Saturday, 8 December 2012

It's going to be a happy Christmas

I'm going to paint my nails red and re-connect with the kitchen: mince pies with butter pastry; baked rice pudding with Jersey gold top, double cream and vanilla pods; potatoes roasted in goose fat; crispy salted crackling; deep rich gravy.  The best part is that it's cold enough to justify saturated fats cut by swooshing red wine... burp.  'Tis the season to be jolly.

And music, lots and lots of music!

 Especially Les Douze Noels which I love to play but which the family, frankly, have enough of by Christmas Eve.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Discipline has to come from somewhere

messy desk
One month at a time                              
A week at a time

Focus on what you can influence
and change and what is a priority
Debunk big things,
make lists and tick off.

One of my daughters said to me, 'What would you do if you had a child who
wasn't attractive?'  Without hesitation my response was, 'Encourage her to
develop a life of the mind.'  As she laughed spontaneously I ruminated on the
implication in her question; that she and her siblings were attractive enough not
to require any such drastic intervention.

tidy desk
 But I do require drastic intervention as my resolve slips into the dark days of December.  In my attempt to recapture something of my mind, I set to this afternoon to clear my desk.

Gone are the black things; the work laptop and the inordinately over-sized printer.  Removed are books I might need within reach or at least where I can see them to remind me that I have actually read them. Gone are the boxes that cluttered, heap of papers waiting to be filed.

In their place, in its purity, lies my own laptop, ready for tomorrow's work.  I have an external deadline. I can and will keep.  I have internal deadlines, which I will fail.  But it's OK  because no-one will know how bad I am, will they?

Here's my old school song.  I can still remember singing it proudly at my high school and I remember being read Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress at my Church of England primary school.  These words meant something to me then because they were about human endeavour.  Since then the combination of catholic guilt and protestant work ethic have wrought their effect and I'm only too aware of my weakness.
Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather
There's no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent,
To be a pilgrim.
Whoso beset him round
With dismal stories
Do but themselves confound;
His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright,
He'll with a giant fight,
But he will have a right
To be a pilgrim..
Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend,
Can daunt his spirit:
He knows, he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away,
He'll fear not what men say,
He'll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim.

I really like the hobgoblin bit.  And here it is sung the way we never sang it: