1. What is happening to the weather? This is the third winter running with snow heavy enough to cause travel chaos, and this year it hit in November. Apart from a few cold spots, the southern half of England rarely gets more than an inch or so of snow, which usually melts within a day or two. I remember much colder, snowy winters during my childhood, but they have been rare for at least thirty years. As a consequence nobody is geared up to dealing with snow. Local councils grit the main roads, but snow ploughs are few and far between (too expensive if they are only going to be used very infrequently). So when we get weather like this - snow and a sustained cold period with no thaw - there is widespread disruption. I wonder if this is the beginning of another long, cold winter? (I have to admit that I personally love snow, and feel like a big kid when it arrives despite the chaos, but sympathise with those who have to try to struggle through it to work, or who simply can't get out at all.)
2. Angel and Star were hugely irritated that we didn't get enough snow for their schools to close. They were hoping for snow days. At this point in the term, I think they could use a couple. Star is tired, and Angel has GCSE mock (practice) exams coming up in a few days and no time to revise due to the upcoming dance show.
3. I am now busy listing the contents of boxes of what I can only describe as "random old stuff" at the archive. Old deeds, letters that could come straight out of Jane Austen ... all sorts of things turn up. One of the letters I read yesterday deserves an entire post of its own, which I am hoping to write before I forget the story it told.
4. Tevye and I are enjoying the TV series Garrow's Law, a historical drama about an 18th century London lawyer. I was surprised to discover that William Garrow was a real person, and the series is at least loosely based on fact, even down to a love affair that seems rather more 20th century than 18th. This is the second series. Shame we missed the first.
5. The brass band Christmas season starts tomorrow and builds up pace over the next couple of weeks. I will miss the first carol playing session as I have to help with a Nativity play for the First Communion class, but I'll be playing on Sunday, twice next weekend, and four times the following week. Eek. When it comes to Christmas music, it seems composers and arrangers like to use trombones to fill in every little gap. Rests are few and far between. After a two hour rehearsal on Wednesday my mouth hurt.
6. This evening we had our annual Hannukah party with our (non-Jewish) neighbours, a tradition that began the first winter after they moved here 8 years ago. Lots of latkes were fried and eaten, followed up with doughnuts - foods cooked in oil are traditional for Hannukah. Jewish food generally doesn't skimp on calories.
7. Cherub's description of a Christmas cracker..."You bang it up and get a toy out."
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