A White Christmas!

I’m not feeling inspired to write much, but I wanted to post this picture as I’ve not had a white Christmas for years. Although the snow didn’t settle too well in the valleys, up on the moor it was a good couple of inches deep.

[Snow covered fields on Dartmoor]

Come boxing day the moor was packed with people building snowmen and throwing snowballs at each other. A good way to recover from the excessive eating and drinking of the last few days. Cheers again to Marc for acting as chauffeur!

Christmas Day

It’s a beautiful day here in Wellington – a nice surprise as the weather hasn’t been so great over the past few days. After breakfast we hiked up through the Town Belt to Mount Victoria lookout in an attempt to walk off a mild hangover from the traditional Christmas Eve over-indulgence.

[View over Wellington City with the Marina in the foreground]

The views over the city and the harbour are worth the trek up the hill. The wind was pretty fierce though, and I didn’t envy anyone doing the crossing today on the Inter-Island ferry we saw departing the port.

[The Ferry with hills in the background]

On our way back we walked along the sea front at Oriental Bay where there were a few people relaxing in a suitably festive manner on the new and improved beach (which hasn’t quite washed-away despite some predictions and has been the subject of some fascinating controversy over municipal spending priorities).

[Three sunbathers in Santa hats]

It really doesn’t feel like Christmas Day, despite all the decorations, Santa outfits and our own best efforts to be as festive as possible (can’t have a roast, though – the oven here is broken, so we’re going native and having lamb and fried kumara instead). I think that it’s the climate. Even though I’ve spent Christmas in hot places before, I think there’s something hardwired into me that just can’t quite believe that it’s the right time of year. Ungrateful it might sound, but part of me does pine a little for a bit of frost (cue cries of disgust from friends and relatives back home). OK, well, maybe not that much. Have a good day, wherever you are.

Seasonally appropriate

Logged into the Sony Vaio this morning and was greeted by the following seasonally appropriate fortune:

Some of you … may have decided that, this year, you’re going to celebrate it the old-fashioned way, with your family sitting around stringing cranberries and exchanging humble, handmade gifts, like on ‘The Waltons’. Well, you can forget it. If everybody pulled that kind of subversive stunt, the economy would collapse overnight. The government would have to intervene: it would form a cabinet-level Department of Holiday Gift-Giving, which would spend billions and billions of tax dollars to buy Barbie dolls and electronic games, which it would drop on the populace from Air Force jets, killing and maiming thousands. So, for the good of the nation, you should go along with the Holiday Program. This means you should get a large sum of money and go to a mall.
— Dave Barry, ‘Christmas Shopping: A Survivor’s Guide’

Just thought I’d share that one with ya. Especially seeing as it was Buy Nothing Day a few days back. Get real, people 😉

The Solstice

At last, it’s going to start getting lighter again.

Not being a Christian, I tend to think that the fact it’s the solstice on the 21st sort of makes the holiday spirit a bit more appropriate. I suppose that if I wanted to follow this feeling through to it’s logical conculsion I’d want to do the gift giving today, but I just can’t bring myself to be *quite* that anal 🙂

I’m not a pagan either, but I think that seasonal turning points like this are worth observing, and I like the reminder of the cyclical nature of things. So pause for a moment and reflect upon the fact that we’re now at midwinter, and things can only get lighter and warmer.

Can I be on _Thought for the day_ now?

Giftmas in the West End

Dammit, we’ve just got rid of all the bloody summer tourists. Lunch breaks are only ever peaceful in February.

Christmas is a terrible thing. In my opinion the best way to give gifts is when you see something you know someone would love, buy it and give it to them as a surprise. This never seems to happen to me at Christmas. I wander the streets of London gazing at the hideous window displays and trying to avoid those idiots for whom Oxford Street is the height of chic, and never seem to be able to find anything suitable at all. In the end the good old Christmas list saves me, but of course this means that everyone already knows what they’re getting on the day. If you’re lucky, you might get to be surprised by who gets you what.

Not that I’m the easiest person to buy for anyway. When you have a fairly specialised set of interests, no one but a fellow geek knows what the hell to get you. You end up getting socks. Still, I need some socks, so maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. And it’s certainly preferable to bad Star Wars novelisations.