Sunday 26 November 2023

Under the Lights

 Johnson is sitting, brooding and unimpressed, under his Christmas lights again, and this year I was there to see them being turned on, as our granddaughter was singing carols with her school before the big switch-on. As usual, the sight and sound of children singing the Christmas favourites (especially Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night and, yes, Away in a Manger) filled my eyes with tears and my heart with a familiar potent cocktail of love and memories and thankfulness. I managed to maintain my composure, but there will be more to draw the tears and challenge my composure, with Advent a week away... Christmas is for me the most emotionally affecting, and perhaps the most profoundly meaningful, time of the liturgical year. (Just to be clear, I mean Christmas, not Xmas, the consumerist horror show that unfortunately coincides with it.)

Meanwhile, I have seen my first snowdrop of the year – of next year, rather (or my last of this year?). This was on Friday, so it would have been the 24th of November, which is ridiculous – especially as I'd seen a Red Admiral, full of vigour, only the day before. This week's cold snap will send the last butterflies into hiding, but won't trouble that precocious snowdrop – and should bring the redwings flying in with it. This late November/ early December cold snap seems to be the one sure thing about the British weather: it happens just about every year, regardless of climate change, global warming or whatever, even if the ensuing winter is mild – but no one seems to have noticed.


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