Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I like the sense of caesura that comes between Christmas and New Year. The news appears to kindly stop. All the Radio Four schedules are festively rearranged (although of course The Archers stops for no man). Although the shops are open, they do not feel as if they are open. There is a low feeling of pause.
I make tomato soup for my mother. On my morning walk, I run into my sister and the two nieces, and we forensically discuss every aspect of Christmas. (Deconstruction of this kind is vital for family peace of mind. Also: it makes us laugh a lot.) In the Co-op, I find the lovely step-nephew stocking up on green vegetables and the good chocolate biscuits. He has the adorable great nephew with him, who is, as usual, observing the world with thoughtful gravity and provoking a great deal of clucking, on account of his great beauty.
It makes me think of my unfashionable belief in the Whig view of history. (Ha. You weren't necessarily expecting that, were you?) The sight of a father and tiny son out together is not remarkable now, but only a generation ago it was almost unthinkable. The step-nephew does not swank around, as if to say, look at me, being a new man, with my little chap. He's just doing what comes naturally, because he loves his boy. When I was small, my own dad was very sweet with us, a source of hugs and jokes, but he did not take us anywhere or even do very much with us. Children were the province of the women. My mum did once pack us off to see The Lady and the Tramp at the Newbury ABC, but the whole thing was a disaster. We got there too late and had to sit in separate seats, which was quite traumatising since I was only five, and Dad did not understand the vital importance of getting in the Kia-Ora at the interval. (Remember the days when films had an interval, and the lady walked down to the front with her tray to sell orange juice and ice creams and boxes of Maltesers?)
I quite often look at my male friends with their small people and marvel at it. They are so easy with the children; there is no sense of seen and not heard. I say: this is progress. It might not be a smooth upward curve, but it is curving, all the same. So that is my happy post-Christmas thought.
It was another dreich old morning, but in my continuing quest to find the beauty even under dank skies, I focussed my camera and concentrated. And there it was.
I am growing quite obsessed with the delicate loveliness of the bare branches in my garden:
My friend the Man of Letters found me this amazing tree stump a few years ago, and dragged it back from the woods, and put it in the wild part of the garden, where I think it looks like a sculpture by a brilliant artist:
A tree, with mist:
My favourite kind of combination of moss and stick and lichen:
The old fallen tree trunks:
I love this little pair:
Sister, with nieces:
Intent look on faces is because they think they have heard some kind of wildlife scuttling about in the trees:
Today's view of the hill, wreathed in mist and looking really rather evocative:
I hope you, too, are having some quiet.
Oh, and may I just say, for those of you to whom this means anything: ENGLAND WON THE ASHES.
And: HA HA HA HA.
One must not gloat or be triumphalist or any of those vulgar things, but after years and years of Australian taunting about how the Poms cannot bat, bowl, or hold a catch, there is a very sweet savour about this marvellous victory.