Are you still recovering?
Federico, my friend!
Are you still recovering from your ordeal in the mountains? I waited on Wednesday. I waited on Thursday, and I waited this morning. Still no blog from you. So I’m posting this blog anyway, firstly because there are little bits of news to tell you, secondly so that there is something new for you to read when you log on, and thirdly so that our many kind readers around the world (some of them quite faithful regulars) have something new to read, too.
So, here we go.
It is, according to my calendar, the First Day of Winter, and here you can now believe it. We have frost. It is cold, and – very unusually for London – it is foggy. Yes, that’s right. It is extremely uncommon for us to have fog in London. However, wherever I have worked in the world I have always found plenty of people who believe that we live in permanent fog here in London. Many years ago I started my own personal campaign to change that perception. I think it is probably a result of people reading too much Dickens and watching too many old movies. London is not foggy! Well, of course, it is today. It is so foggy that British Airways have cancelled all domestic flights for the second day. But please forget all about that. London is not foggy!! The motorways are jammed with traffic which has stopped because of the fog. But London is not normally foggy!!! You can’t see across the road to my neighbour’s house. But London is not usually foggy!!!! I’m staying in all day to nurse my cold and also because I can’t see anything if I go out. BUT LONDON IS NOT, AS A RULE, FOGGY!
It is the shortest day, the Winter Solstice. From tomorrow it will be about three minutes lighter each day. We can begin to look forward to spring.
Meanwhile, we can’t really look anywhere – BECAUSE IT IS SO UNBELIEVABLY FOGGY!!!
The Advent Calendar is almost finished. Only two more windows to open. That means that there are only two more chocolates left in the Finnish Advent Calendar Box we started twenty-two days ago. No box of chocolates has ever lasted that long in this house.
Despite what I said about staying in all day I have actually been out with Lucy. My cold is much better. We bought all the food we need for the holidays, had a quick breakfast at the coffee shop and then went to get Lucy’s Christmas present – a watch.
When we got home we found that the postman had been and there were another sixteen Christmas cards to open. That’s about 80 we’ve got so far. Some of our friends send us long letters at Christmas and I love sitting down with a mug of tea or a glass of mulled wine to read all about what they’ve been doing during the year. I also write a Christmas letter which I send out every December, to about 50 friends around the world.
It’s the party season, of course. In fact, because of my cold, I’ve missed a couple of parties but tonight I’m having dinner with friends and on Christmas Eve Lucy and I will be at an all-day party which starts around 11.00 in the morning and ends around 11.00 at night. When we get home, Lucy and I will then light the candles, pour a glass of wine, put on some Christmas music, open some chocolates and begin to open our presents. This isn’t usual in Britain. Christmas Day – 25th December – is the day most people open their presents and have Christmas dinner. But since my wife died, just a little over three years ago now, Lucy and I have found that we like opening our presents late on Christmas Eve when the house is warm and everything is quiet and we’re feeling good after the party.
This year, for the first time, we’re having Christmas dinner with friends – but I’ll tell you more about that later and I hope to include a photo of the dinner table with guests and a bit of information about the food and other customs.
Right now I think I’ll just get the word list finished, add a photo of our Christmas tree and get this posted.
I hope everything is fine with you and that you can find the time to post a blog today. I’ll stand by tomorrow morning to produce a longer and more thorough blog for you in response.
Hope you’re having a great time with your sister and that your preparations for Christmas are going well.
Very best wishes,
SOME USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
rare, not very common. If something is uncommon it hardly ever happens
opinion, idea, understanding (noun)
Domestic flights are flights within a country. Flights to other countries are called international flights.
to look after, to take care of
as a rule
PHOTO: Our Christmas tree. We decorate it with many hand-made decorations from around the world but especially from northern European countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Russia. These are all places where I have spent Christmas or New Year in the past. It would be lovely if some of our readers from these countries – and others, too, of course – would post a comment telling us how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy New Year’ in their mother tongues.
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