Wednesday 28 December 2022

Selective memory?


Who else makes a habit of listening to Carols from Kings at 3 pm on Christmas eve? Many people say that is when Christmas officially  begins for them 

One of my favourite parts of Christmas is hearing carols sung. It used to be singing them too, I still like that, although my voice now has a disturbing 'old lady' quaver in it. I can hear my grandmother - which is disconcerting.  

I used to sing in the school choir - we gave public concerts in one of the local churches at Christmas. I also sang with the youth group of the church - we did a 'book' at Christmas and Easter - a selection of lessons and music for the occasion. I sang duets with a friend - two fragile blondes in our best coats/dresses looking as if butter would not melt on our song sheets. The old ladies loved it. We've both changed a bit since then. 

As a result of all this, I have a pretty comprehensive repertoire of hymn and especially carol lyrics. With some notable exceptions. Some I only have the chorus - that was when there was a soloist and the main choir only came in for that. Sometimes I can still remember the descant that the choir sang over general singing from the congregation. I've learned all the words to Good King Wenceslas now, but for a long time I only knew the king - which was the part I sang duetting with Denise. One very frustrating mystery is We Three Kings - I clearly sang the last king, Balthazar, with his gift of Myrrh, the creepy sinister one, with the gruesome lyrics. Was this where the dark side began or early typecasting? I think Denise was the first king with the gift of gold - but who sang the middle one? I have no memory of that. Lost now in the mists of time. 

The trigger that prompted this post was  Kings singing Adam Lay ybounden  which usually accompanies a reading from Genesis. It's is a favourite, but I can sing only half of it. What happened to the other half? I must have known it all once. Perhaps the first half stuck because the language is more unusual and had to be learned more carefully?

Overall the carol concert provokes memories. Happy times, and a few tears. 

Friday 23 December 2022

Let Christmas commence ...

 The first round of edits for Masquerade on the Riviera have finally left the building. Won't be seeing them again now until January. Hurrah!

Hope I'll soon have a cover to share. Really looking forward to that. 

Happy Christmas.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Into the light

 Today is the winter solstice. You have probably seen a few posts and reports of celebrations at Stonehenge and other ancient places to greet the dawn. There is one in Ireland - and I can't remember the name - that is oriented towards the rising sun on the shortest day. The idea that thousands of years ago there were people who could built something monumental and calibrate it that finely is a source of fascination for me. 

Midwinter Day is a bittersweet occasion for those of us who hate the dark. The day that has the least light, but the point when the long slow journey back into the light begins. By January there will already be a marked difference. I'm looking forward to that, and to the new year. New year, new plans. I already have an idea for a new book nipping at my ankles, which is good, because I haven't done a lot of writing lately. Currently trying to work out a complicated family tree for two interlocking families - which is keeping me amused. We'll have to see where that goes. 

I know it's a bit strange that I like to write dark stuff, but don't actually respond well to winter. Mind you, the cold has something to do with that! Not really a winter person. The solstice is one celebration, and of course Christmas, which has become mixed in with the old celebration of Yule is on the way. By the time I post again it will be over! I don't know where the year has gone, it seems to have slid by very fast. Here's to whatever the next one will hold. And happy Christmas. 

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Very brief

 This is only a quick post. At the moment I am struggling to complete the edits, and to get an engineer to fix radiators that are not working. Very cold. Engineer was a no show today. Been promised a visit tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

I know I made promises too about Robespierre's nose. The lecture was good, but my notes are buried behind the furniture I moved in preparation for the engineer who didn't arrive. (Is this beginning to sound like the song 'There's a Hole in my Bucket?)

I did get a surprise package from my publisher. I've already eaten one chocolate reindeer - and very nice he was too. 

I'll get to the nose eventually. Maybe next week when the edits really do need to be finished!!!!

Wednesday 7 December 2022

With friends

 One of the truisms about being a writer is that work mostly happens when you are alone - give or take a four footed 'assistant' or two. People do write on trains, in cafes, in libraries, but even then you are kind of alone - in your own head, in a world you have created. Which makes meetings with fellow authors festive events - the chance to swop stories of horror and triumph with people who 'get it' which sometimes even close family members don't, however much they try/want to. 

Thanks to Sue for use of the photo -
and our long suffering waitress for taking it!

Christmas celebrations are doubly festive - so I had fun yesterday with members of the Romantic Novelists' Association Cariad Chapter at The Cosy Club in Cardiff having an extended lunch. We were a depleted group - several had succumbed to the various December bugs and others were constrained by the day job, but six of us enjoyed gossip and grub - good food and good company.  

Today I have two gentlemen fitting flooring in the bathroom, at long last, and I need to get back to the edits. They are progressing, but still slow. I have also begun a little research for the next book - but that is heavily under wraps at the moment until I get my plans clearer. I also have an on-line lecture tonight from Cardiff University on Robespierre's nose. I might tell you more about that, next week!