Friday, December 24, 2021

house complete again, delivering cards, downpours, scything cold, iris murdoch's christmas, john, cheese!


This afternoon we walked the village, delivering Christmas cards with our dog, now not far off a year old.

Last Christmas we were  on our own and grieving the loss of our wonderful terrier. Wondering, I dare say, whether we would ever have another dog. But then a friend of a friend told us of a puppy and here we are. The house is complete again.

Today's card deliveries took place on a lightless, occasionally thoroughly wet, Christmas Eve, which by the end of them was scythingly cold, at least on the hands. 

Early yesterday before work (wfh, after three days in Oxford at the Latin American Centre Library), I went to the allotment to do the Christmas Day harvest. Amazing, after a not too good year for winter veg, to be able to lift enough beetroots for our traditional soup, as well as parsnips and carrots. We also have the last of the onions and lots of potatoes, hanging from the rafters in sacks in the shed at the house.

Warming up after the card delivery, I sit by the fire, having read a fascinating article in the TLS about Iris Murdoch and what Christmas meant to her, which draws on her archive at Kingston University. It made me want to read A Word Child, which I have never read, and to re-read other novels. It also brought back memories of Iris and of John, her husband, who were so kind to me. I noted, though, the reference to their 'picturesque house Oxford home' in 1978. Hum - they were still very much in Steeple Aston (and would be for a decade more) then, which is 20 miles to the north.

Now about to tuck into some cheese, which John would have approved of. I remember him putting a piece, wrapped in a napkin, into his pocket after lunch at St Catherine's, 'For Iris.'

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