Christmas around these parts was a lovely, albeit strange and slightly poignant, one for our family – my father flies east tomorrow, darting across the Channel and cruising over central Europe before reaching the ragged peaks of Central Asia, landing thirteen or so hours later in hot, sticky Singapore. It’s a route he has flown dozens of times before but this time his ticket is one-way and my mother will join him ten days later, traversing her own path through the air to their new adopted home. I’ll miss them, beyond words, but I’m giddily excited for their adventure (and perhaps my own visit to Asia, somewhere I’ve never been…!)
Added to that weirdness: my sister coming down with a virus so ghastly it necessitated intravenous antibiotics and a hospital visit, the strange spring-like weather (blossoms in the park?) and four extra relatives around the table to add to the 25th’s usual ten and this year has felt different, understandably, though no less satisfying. The festive period has still been marked by meandering strolls to dust off our cobwebbed souls, hours of eating until our stomachs hurt, skinny giggle-inducing flutes of prosecco, our annual ice-skating session in the shadow of the glimmering fir at Somerset House and my mother’s talent at turning the house we grew up in into a beautiful, sparkling oasis every December. I am such a fan of traditions and the way they compress the years, folding back time like an accordion so that it could be any year, any Christmas – my father uncorking the wine in his velvet paisley waistcoat which appears only a few times in the year, the dining room dressed with silver place mats and tea lights, the safe and cosseted feeling of family and familiarity, the joy of having (almost) all those you most adore around one cramped, glittering table.
Wishing you a happy new year!
(photos) on Canon 5D Mk III (borrowed, alas!) | 50mm 1.8 | London