Thursday 17 December

I think I am going to give up on news headlines and newspapers. Every time I look the goalposts seem to have moved on Covid restrictions and Brexit negotiations. And the supplements urging us to book cruises, if not for 2021 then for 2022. What planet are they on? I can barely think beyond the end of next week.

I drove back south this morning, wonderfully sunny, but low enough to be pretty blinding. The M25 seems to specialise in the craziest of drivers. I am beginning to wonder if lockdown has made people particularly reckless. They can’t all be Amazon drivers with 99 deliveries to complete in a ridiculously short time. I came back laden with goodies: home grown Brussel sprouts and Bramley apples, plus jams and chutneys. I listened to Classic FM for much of the journey. They have been playing many carols, many of which reminded me of my school carol service at Loughborough High School. We had a tradition of tableaux vivants, where we dressed up to re-enact famous paintings, and sang the carols. It had been devised by an art teacher many years ago. It was mainly the Sixth Formers who performed, and I was cast as the red-haired shepherd who appeared at the side of one of the paintings. On Saturday there were two performances, in the afternoon and the evening. I had a beard attached with rather nasty glue and had to keep it on for the two performances. I was given a dare to walk down to town, in the beard, and buy a Mars bar in Woolworths. Which of course I did. Hey ho, what innocent fun.

This carol was one of my favourites, sung by female voices of course in my school.

But what excitement today: the sunset time begins to get later. Today in Croydon it was 15.53, tomorrow it will be 15.54 and on Christmas Day it will be 15.57. The shortest day is Monday 21 December this year, but it is the sunrise which is still getting later. It is surprising how rapidly you become aware that the afternoons are lengthening: it makes me feel quite cheery.

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