Sunday, 25 December 2011


It's Christmas - and we're all in a little village called Penley in Wales doing a big quiz. Penley is where Nathan's sister lives. It's been a right-on, rather modern Christmas. Nathan's family and my parents sat down to a lovely Christmas meal together, just after we'd conference-called my brother, who's in Germany with his partner and his family. 

We did a lot of singing around the piano. Nathan's lot are big singers and at every opportunity we burst into multi-part harmony. 

The sunset this evening was extraordinary and included every colour from black into brown into orange into salmon pink into yellow into white into blue. My father described it as an "Oswestry" sky, after the town down the road where I was born. I guess the position of the Welsh mountains might have an effect on the way that clouds bubble up and the sun sinks in these parts.

Talking to my brother a couple of thousand miles away in Germany was slightly unsettling. It's the first Christmas I've spent away from him and I think my mother also found the experience of talking to him on a camera phone rather moving. 

We went to Midnight Mass last night in a church right on the edge of a windy Shropshire moor. The place looked so pretty with warm, yellow lights pouring into the darkness from out of the stained-glass windows.

Christmas day, 1661 wasn't a hugely exciting day for Pepys, in fact, he spent much of it on his own, having fallen out with his wife for burning the meat at lunchtime. No parties. No presents. No mention of Christmas. Just a bitter row. What's going on?!!

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