(Three kings, from a Nativity set made by the Women’s Multipurpose Co-operative in the Philippines, from the flickr site of mlsj)
I was going to write today about Twelfth Night, a favourite festival of mine even if I never celebrate it, but I have just learnt from Wikipedia that Twelfth Night is actually the 5th January! So I’ve been mulling over misrule and merrymaking on the wrong day for years! Oh horror.
I do hope that you have all enjoyed the holidays. I had really a perfect Christmas – as many sparkly lights, over-excited small children, board games, glasses of sherry and slices of cake as anyone could desire. We arrived back in England in time for the carols from King’s, without which no Christmas Eve could be quite complete for me. I also attended a magical puppet show (‘The Magician’s Daughter’, by the Little Angel Theatre) with two spellbound little girls, and along with my father and brother discovered the delights of Metaxa, only fifteen years after I brought the bottle back from a Greek holiday (it was the first spirit to be consumed in space don’t you know). I also continued my Iris Murdoch binge. I am really devouring them, not bothering to think about them particularly (sorry, Iris, you deserve better I know). I think my favourite so far is The Nice and the Good, but I haven’t thought about why. Any other fans out there? Which ones do you like most – and which do you think are the best?
Back in Belgium I was able to make space for and unpack many of my childhood books. Unpacking and arranging books is always pleasing, but this time I was able to wallow nostalgically in memories of the person I was aged about eight or so. Seeing those faded Puffin paperbacks sitting there all together, I thought how much they had shaped my view of the world, and I suppose they continue to do so. Tomorrow the real world intrudes once more and it’s back to the teacher-training course, of which I have been feeling more and more scared as the holiday progressed, ridiculous as I know it’s not that bad. But setting out my books the other day, I couldn’t help but feel that Joan Aiken, Elizabeth Goudge, Susan Cooper, C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, Penelope Lively, Diana Wynne Jones – they had my back. Onwards!