Runs in the family...
It's a long time since I've felt quite as tired as I do tonight. Even that crazy climb in Arran a couple of months ago didn't quite knock me for six the way today has, but then it was sunny and still quite warm and I was, it seems, a decade younger than I feel now...
Of course I'm being over-dramatic. But it's been a long day, beginning in the dark of the supermarket car park at 7.45am. The shopping was fine - hardly any customers - although I was bedevilled by the lingering aroma - even in an empty aisle - of a fellow-shopper who seemed to be drowned in stale perfume, probably on her jacket. Am I alone in growing up with the injunction that one should never let perfume onto your garments?
What with breakfast and remembering to put the sourdough loaf in the oven (hot, 45 minutes, don't forget the tray of water), I had a bit of a rush to get myself together and up to the church for a couple of hours of singing. Yes, it was two hours - there may be restrictions abounding, but it's still the season for practising seasonal music. The weather was cold outside, and tending to thin rain, and the interior of the church was baltic, with the chill striking up from the stone flags. By the time we'd finished - and yes, it sounded lovely - I was so cold I had stopped thinking.
The rather lovely thing about it all made for the composite photo on this blip. A couple of the pieces we were working on came from the Oxford Book of Carols, and my copy was my mother's, given to her in 1943 by her parents - I recognise my grandmother's writing. She subsequently gave it to me as a present when I started to sing in my late teens (I preferred playing in the school orchestra before that). I had come home raving about This is the Truth Sent from Above, having just heard it for the first time, to be told that she had a copy of it - and I remember how satisfied I felt at that. On the back inside pages are notes in my mother's inimitable hand of where to find different carols that she needed to turn up - probably while singing in the Glasgow Cathedral Choral Society, to which she used to vanish every Thursday evening.
And the red roses? They are the very last buds of the year from Josephine Bruce, now opening in the warmth of the dining room.
The day ended with a FaceTime call from my youngest grandchild, Anna, who was 10 today. I think I'll celebrate by posting the poem I wrote after that freezing day when she was born:
She came with the first snow,
the Advent child, a small, crumpled flower
opening beneath the hard stars.
The tiny clever hand has minute nails
and closes warm around my soul.
The dark eyes seem serene and filled
with unborn wisdom far beyond
the knowledge born of age.
My world contracts to hold this
shining moment in a timeless breath
as the snow falls and the world stops
and all the Advent waiting seems to end
in this new child, this vulnerable love
melting the frozen darkness
from the winter of my heart.