slightly festive

I don’t celebrate Christmas and try hard to avoid the consumer chaos, so this time of year is always a bit strange: I feel there should be something a little special, but am not quite sure why or what.

Some wintry weather might help – there’s nothing like a bright frosty morning for clearing the mind and restoring the spirit. But when I went for a brief walk in the park this morning there was really nothing particularly seasonal, just vast expanses of sodden leaves and an unpleasant amount of mud.
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cold moon

Whatever name you prefer to use for it – the Cold Moon, the Long Night Moon, the Oak Moon, the Wolf Moon, or simply the Moon before Yule – I’m afraid I don’t have a photo of last night’s full moon.

I do, however, have a number of poems with the moon in them.
Here’s one of them:
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the long and the short of it

Yesterday was the solstice – the shortest day of the year.

Despite this traditionally being considered the start of winter, the days will now begin to get longer and the evenings will be brighter.

Then again, according to the Time and Date website today was less than a second longer than yesterday; I guess we’ll just have to wait a bit before we notice much difference.

autumn leaf on wooden table

mostly grey

Yesterday was a grey day with little to recommend it and little in the way of colour or words worth repeating.

Here, then, are some bright fuchsia blooms to start today; perhaps there will be equally bright thoughts and words later.

fuchsia

train of thought

Trains were a major feature of my childhood. I don’t know how many times I’d actually been on a train before my first birthday, but I do know that I had already travelled from the south east of England all the way to the Highlands, a journey that, even today, would be likely to take the best part of a day.

Even when we returned to live in the south a few years later we didn’t own a car so my father commuted to London by train and underground each day, and any holiday we took tended to feature traditional black cabs and card games played in waiting rooms at railway junctions.
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ordinary days

My mother mentioned that yesterday was St Andrew’s Day, adding that this meant that there would be no more “special days” until Christmas.

Well, I may have been brought up a Protestant, but I lived in Spain long enough to know that that couldn’t be right: every day seems to be the feast day of a dozen or more saints in the Catholic calendar, so I headed off to Google to find out more about St Andrew, as well as what other dates may be coming up that I should pay attention to.
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in the dark

It’s said that glossophobia – the fear of speaking in public – is high up among the most common fears, so I’m slightly surprised that it’s not something that has ever particularly bothered me.

Perhaps I read the lesson in church as a child or at the school carol service often enough for it to cease to be really frightening, although that raises the question of why, as a very timid small child, I was willing to volunteer to read – especially as I remember on at least one occasion having to stand up to a terrifying schoolmaster in order to be allowed to audition for the carol service: he thought I would never make myself heard – though I proved him wrong.
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