Christmas Eve over a lifetime
I was just remarking to Himself earlier that I can’t remember when I last felt relaxed on Christmas Eve. Probably when I was still living at home with my parents - apart from the time when I was booked to sing carols in the Western Infirmary in the afternoon - and even then, I can remember the unfamiliar smell of giblets simmering downstairs as I went to bed, in the days before extractor fans. Later, when we had our first Christmas in Dunoon and were intending to travel to Glasgow with the baby in the morning, I had the first indications of what might be in the future - I had become associated with a church (the same one as now!) and was singing at Midnight in the choir, though not at that time involving Himself, who stayed at home with the baby, and I found myself icing the Christmas cake at 8pm…
Much, much later I posted on Facebook that surely church musicians and clergy suffered the same sensations of pending work at the time when post-prandial stupor normally sets in, though I can tell myself nowadays that at least I’m not having to stuff a turkey before I go. I do recall one Christmas Eve, after dinner was cleared away, summoning my mother to hold up the turkey to make spooning in the stuffing easier - she said if felt like holding up the baby (#2 son was a baby at the time) and we both collapsed in unhelpful giggles. Some years later, when my mother was still up to spending Christmas with us, she was appalled that we would drag our sleepy choirboy son (aged about 9) out of bed to join us in the music of the evening, Himself by then having become the organist. He survived - though I’m not aware that he does much singing these days.
This year’s special stresses? Well, there is singing to be done at midnight - three of us rather than a choir - and though my voice feels in great fettle just now, in the late afternoon, who knows what might happen at bedtime? And then there’s the weather - it’s been blowing, noisily and chillily - from the East all afternoon, and I’ve been anxiously looking out of the window to check that the wonderful Western Ferries are still ploughing back and forth across an increasingly gurly firth. Needing seasickness bands on Christmas morning is an added complication, as is getting to the second ferry of the day, which will necessitate joining the queue well before 11am after a 3am bedtime. But of course, we all have another imponderable this year: all these LTD tests before we are able to join half of my family for Christmas Day and the other half a couple of days later.
So: my case is more or less packed; the parcels are ready to load into the car in the morning; the cake is in its box, protected by bubble wrap (have you ever washed bubble wrap?) and the music for tonight is sorted. By the time I post this (which I’m taking the precaution of writing early) I should have a photo that is not one of the grey, white-capped sea and will be on my way to bed, in the bedroom where the wind has lowered the temperature by at least 5ºC, double glazing notwithstanding. I’ll be blipping on my phone, I hope, for the next four days - and I may even get round to catching up on some more journals!
(Much later ...)
Blipping a moment before the midnight service, before the Advent wreath candles were all lit, including the white one - but the photos I took of it were after midnight, and really belong to Christmas Day!
Wishing all my blip friends the best of whatever they want this festive season.