Sunday, 7 December 2014

Tradition

We've been in Thaxted all day, and I've pretty much spent every moment of my spare time plugged into a laptop working on Brass. I'm now 3/4 of the way through this particular process with D-day arriving on Tuesday when I go down to Worthing to do some pre-production work with PK. The clock is ticking down and I could really do with an extra day, to stop me needing to work evenings whilst I'm down there. Tomorrow's going to be like an episode of Challenge Anneka.  Will he or won't he get the four remaining arrangements finished? I'm sure I've been fairly aloof all day, and not particularly good company. There's nothing quite as irritating as someone with their head in another world, periodically coming up for air and saying "what was that? What are we all laughing about?" Talk about ramming a stick into the gently revolving spokes of pleasant conversation. My Grannie used to do something rather similar when she was going deaf.

The purpose of today's trip was to have a faux-Christmas meal at Till Towers because Edward's Sascha will be in Australia on the big day this year and the rest of us will all be with Nathan's lot in Wales.

Our family have always gone quite big on the four advents, which, for an almost entirely atheist bunch, is a fairly surprising admission. We've done it for as long as I can remember. On the morning of the first advent, we'd go for a long walk, collecting holly, ivy, ferns and berries to create an advent crown. We used to stick all the undergrowth into oasis, and then place four red candles in the middle. It was such an exciting tradition. On each Sunday before Christmas, whilst eating our roast dinner, we'd light a candle. On the second advent there'd be two candles blazing through the meal and so on. On the fourth advent we'd light all four, by which point the first candle had often burned down to a stump. The thrill of it being your turn to light the candles was almost too much. Such a tiny thing, yet so unbelievably special...

My Mum continues the tradition to this day. The advent crowns don't come bedecked in juvenile piles of undergrowth, but the candles still burn. At some point along the line, a white one was introduced in the middle to be lit on Christmas Day itself. I think that one's called the natal candle.

Plainly we ate too much today, although we did have a pleasant walk around the town in an attempt to at least pretend to be healthy.

The other family Christmas tradition usually takes place on Christmas Eve, but was brought forward to this afternoon. My Mum makes a chocolate log, and for some reason we all take it in turns to give it a stir, and whilst stirring, we make a wish. Family legend has it that the wishes always come true, but, bizarrely, they only come true if they're selfish in nature! There's no point in wishing for world peace, or happiness for someone else, this is the chance to wish for something you yourself need, and furthermore, my mother says it needs to be ├╝ber-specific! Last year, we were waiting to hear about the wedding, and it was all seeming rather unlikely, so I'll confess, I wished that the wedding would happen... And, well, we all know that it did. Two years ago I wished for the funding to make the requiem and that happened as well. So, maybe. Just maybe...

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