December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

 

I’m not READY.  Hells, I’m not started.  I REALLY must get the Christmas decorations out of the attic at Third House . . . tomorrow.  Must.  Really.  Our nice little plastic tree has one rather serious disadvantage, which is that it’s a ratbag to put together* . . . and after Peter retires snarling** I will have to slam all the ornaments on at extreme speed.***  I ALSO HAVE TO WRAP ALL THE PRESENTS.  Well, all of Peter’s presents.  I withdraw further and further from the whole Christmas thing every year—the official clan and/or people I don’t know very well and/or owe favours to tend to get plants by post† and charity certificates of one sort or another.††  Peter still gets presents.†††  Which means WRAPPING.‡

            I have a novel to write.  In five weeks.‡‡

             . . . .I’m listening to Handel’s MESSIAH on Radio 3.  A while back, and I can’t remember which singing thread, there was a certain amount of giggling on the forum about how doing it yourself makes you more critical of other singers, and I meant to say, but I think I never did, that it also makes you more in awe of other singers.  How do they do that.  Wow.  Golly.  Swoon.  Adore.  Despair. †††  What I do find absolutely true however is that doing it myself, however feebly, engages me in other people’s performances to a degree that is sometimes frelling inconvenient.  It’s beginning to remind me of what a cow I can be about other people’s books—I don’t care if it won the Pulitzer, it’s not good enoughwhich is marginally more understandable in my professional field.  It’s just shameless when I start getting snippy-pernickety about singers.  But . . . this is a very nice MESSIAH, but where is the passion?  ‘He Was Despised’ shouldn’t be beautiful, it should make you cry.§  

* * *

* Peter does this.  But I’m not giving him much running-in time.  

** This is approximately the only time all year that I see Peter snarl. 

*** Fortunately there are rarely speed traps in Peter’s sitting room. 

† Which I’m extremely relieved to report seem mostly to have arrived with a loud simultaneous thump today.  This includes mine.^  One of which is clearly frost damaged and since there hasn’t been any local frost in several days^^ has to have happened en route somewhere.  SIIIIIGH.  The fact that any recipient of a little frill of festively decorated twigs that looks more like a voodoo fetish than a live plant will know that it’s not my fault is very little comfort.  

^ Since they have this system for the orderer to order something for herself by ticking ‘myself’ during check-out, you’d think they could follow this through so that ‘myself’ doesn’t receive a card that says, ‘look inside for a message from the person who gave you this gift!’ and in my case says ‘Happy Christmas, Mrs McKinley Dickinson!’ which begs the question slightly about ‘to’ and ‘from’.  ^^^ 

^^ Except the imaginary kind that gives the indoor jungle something to complain about the nights I don’t bring it in.  At the moment I can’t bring it in, the top of the hellhound crate is covered with not-yet-wrapped Christmas presents.  One them is kind of . . . large.  No frost tonight.  NO FROST TONIGHT.  ARE YOU LISTENING?  —It was tipping it down earlier, creating a bottleneck of wet, cranky, last-minute-shopping people midtown even of little New Arcadia.  Hellhounds and I sat in Wolfgang, listening to the rain drumming on the roof and feeling smug, having returned from our hurtle about forty-five seconds before the heavens opened.+  I am now paying for this complacency, as the frelling weather has cleared off and the temperature is dropping . . . and dropping . . . ++ 

+ I spent that forty-five seconds chatting to Phineas, who encouraged me to let the air out of the tyres of Mr Gormless, should I be so unfortunate as to have contact with his misdeeds again, and whom Phineas apostrophises as not the full shilling.  

++ Speaking of plants, Katinseattle wanted to know about this one from Gemma’s gift:  http://www.hardys-plants.co.uk/product.asp?plant=131  

^^^ There’s a Schrodinger’s cat opportunity here, although in this instance the cat is permitted to be alive in both its states. 

†† I give driblets and drablets all over the shop including the obvious big guns like Amnesty, Greenpeace, Medecins sans Frontieres, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children—insert your forty-six favourite charities here.  But I do like to give slightly cheerful things at Christmas, although I realise this is the wrong attitude for celebrating the birthday of someone who was willing to be crucified in the hope it would do the rest of us some good. 

            Admirable intentions don’t always translate into reliable admin, and there are several Big Holy Green Guys I will no longer touch with a barge pole, but for anyone who’s interested, here are a few UK furry-critter organisations that I’ve been subscribing to successfully for years.

http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/c/VirtualGifts.htm?utm_source=rspbwebsite&utm_medium=navigation&mediacode=T06ITH0221

What they offer you varies from year to year, but I’ve put in an awful lot of hedgerows.  

http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/sponsor/default.aspx?view=all

Lurchers and sighthoundy critters never seem to need sponsoring, or not for long.  At present I sponsor Hamish.  I admit I have just a flicker of doubt about these guys:  your sponsoree never dies, they’re always placed with a private owner and so don’t need sponsoring any more.  Really?  

http://www.guidedogsgiving.org.uk/sponsorapuppy/?gclid=CJju7qCnma0CFUUPfAodYFhsmg

I’ve been doing this so long and they roll over so fast I can’t remember the name of the current half-grown critter.  But the cuteness factor is extreme.  Not only do you receive regular ‘pupdates’ of your own protégé but they send you stuff like the Guide Dog Puppy Calendar every year which is all little fat furry darlings and is a good thing to stare at while you’re waiting for your first cup of tea of the day to turn black. 

              And I’d belonged to the Bat Conservation Trust for years before I realised I had a problem.  I hadn’t noticed you can now adopt bats.  I, of course, don’t need to.^

http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/adopt_a_bat.html 

^ Hee hee hee http://www.bats.org.uk/ecards.php?action=ecard&id=43 

††† So do a variety of friends.  But rarely at Christmas.  Or at their birthdays.  When I get around to it.  Sometimes it takes years.  There’s this box in the corner of my bedroom. . . . 

‡ I suppose the next boundary to withdraw over is wrapping . . . but stuff looks so pretty after it’s been wrapped.^  I’m hyperventilating slightly about Peter’s Very Large Present however.  It’s . . . Very Large. 

^ Aside from questions of blog photos. 

‡‡ Only four people showed up for tower practise tonight YAAAAY.  We hardy few barely waited the obligatory quarter-hour before declaring a bust and all rushed downstairs and out into the night.  The other three may have gone to the pub.  I went home to SHADOWS.  Which is still going well, except for the ‘five weeks’ part. 

‡‡‡ Why don’t I take up knitting?^ 

^ I haven’t ripped out the leg warmers lately.  Because I’m cravenly knitting hellhound squares. 

§ Sung in this case by one of my new heroes, Iestyn Davies.  How embarrassing.  But . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH3E64G0oCI

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