Monday 23 November

Today I received my first Christmas card, also a picture postcard from my niece in Edinburgh. I think real post has come into its own during lockdown. I have made the effort to write more, especially to people who live alone. I read that the Post Office is thinking of taking on extra postmen at Christmas. Remember the days when all students used to take on a post round during the Christmas holidays?

I excelled myself by doing a Pilates class and a new fitness class. It is actually quite relaxing to do these classes alone and unobserved, although I miss the camaraderie of my fellow students. And tonight should be aquafit, and I really miss swimming. However, we are led to believe that these activities will be reinstated on 3 December and also we will be graciously permitted to do some Christmas shopping.

I have been watching on iplayer “Berlin 1945.” It is truly gritty stuff. The advance of the Russians and the brutality which followed is horrendous. When I lived in Hamburg, I got to know a woman who had been a student in Berlin at that time, and endured multiple rape as most women there did. She qualified subsequently as a doctor, married and had 2 children, but I heard later that she had committed suicide. She never recovered from the ordeal of being in Berlin as it fell. Sadly not a unique case. Perhaps you may say, why watch a programme which focuses on such a dark period of history? Berlin today is a city which I like enormously, but I think it is right to remember what happened within living memory.

My CD today is Mozart’s Requiem. Some years ago I took part in various choral works “from scratch” in the Royal Albert Hall. Every Christmas Handel’s “Messiah”, but sometimes other works, and this was one. I still have the score on my bookshelf. I cannot begin to describe how exciting it is to sing with thousands of others in these amazingly powerful pieces. You feel that the roof would lift off from the RAH. Especially if you are sitting near the organ, playing such a fortissimo that your seat shakes. Glorious.

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