need to wait until the end of the month to buy something- we can always borrow money, Seasons all run into each other, Sales are an all-year event, holidays away are occurring most weekends during the year, international sports events can be seen on TV at any time, central heating has meant that we can keep warm right through winter (money permitting), and the idea of ‘seasonal’ fruit and vegetables doesn’t exist now.

So we seem to have lost the ‘order of things’. I remember the song ‘The Green Leaves of Summer’ which told of the fact that there are specific times for living and dying, sowing and reaping etc. But we seem to have lost this concept. Do you remember in youth when the football would be put away and the cricket bat or tennis racquet would suddenly appear? But now we can see these sports on TV from any part of the world. The coming of indoor pitches also means that many sports can be played through the year. The mixed-up weather patterns has also meant that we have already had snow in November and birds have been migrating at different times.

Will we ever see see a return to a more ‘ordered’ system, or I am living some kind of dream which never really existed?

PS….for those, North of the Border, it is also St Andrew’s Day…Patron Saint of Scotland

So Soon?

The Christmas lights have been put up today on the lamp-posts in our area!…..and we haven’t had Hallowe’en! 

WHY?

In a time of financial strictures and fuel poverty, I think there are probably better and more pressing uses for the money. And why were they putting them up on a Sunday?…..was there an extra-time bonus involved?

They are pretty when switched-on, but I think I would rather see the footpaths improved or a special payment to OAPs to help with fuel……there are many other more pressing needs.

Now we have only to look-out for the first Christmas tree in a window!

The Last Post?

Not really….I hope it isn’t my last post to the blog before Christmas, but I felt I had to have my fix, before the festive season.

At work, we normally leave the last week of the work-year relatively free from non-important appointments so that we can deal with emergency patients…..and this year was not exception….we were choc-a-bloc! The rest of the staff were of course, also very busy, so we did not have much time to relax. The presence and consumption-of sweets and biscuits from grateful customers, and suppliers, did help to make this last week a bit different!

Thick fog, general dampness, filthy vehicles, packed shops with over-worked staff, cold hands, overly-decorated houses with hundreds of lights, dangerously-excessive spending in the shops are all present at this time and can be a bit depressing; on the other hand we are at the turning of the night/day ratio so daylight will get a bit longer, there is a brightness in children’s eyes, a willingness to give to Charities not always seen at other times of the year, and a chance to stop and look back over the past year.

2007 is a year for us (as no doubt for many others) which has caused much anguish with our move to another Church, the health problems of both Son and Daughter, financial instability within our profession, being amonst the bigger worries, ……and yet,….. and yet, we are all still here, we are still a strong family and things do look to be getting better.

So as we pause at the Nine Lessons and Carols  on Sunday afternoon, and the Midnight Service on Monday evening, we all have a chance to reflect on what we have done and what we have not done, to make someone’s life a little brighter or more hopeful.

May the Season make you alla little happier.

It might well be a Happier Christmas!

Glad to report that the pains which Son has had to suffer appear to be abating, or are more controlled….still don’t know which. One of the medications has the associated problem of affecting the joints of the hand, and this is now certainly evident. However he has been feeling some relief, and has had a go at a short bit of driving…..so important to the male of the species….with no obvious immediate side effect.

The Young Lady of the House, and I had planned long ago to see in the New Year in Cyprus and had been having to re-consider. However with the help of Daughter (who is a very good organiser) and our next door neighbours (who have offered meals), this should make the break possible. 

We will be at the Midnight Service at the Cathedral on 24th, have our Christmas Day meal, care of Daughter (no dishes to wash!), and head off for Paphos in the early hours of 26th, leaving the house to Son. The freezer will be filled for the time we will be away, so he won’t starve!

If I am not blogging before Christmas, can I wish everyone a Happy and Blessed season.

Buono Natale

S’no very warm outside!

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The weather forecast was right today! We got the first few flakes of snow, in amongst the rain! The cloud-base was so low that we couldn’t see the top of the Campsie Fells (if you don’t know where they are, look up an atlas!), so perhaps they will be covered by the morning.

Why is it that we love the snow at Christmas-time, and especially Christmas Day?

Logically, it is a nuisance for travellers, costs us more in heating, can be dangerous for folk walking on pavements, and makes the birds look about for food. On the other hand it makes the days seem longer and brighter, by reflecting the available light, provides amusement for younger children, and not-so-young children, on sledges and skis.

It gives us the chance to see the wealth of wildlife in the gardens as we feed them and see their courage as they hang upside-down under the pea-nut feeder or fat-ball.

It also has the wonderful ability to cover over all those weeds which we should have pulled, and even the piles of unused flower-pots take on a strange architectural beauty, which the eventual thaw will uncover, and make us feel guilty about the jobs undone!

So, let’s hope that we have enough snow to provide entertainment, but not too much to call major inconveniences to those travelling about.

The worst car  I ever had for driving in snow was, believe it or not, the Swedish Volvo! My old CRV is great in snow and ice. It has just had the 100,000 mile service so is good for this winter at least.

Even if there is not a particularly pleasant lot of weather over the next few weeks, …..’can Spring be far behind?’