Goodness me - what a busy day indeed! But fear not (as the angels said ...), some of the title events actually took place yesterday so I am not stretched out in a gutter somewhere attempting to regain my strength. Not entirely anyway. Had a wonderful dinner at Liz & John's - great food, great company and a really really good laugh. The social highlight of my Christmas, I believe. Many thanks, Liz. I was also very touched as three of the couples there (Liz & John, Robin & Gavin, Michael & Mary) are all very keen to come to the February launch of Thorn in the Flesh, and take me out for a celebratory dinner afterwards. Gosh indeed! And they might even buy a copy of the book - double gosh!
What with one thing and another, Lord H and I didn't actually get to bed till 2am (dirty stop-outs, us ...) and so understandably we haven't seen a great deal of this morning. But we have watched the results show of "Strictly Come Dancing" - we saw the bulk of the main show before setting out to Liz's - and are fairly happy that Alesha won. (Well, naturally, I would have preferred Gethin to be there and win, but hey life ain't always fair!...). But I do think that Matt's Judges' Choice dance was far better than Alesha's, as was his showdance. Both of his performances were risky and marvellous, whereas I feel Alesha rather played it safe. Now of course, the Sunday Mirror (Shock! Horror! Probe!) tells us that the wicked Matt is dating both Flavia and Alesha, and has caused Vincent to break things off with Flavia. Ah, the drama, the pain, the excitement that is the dance world, eh ... And before you start shouting, no, we do not get the Sunday Mirror - Lord H saw the headline when in town today and we looked it up on the web! Honest!
For the rest of the day, I have been doing more to The Bones of Summer, and I have to say I'm really enjoying it today. A key violent scene is coming together nicely (I always think my violence scenes are a strong point - at least that's the way it feels when I write them). And I'm coming down from it fairly smoothly too. I just have to write the lead-up to it sometime. Probably next. Then I'll need to go back and write the middle searching sections - which I've written notes about in the text - and we may even have a first draft by, say, March?... Hell, you never know!
This evening Lord H and I have been to the Carol Service at Peper Harow Church. I do love a good carol service, and it was very enjoyable, I must say. I continue to think that "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" is the best carol ever written with the deepest, most arresting and most resonating words. Not to mention that stonkingly poignant tune. It always makes me cry. That said, it's soooooo lovely to be at a carol service (or any Christmas service, to be honest) where I don't have to worry about the candles, the altar, the vestments, the Bible markers, the tapers or any of the zillion other ruddy things I used to be in charge of and which could go wrong at the drop of a service sheet. You wouldn't believe how pleased I am to be shot of all that.
Interestingly, a couple from St Peter's (the church we left in April) were also at the Carol Service - and during our brief chat afterwards, they said how much they missed us at St Peter's and asked if we would ever come back. I simply said that wasn't an option, though I was very sweet about it (Christmas Points for me then! At last!), and we all moved on. It felt good to say the words though and to know I meant them. I'm not going back to St Peter's, and I don't ever want to be that involved in a church again. I'm happy going once a month or so to the churches we visit now, and keeping my distance. That feels fine.
Tonight, we're hoping for an early night, and a good run-up to Christmas itself. As, I'm sure are all of us! This week's haiku is:
Thursley Common: After the fire
Through the blackened grass,
gorse springs up gold, woodpeckers
hunt. Nature rises.
Today's nice things:
1. Strictly Come Dancing
2. Writing Bones
3. The carol service.