there are only 24 hours in a day. well. except.

Hello, readers.

It’s Monday. A blanket of grey clouds has been tossed over London. I’ve just realized yesterday, the 21st, was the winter solstice. We’re half way out of the dark.*

Later in the week, I’ll be traveling to Kent with EG. There will be 7 children under the age of thirteen. And several children over 30. I don’t know if it will snow. On Boxing Day, we (EG and I) will be in charge of brunch, which I believe is the traditional Boxing Day feast, as no one, most likely, will be quite ready to wake up for breakfast. There will, most like, be eggs and muffins and pancakes and granola and fruit. And that should be good, then.

The year, being almost over, and December being Christmas, and Christmas being ghosts, I find myself thinking about the dead and the past and the living in a way all a bit shimmery, like, perhaps, I’ve lost myself in the blanket of clouds. Or that I’m experiencing weather-related emotions. One of the things I remember is Sarah Lee Butter Pecan Coffee cake. Which we would, most always, have on Christmas morning when I was a kid. One year, much later, I made a coffee cake of my own for Christmas and for to share with mom and sister. For some reason, this memory makes me sad, but not sad, more a sense of sharp joy, felt and gone. A bit like being stabbed. Memories are like that, sometimes. As are yearnings, which are memories of a future that haven’t happened yet.

The tricky thing about yearning is that the joy is imagined and so, the knife, more a probability blade, one that could cut in any one of an infinite ways.

but. well.

Memory and imagination. Ghosts. Joy. Sorrow.

The gift of the season, if you’re lucky, is having someone to unwrap all those feelings with. Maybe on a sofa. Maybe with a cup of cocoa, or hot tea, your feet rubbing together. Something of your past on the television. A Christmas Story. A Grinch. And then, in the morning, all the many children, and the beautiful noise.

Happy Monday, readers.


*I read this just now. Only 4 days in a year last 24 hours. The rest, do not. We live in a model world, readers.


Hello, readers.

December arrives today with the departure of EG’s mum. We escorted her to Euston, said our farewells, and watched her buy a paper (The Telegraph) and a bottle of water for the train.

Somewhere in my past, those two things, the paper and the train, collected a shimmer of romance about them. Possibly from old movies. The slow trundle across country, a shared car, an open paper. Coffee. A nap against the window, the winter chill kissing your cheek against the glass.

Eg’s mum visited with us over the weekend. We ate much leftover thanksgiving food: apple pie, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, brussel sprouts, etc. We took her along Regent street and took a gander at strings of fairy lights and the advertising, strung across the road, for a Night at the Museum performed live on the streets. We visited her old employer, St. James church and her techno-magic shop, the Apple Store. We also absorbed a 70mm print of 2001 of which, she said, “It goes on a bit, doesn’t it?” and watched a spot of television including, Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and Blake Edwards’ Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She enjoyed Breakfast, as did I, and as EG did less. EG believed the tale of a woman running away from a burdensome past was done better in Cabaret. Having not seen it (ducks a stone from LED), I can’t say.

on regent street
on regent street

At the British Library, there’s an exhibit on exploring the Artic, in search of the Northwest Passage. One of the displays discusses the relocation of Santa Clause. Previously residing in Lapland, Finland, Mr. Claus moved to the North Pole in 1862, at the behest, and pen stroke, of one Mr. Thomas Nast. Nast drew several images of Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly during the civil war in the U.S. as a kind of melancholy, magic man, surrounded by elves, a combination of the Saint Nicholas celebrated in German tradition, and, well, elves. It was meant to boost morale. Santa Claus in support of the Union. A manic pixie dream guy, possessed of whimsy and pain, and a cat named Cat. It’s possible I’m confusing Santa Claus with Holly Golightly. It’s interesting how we crave magic so much that we never tire of inventing new magicians.

“Santa Claus in Camp,” Harper’s Weekly, January 3, 1863, cover.


Happy December, readers.