December 20th, 2010

Slowly Getting Sorted

When we took the curtains down we had the use of Carl and his extra high step ladder. Neither were around yesterday, but the workmen have left an extra high stepladder on the premises- from the bespattered state of it I think it must have arrived with Ian the plasterer- so I took my courage in both hands- I'm scared of heights- and shinned up it and hung the front room curtains.

We're slowly unpacking boxes and putting things away in their proper places. The biggest problem is presented by all the silly little things that don't have proper places. We got rid of a desk when we were taking the house to pieces- and now everything that was in its drawers has to be found another home.

I sorted through some tins and jars this morning- all of which we'd carefully put into storage- and almost all of which were things we'd never want to eat (pickled cucumbers for instance)- and well past their use-by date. My wheelie bin is now pretty much full. I reckon I'm going to borrow Rene's next door for the overflow. She's not home and I don't think she'll mind.

Getting Into The Mood

My Christmas preparations this year largely consist in getting the house looking halfway decent. We had plans to go to my mother's- which would have been jolly- but I think the weather will stop us. Her part of the country is threatened with snow, snow and more snow- starting tomorrow evening. Last time there was heavy snow her house, which sits at the end of a long drive, was completely cut off. Not even the newspapers got through. 

Here we have snow and ice and temperatures below freezing. Ailz has a cold. Only it may not be a cold as much as an allergic reaction to all the dust.

Howard Goodall delivered a short history of the Christmas carol on TV last night. I already knew most of what he told us. One thing I didn't know was that in the early 19th century carols were seen as a bit too jolly for use in worship and the only one that was permitted to be sung in Anglican churches was "While Shepherds Watched"- which the higher powers let  through on account of it sticking so close to scripture. Of course a lot of parish churches simply thumbed their noses at the ruling. "While Shepherds Watched" is one of my least favourite carols- especially when it's sung to the tune of "Ilkla Moor Baht  'At",  because then it goes on forever. I like my carols pre-modern. The programme contains a complete and charming version of The Coventry Carol, sung by Bella Hardy.

Talking about Christmas carols, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has a good article this morning in which she wishes our "big" writers would skewer our heartless millionaire rulers the way Dickens skewered their equivalents a century and a half ago. 

I've decided, in the course of writing this post, that I need to put the Christmas tree up. I wasn't going to bother because of the state of the house, but thinking about carols and Dickens has shamed me.  I don't want to spend the season being glum.