Today we received what I suspect might be our final Christmas card, which brings the total to 48. I am astonished, as I now send few actual cards, more electronically, as I prefer to donate the cost of the cards and the postage to charity. But old habits die hard I suppose and it is a way of keeping in touch. I have to admit that I like sending and receiving proper letters. I looked at my old Christmas card list this year, and was somewhat shocked to note how many of my correspondents have passed on. As an utterly trivial aside, note that the cost of stamps is rising on 1 January, by 9p for first class and by 1p for second class. So lay in a stash now.
This afternoon I drove to the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Surrey to go for a walk, and coincidentally to meet my goddaughter and her children to hand over some Christmas gifts. It is a popular place, managed by the National Trust and today heaving with people. They have a kiosk selling drinks and snacks so I thought I would get a coffee. There were 2 points, a buying point and a collection point. So I went to pay. No one there. Ok, I thought, gone to get something out the back, and waited. The queue built up behind me. Still no one. I looked over to the collection area: lots of people hanging around for a couple of coffees. No sign of anyone coming to serve, so I gave up and walked away and I saw others do the same. Now these are allegedly hard times for the NT, losing a great deal of revenue, so would it not be in their interest to crack out drinks and snacks as fast as they could? I was trying to do my bit and support them but was thwarted.
This is the Celtic Cross at the edge of the Devil’s Punch Bowl. It was erected to allay the fears of the local populace, as this was in fact Gibbet Hill, and the people were afraid that the ghosts of the hanged men would haunt the area. Today the biggest problem is from trail bikes, noisy, fast, churning up the paths. Give me spooks any day.
I listen to Classic FM when driving and today I heard Beethoven’s Fantasia for piano, orchestra and chorus. I have only recently discovered this piece, and I like it so much. It is reminiscent of the Ninth Symphony, which is also a favourite of mine. Here with the amazing Daniel Barenboim, is the conclusion. The whole piece lasts about 20 minutes and is worth researching.