Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Funny old sort of day. Kim Jong-Il died, which meant almost nothing to me, it felt so remote and unreal. It’s all over Twitter; the papers are full of it. But it just means one ghastly dictator will be succeeded by another and the poor people of North Korea are still for the dark.
Then I heard Vaclav Havel had also died, and I felt desperately sad about that. The Velvet Revolution was one of the seminal moments of my young life. Oddly, it touched me much, much more than the actual fact of the Berlin Wall coming down.
The wall was all jubilation and smashing up the hated concrete; it was like a rave or a street party. Of course it was a defining moment, perhaps one of the great defining moments of the entire century, but it did not reach my heart in quite the same way that the sight of those wonderful silent crowds filling Wenceslas Square did. It was the quietness; it was the candles; there was a great, singing beauty to it.
I remember, very vividly, going out to vote in the next general election. I thought of two things as I put my cross in the box: I thought of the Velvet Revolution and the Suffragettes. What can I tell you? I was a young romantic and I believed that revolutions could be won.
Then, I contemplated domestic things. I have many, many To Do Lists. I have not done any of the things on the list. I thought, vaguely, of going to the Post Office. I decided, vaguely, against. I have to collect the eucalyptus and the ham. There are the presents for the ten godchildren. (I did wonder if I should just inform them all that I have sent goats to Africa on their behalf, but they really would sack me. Actually, I am a terrible godmother where presents are concerned, because mostly I insist on sending them Improving Books, when they would probably much rather have computer games or ready cash.)
Bugger it, I thought. I am not one of the Organised People, and never shall be. My life is not something out of a magazine; it shall never be that neat and shiny. There shall probably always be the last minute Christmas scramble. Just because it is a certain date in December, it does not mean that I suddenly have to come over all perfect. I think my present to myself is to give myself permission to be a little bit hopeless round the edges. That feels about right.
And now, I am going to make some special green soup for strength.
And now for your pictures. It was a low, still sort of day, with an imminent threat of snow, which never, in the end, came. Yet even on a dour sort of day, the colours sang their song.
The beech avenue:
Off went The Pigeon, head down, no messing:
The glorious trunks:
The green and the scarlet:
Looking south to the wooded hills:
The last of the courageous green leaves:
And the final rosehip:
These old leaves are as bright as robin redbreasts:
Whilst these, a little further along, are the delicate colour of Rich Tea biscuits:
One of the apple trees has suddenly, madly, put out little blossoms:
And here is a most delightful ball of box:
And talking of delightful, just look at this Pigeon, sitting up to attention:
And giving me the enduring gaze:
And a rather cloudy hill:
I'm sorry; I suddenly realise this was slightly desultory. I shall get more into the Christmas spirit. I shall, I shall. It may just take a bit of strong liquor.