December 17, 2016

7.45 am. Up! This is the day that my lads return home. A house to prepare. Shopping to do. Things to put away. But, first: lines to rehearse. I’m the Archangel Gabriel in the church nativity play tomorrow. (I play villains, like Herod, better, in my opinion. I’m rather typecast, in that respect.) The play’s opening instructions and setting read; ‘Gabriel is in his office. He looks a bit stressed out’. This may be a little too close to real life for comfort.

10.50 am: A shopping expedition to town, through the Farmers’ Market (Max), passed acquaintances and friends (who were out in numbers), with whom I exchanged seasonal good wishes (in a vaguely Dickensian manner), towards shops of quality and promise.

1.00 pm: I attended the funeral of Joan Davies, a congregant at Holy Trinity Church, who has died at the age of 99 years:

At funerals you discover a wealth about person’s character, history and achievement that was concealed during their lifetime. What a woman. A Christian, loving, devoted, serving, faithful, fast driving, formula-one loving feminist, and mischievous mother, wife, grandmother, and great grandmother, who found favour with everyone, it would seem. There was no sense of tragedy, today. She’d enjoyed a very long and fruitful life and, now, eternity stretches before her. A text by the anchoress Julian of Norwich (c.1342– c.1416) governed Joan’s outlook on life: ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well’:

2.00 pm: Son (Mark II) had landed by the time I’d return home. He was eating, of course. 3.20 pm. Son (Mark I) followed. An afternoon of conversational catch-up, mince-pie making, laundry downloading, sharing of finds, and beers for the boys. The band is complete. This week, and the week following Christmas, have been among the most happy times of familiness in the Harvey household.

6.30 pm: An evening with my family over a film, Coke, crisps, and good cheese.

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