The Long run of Winter  #WinterSolstice #winter #dark #light #December #short #Christmas #climate #festive #calendar 

Today, 21st December, is the shortest day of the year in the U.K. – known on the calendar year as The Winter Solstice.

In Hastings, East Sussex the sun will rise wearily at 07.58 and set quickly at 15.53.  

If it is a grey day (& it is) it’ll seem exceptionally short, and the light will be poor and bland, if it is sunny (maybe tomorrow) make the most of the rays as a lack of sunshine, especially around the Christmas period, can make you feel very low. 

On the positive side, the shortest day of the year will now give way to a gradual lengthening of days. This means that the cloudy, misty, oppressive days will become longer ones, so even more reason to grab the sun when it rises and shines. 

A short pre-Christmas day is best spent enjoying the colour of the festive lights, fiddling with wrapping paper and sticky, pretty bits of string, reaching for a spicy, warm mulled wine and filling the house with scents of cinnamon & orange and roast potatoes. There are lovely ways to spend this seasonal month and many pleasures to gain from living the cycle of a temperate climate, even in those darker days.
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Cordial Cards   #Christmas #cards #celebration #message #post #ChristmasWindows #season

This must be the most busiest time of year for the post. Red and green Christmas cards dropped into post-boxes and post-offices, all ready to be distributed near or far. Some with long annual messages, some with short friendly catch-ups, some just a name and some just a corporate slogan.  
Pretty pictures, holy pictures, poems and phrases; charity collections, carol singers and chestnut roasters. Everyone is coming out into the streets, spreading cheer, goodwill and celebration, each in their own way.

Christmas lights and Christmas windows beaming bright and bringing smiles.

Wherever you are in the world this is the season that brings people closer together more than any other annual, worldwide event. 

Yes, there can be difficulties and yes there may be difficulties. Get an address and write a card and make a start at the end of the year.
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7 days till the 1st day of Christmas #Christmas #poetry 

Christmas Day, 25th of December, is officially the 1st Day of Christmas and only one week away (from today). So after all the carolling you’ve been doing, you’ll soon have the chance to be counting the days of Christmas, from the 25th to epiphany on the 6th of January, plus humming and singing to the well-known, usual tune.

Starting with ‘a partridge in a pear tree’ 

I do hope everyone’s enjoying the festive windows which are truly ‘winter wonderful,’ and preparing a very happy ‘holiday season’ without too much chaos. Maybe hide away with a book of poetry and a bit of port; the only drink that can be made out of the word poetry –

 P O E T R Y – before the real Christmas days arrive…

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A Square Tree #Christmas #London #Norway 

“This tree is given by the city of Oslo as a token of Norwegian gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during the years 1940-45.
A tree has been given annually since 1947.”

In Trafalgar Square, stands a 50-60 year old Norway Spruce. It is shipped across the North Sea, travels up to London and is adorned simply in the Nordic style with 500 white lights.

Around this tree congregate Carollers (singers of traditional Carols), happy school children, rockers, onlookers and fundraisers, proving that under the protection and beauty of green, spiky branches all sorts of people can come together safely.

Each year new poems are displayed on banners about the base.

‘Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree thy leaves are so unchanging…’

Here she will stand until 6th January 2016, if you are about come and take a look at Trafalgar Square’s perfect triangular Tree for 2015 – day or night! Follow the star

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Things I moose do… #Christmas #OperationSmile #charity #poetry

Sometimes a list is the best way to deal with this busy time of year, primarily called Christmas, although it can take on other names such as ‘Noel’ and ‘The Holiday Season.'(yuk)

It’s never too soon to think it all through, write it all down, and then tick it all off, bit by bit!  
Expect some surprises, and last minute things too.

Selecting and highlighting TV programmes comes soon.

Shopping and preparing the meal is last of all, if it’s you…Good luck.

If you’re the guest…remember your oohs, ahhs, pleases and thank yous, always take a gift and say ‘yes‘ to everything (including charades, scrabble, a recital of some sort, jokes and clearing up) – it is Christmas! (apparently).

Make everyday a ‘good-morrow’…

‘… all pleasures fancies be.

If ever any beauty I did see,

Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.’

from ‘The Good-morrow’ by John Donne (1572-1631)

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Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention please! #OperationSmile #Christmas #charity

Christmas is the time for giving and sharing and smiling.
I have been discussing a particular charity Christmas event since early July…so do not tell me it is too early to start ‘talking about it!’

The children’s charity Operation Smile is holding a Carols by Candlelight evening in two beautiful, old London churches:-

One in the heart of the city, St Boltolphs without Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street on Tuesday, 15th December, 2015.

The poet John Keats was baptised here in 1795 in the present font. While the city of London continues to grow higher and higher, allowing modern and expensive skyscrapers into its midst, this dear little church, the fourth since 1212, has suffered two World Wars and continues to stand its small ground.

And one in The Mayfair Church, South Audley Street on Wednesday, 9th December, 2015.

This church resembles a New England style church and was the American allies choice of worship and prayer during the 1939-1945 War. It also happens to be close to the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square.

So there you have two perfect English churches, with two different personalities yet united in presenting an evening of merry-making and money-raising for Operation Smile.

We have traditional carols, live music and special readings (poetry, prose, verse and books) by celebrated (I prefer this word to celebrity) guests, all by candlelight in these two-tiered, charming churches.

Then afterwards join the happy crowd for mince pies and mulled wine.

In the meantime the money raised from these evenings will continue to provide children born with clefts in the developing world the free, safe surgery they need.

So, in a (chest) nut shell! you are allowing these children to live and to smile; you have the opportunity and the ability to change their future forever. What could be better? The more the merrier.

Please come and join us, meet wonderful, dedicated people, and let’s raise the roof (metaphorically), raise a glass (carefully) and raise lots of money (literally)!

Thank You for reading, listening and sharing…

http://www.operationsmile.org.uk/carols
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