A belated and photographic thankyou for the Christmas hospitality the night before last at Chateau Samizdata, which was predictably perfect. Madam Hostess having originated from a part of the world where they do their feasting on Christmas Eve rather than the day after, this meant that the food was no mere warm-up for the real excesses to come. This was it.
Here is some of the food we enjoyed. Guy Herbert is a cheese-spotter, a fact from which we all benefited:
Although, I marginally preferred the Christmas pud. Good as the cheese was, that was even better.
Here are our hosts:
The Dear Leader is side lit by another camera, an effect I have always liked. Head-on flash is abomination, I think. But flash from the side, done either with an attachment at the end of a wire, or by some other photographer joining in, is another thing entirely. My next camera will definitely let me do this.
Because all this was on Christmas Eve, I had no trouble getting back to my home, without any expense, for the quiet and contemplative Christmas that I now so much enjoy.
Christmas, they say, is a time for families. Mine exchanged convivial phone-calls. A beloved grandmother who reached a hundred just over a year ago, has just died, peacefully, well looked after, and not before learning that she had recently acquired a new great grand-daughter. (Which means I am also a great uncle for the first time.)
Christmas, it is also decreed, is a time to accumulate unwanted things. But mine, this time around, has been a time for ejecting such stuff. My great clear-out continues. Today, Boxing Day, more boxes will be removed. (Although I did buy a few things for friends, in the form of a couple of battery-less wind-up torches.)
Has this been, I wonder, the Second Great Kindle Christmas, when, on Christmas Day itself, people discovered that they possessed new Kindle e-books that they themselves had not asked for? The point being that the First Great Kindle Christmas was the Christmas when people were first given actual Kindles on a large scale. Which happened last year, did it not? Downloading for others brings a whole new meaning to last minute Christmas shopping, doesn’t it? So when is the absolute final deadline? 11.59 pm on Christmas Day? Or is that just too late?
Christmas now, for me, in the age of instant global communication, also means the start of the Melbourne test match, which begins in England even before Christmas Day itself has even ended. This time around Australia are playing India. As an England cricket fan I can now feel very smug and indulgent about this event. This year, England began by thrashing Australia, and then proceeded to thrash India. Whoever wins this series now won’t be better than England. Long may it last. Australia are 277-6 after day one (which is a lot better than they did after day one at Melbourne this time last year). And guess what, when I first typed that, Sri Lanka, playing South Africa were … 277-6, just before the end of the first day of that game.
So, a Happy Christmas. Next, a prosperous new year? No chance. Hence the wind-up torches.