We have experienced no snow in the forest yet this year, but no advent season could be without anticipation, eager in the young, apprehensive in the elderly, of white flakes falling on Christmas Day. Where would we be were our television screens devoid of ‘The Snowman’, the 1982 adaptation of Raymond Briggs’s timeless and beautifully depicted 1978 cartoon story? It is always a snowman who appears on lawns throughout the land. Never, in my experience, except in Selfridge’s window in Oxford Street in December 1963, a snowwoman. She is my advent picture for today.
The two stores whose windows attracted Mike and me on our expeditions to see the lights, were the above-mentioned Selfridge’s and Liberty’s in Regent Street. It is just possible that after fifty years my memory has confused the two. If the snowwoman belonged to Liberty, I extend my sincere apologies to their inspired egalitarian dresser. My friend Paul Herbert yesterday wished for an application that would produce a small chocolate at the touch of a finger on these electronically produced advent pictures. I am afraid we still await the arrival of that facility, so the reward for opening the post must, for the moment, be virtual.
This morning I finished reading ‘Zadig’, Voltaire’s tale of a philosophical journey that manages to be reminiscent of both ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and ‘The Thousand and one Arabian Nights’. I am not a fan of these stories, especially when they follow a formula. Voltaire is of course sending up the romantic geste, and we are meant to discern meaningful truths from his carefully crafted yet apparently light-hearted work. It is, however, simply written, and therefore an excellent vehicle for sharpening one’s French.
Before lunch I walked down to the village shop and back to buy some stamps. Perpetual motion in the form of a string of primary schoolchildren pulsated on the green.
This afternoon we drove to Ringwood for banking, sorting out documents at the solicitor’s, and collecting photographic inks. On our way home, Jackie, who has not before visited it, turned off the A31 to look at Rufus Stone. Until now, her only experience of it had been in reading my blog post.
There is a heavy metal grill forming the top of the iron casing that conceals the actual stone. Glancing down at the pebbles and oak leaves that occupy the space beneath it, Jackie spotted an item which she managed to extract and return undisturbed. This is a card of some plastic weatherproof material in remembrance of Michael Charles Daniels 1996 – 2010. May he rest in peace.
A beef and peppers casserole so tasty I have run out of superlatives; duchesse potatoes; and crisp carrots and brussels sprouts provided our dinner this evening. Well, actually Jackie provided it. She enjoyed a glass of Hoegaarden and I drank Campo de Borja Caliente Rojo 2012. The provenance of the wine is interesting. Jackie bought it because it was half price in Morrison’s and she thought they must be having to shift it because the label was so naff; thus indicating that it must be a good wine. There is a logic there. She was right.