I might be shot for saying this, but I just love this weather. Ok I know it creates dangerous driving conditions, slippery pavements and some difficulty for feeding livestock, but isn't that really more about our inaction in dealing with such uncustomary wintry conditions. I love the extremes of hot sunshine on the one hand and below freezing temperatures on the other.
As a drama teacher, this time of the year is spent putting together concerts, Nativity and Christmas playlets. I am hugely fortunate to work in the National School at Lisvernane in the Glen of Aherlow, nestling at the foot of the Galtee Mountains. There is something so special about this school, its teachers and its pupils. From one window, the Galtees are staring straight at you, and from another, the Church across the road exudes a welcoming benevolence. I enjoy the most magnificent drive to and from that village, through the Glen of Aherlow, every week, and the last two weeks have been especially magical. I have pulled over the car on several occasions to marvel at some 'cracking' pictures, fishing for my camera, that now goes absolutely everywhere with me, in an attempt to catch the wintry light and shadows. Want to share some of those 'Christmas Crackers' with you.
Broken But Perfect
Ups and Downs
Speaking of 'Christmas crackers' ... they were invented by Thomas J. Smith of London in 1847. He created his crackers as a development of his bon-bon sweets, which he sold in a twist of paper. As sales of bon-bons slumped, Smith began to come up with new promotional ideas. His first tactic was to insert mottos into the wrappers of the sweets. He was then inspired to add the 'crackle' element, when he heard the crackle of a log he had just put on the fire. The size of the paper wrapper had to be increased to incorporate the banger mechanism and the sweet itself was eventually dropped, to be replaced by a small gift. The elements of the modern day cracker, such as gifts, paper hats etc were introduced by Tom's son, Walter Smith. Now a few shots of some that are most likely to enjoy pulling Christmas crackers!
We are family!
He's Behind You!
Gosh ... the bus is late!
Some playful 'strawberry moments' with my nieces and nephew, Grace, Summer and Kian during a recent visit to Crewe. I consider myself so so lucky to spend such a large amount of time with children. During the last week, two junior infant pupils became distraught; one little boy because he had bumped into a little girl, who threatened to tell the teacher on him, and another little girl, who had lost her cardigan. Both were almost inconsolable! I thought my heart would break! When I see the very real tears and the gasping for breath, the excitement surrounding the tooth fairy and the wonder in their eyes at the mention of Baby Jesus and Santa, I am reminded of how significant the 'small things' are to them! They teach me more than I could ever share with them!
I become quite tetchy, when I hear people say Christmas is a time for children. It is a time for EVERYONE!!! I love decorating the house, baking, the smell of spices and herbs, and Christmas Eve isn't the same, if I don't get to sing Christmas carols at mass. I would like to share my favourite Christmas carol 'O Holy Night' or 'Cantique de Noel', composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem 'Minuit Chretiens (Midnight Christians), by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877)., a wine merchant and poet, who was asked by a parish priest to write a Christmas poem. This glorious piece is performed here by Leontyne Price.
Mary Violet Leontyne Price was born in 1927, and raised in the segregated Deep South of America. She was the first African-American to become the Prima Donna at the Metropolitan Opera. Quite extraordinary!
Now it is Christmas!!!
Ciao for now!