And it is week 55 of the great experiment in which I'm documenting five things which have made me happy of for which I'm grateful this week. The hope is that doing this will have an effect on my mood and depression. It'll be interesting to see where we end up!
Anyway this week's selection is ...
- Fish & Chips. Monday was miserable. I still had the cold, although it was receding. And it was cold and grey. Noreen asked me what I wanted for lunch. Semi-jokingly I said fish & chips. This was deemed a great idea. So Noreen trotted round to the chip shop, returning with massive pieces of fish and mountains of chips. What a tremendous treat. We've not had real chip shop fish & chips for literally years. They were wonderful; greasy; just as I remember them; and totally different from what you generally get in a pub. Horribly unhealthy but what a great way to start the week!
- Winter Lights. Last Sunday (25 November) was the feast of Christ the King, celebrated by some Christian sects on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, ie. the Sunday before Advent. We have made for ourselves a tradition that we put up the first of our Christmas lights (think of them as Winter lights) on Christ the King and they stay up to Candlemas (2 February). Every culture has some form of mid-winter fire or light festival: to see off the darkness and hasten the return of the sun in Spring. Our lights are a reflection of this and light us through the darkest days of the year — a month (roughly) either side of the Solstice. I love having the lights up, even in the bedroom (neither of us need total darkness to sleep); they really do seem to make a difference.
- Cold, Sunny Mornings. Winter arrived this week. The last several mornings have been very cold, clear, bright and frosty. This is how it should be, and how I fondly remember Winter mornings as a kid. I'm sure they weren't all like this, but I do find the cold and the sunshine invigorating. Bring on the Alpine weather!
- Annual Anthony Powell Lecture. One reason the week has been so busy, but ended so well, is that we've had two Anthony Powell Society events this week. First on Friday evening there was the annual lecture, which is held in collaboration with The Wallace Collection. This year's lecturer was writer AN Wilson. He talked about Powell's narrative techniques and interest in things military. He was very interesting and is an excellent speaker. And the lecture was a sell-out for the third or fourth year in a row.
- Anthony Powell Birthday Lunch. The following day, on Saturday we had our annual (informal) Anthony Powell Birthday Lunch. His birthday isn't actually until 21 December but we always have the lunch on the first Saturday in December to keep it away from Christmas festivities. This year was especially opportune as the day of the lunch, 1 December, was also the Powells' wedding anniversary. About 20 of us had an exceptionally convivial time at the Queen's Head & Artichoke, where everyone drank more than usual which did screw up the finances — but what the hell, it is a celebration and it's almost Christmas!