Saturday, 31 December 2016

Traditions old & new

It's my favourite time of year again and I'm feeling incredibly festive. Lots of musical occasions, beautiful lights and displays and a good amount of time spent at home have definitely got me in the mood this year. Today I'm left wrestling with a glum sensation knowing that it will soon all be over and eager anticipation at what the year ahead might bring.

Tradition is always an important part of the festive season, comforting in many ways, and this year seems to have welcomed in quite a few new ones; although I am, however, unsure as to whether or not they can yet be referred to as 'tradition' or whether one waits for at least a year or two more to see if they stick...

It all began this year when I was accompanied by a selection of kind and willing members of CCC (City Chamber Choir) in leading some carol singing at school. We sang last year too and the children loved it then but knew no carols. This year then I decided to teach them a few in the lead up to our singing together and the difference was remarkable; words can't quite describe the atmosphere but needless to say, it was not replicated by any of our audiences for other carol singing around the city. As always, carols at Leadenhall Market and St Katharine Dock were freezing but festive!

We have been denied our full two week's holiday this year which has felt a little distressing, especially when being at home for a mere 5 days meant I only had a week left until the return to work. The day before heading home I had decided I would do another one of my Christmas Tree Crawls; a 'tradition' I began last year. I was not, however, anticipating that so much of my day would be taken up getting a spare cat-sitting key cut. Three keys and four trips to varying Timpsons later and I finally had one that worked. In an attempt to make the best of a bad situation, after my initial visits to my nearest branch I decided that my next visit would be to one in the vicinity of trees. So I headed to Holborn where I then also stopped to admire the trees at Rosewood London, Somerset House and the Savoy Hotel; each of them, truly worth the detour.

At last I was on a train home and on Christmas Eve the first of the new traditions appeared in the form of a fry-up for brunch. I'm calling this a tradition in the hope that my mum does it again because it was truly tasty and there's something quite fun about sharing Christmas crackers over bacon and egg. Brunch set me up well for an old tradition, a walk with close friends around Wolferton before exchanging presents and playing silly games (this year, we leapt on the bandwagon at had a go at Speak Out).

Christmas Day brought yet more new tradition as a little while after our breakfast muffin to accompany stocking opening, we were then treated to cooked ham on toast. Two breakfasts down, novelty then ensued as we headed to a neighbour for cocktails and canapés before returning home for roast. We seem to manage to stretch the day out more and more each year but finally, at about half past 6 in the evening, we'd opened everything under the tree and were indulging in the thousandth round of food and hot drinks.

Upon writing this I'm realising that most festive traditions involve food and that theme continues as 'Boxing Day Baguettes' are up next. A while ago in Norwich I had lunch with Mum and Dad at Logan's Good Food Shop. My choice was a Brussels sprout baguette which I enjoyed so much that I decided I'd have a go at making my own over Christmas. I was of course worried that I wouldn't do them justice at all but I have to say, they were just as delicious homemade and went down incredibly well. 

As well as a total abundance of food, home also saw plenty of walks both beach and woodland, a plethora of games and jigsaws and lots of tinkling on the piano. It's always a must to have things back in London to look forward to when I'm torn away from sky, fresh air, peace and tranquillity...

It's now New Year's Eve and while yesterday evening we completed this year's Christmas Tree Crawl from the Tate Britain all the way to Claridge's, tonight we'll be hibernating with good beer and something of the homemade food variety (I'm going to rifle through Nigella (which doesn't sound great) in a minute and see what catches my eye...) to see in the new year before hopefully taking a walk tomorrow; starting as we mean to go on. It's been so long since I've written and I really hope I don't go for this long again any time soon. Expect a resolutions post on the other side when I eventually figure out what on earth they might be.

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