Hello hello, gentle readers! I hope that everyone is having an awesometacular holiday season!
This year, for ease of reading (and writing), I have decided to split my journaling of Yuletide adventures into two parts. Instead of one "Twelve Days of Christmas", you get two
"Six Days of Christmas" posts. Really, it works out to be six of one, half a dozen of the other.
Thus, without further ado, here is what everyone's favourite Nomad has been up to this Decemberween:Day Zero: (Thu Dec 20)
As the sun set at the start of the Longest Night, our coven -- Dreaming Spires -- lit a candle to hold the light through the long dark. Later in the evening, my beloved cheshcat
led us in a lovely Yule ritual.Day One: (Fri Dec 21)
At the distinctly dark hour of
five a.m., my darling miss_amaranth
and I piled into the car and made the ~75 mile drive to Stonehenge. As noted in my previous post
, this was my ninth dawn amongst the Stones -- three Summer Solstices, one Vernal Equinox, and five Winter Solstices.
The first seven Stonehenge dawns took after an early Pink Floyd album
-- the Sun was Obscured by Clouds
, making a cameo appearance... or often none at all. That changed last year, when we were fortunate enough to witness a spectacular Stonehenge Solstice sunrise
After last year's great luck, I was ready to accept another year full of clouds, with memories to remind me how glorious the experience can truly be. Imagine my surprise, then, when we arrived at the henge to find the pre-dawn mist slowly dissipating, giving way to clear starry skies! That's right, my dear friends! For two years running, we have witnessed the Sun rising to signify the return of the light!
Don't just take my word for it, though! They say a picture is worth a thousand words... but, truth be told, I think these shots convey the beauty far better than any description that I could ever write:The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn
(click for full-sized version)Guess Who? Your Friendly Neighbourhood Nomad greets his old friends, the Stonehenge Stones!
(click for full-sized version)Here Comes The Sun! The first rays of light emerge over the horizon!
(click for full-sized version)This is basically the same shot that I took last year, included here for comparison.
(Honestly, I liked last year's version of this one better -- what do you think?)
(click for full-sized version)Um, wow. Just wow. Really, do I need to say anything else here?
(click for full-sized version)From a different vantage point. If you look closely, you can see that the Sun is passing through two of the Stonehenge archways here. Behind the large inner arch in the foreground, there is also the lintel of an outer arch visible. Pretty spiffy, no?
(click for full-sized version)Finally, the new Sun rose high enough that its brilliant light made everythng else seem dim by comparison. This one is taken well after Sunrise, and shortly before the site was cleared.
(click for full-sized version)
Two years in a row? How lucky is that?! And what an amazing way to welcome in the return of the light! Huzzah!!Day Two: (Sat Dec 22)
Much holiday prep during the day; in the evening, miss_amaranth
went out for a delicious Yule feast at one of our favourite Oxford restaurants.Day Three: (Sun Dec 23)
Started the day by ringing a quarter peal of mixed doubles -- Plain Bob, April Day, and Grandsire -- at St. Nicholas Church in Old Marston. I am pleased to say that the quarter was a success; this makes my second quarter peal of the month.[*] Later in the day, I also rang at St. Giles Church before their annual candle-lit carol service. Along with miss_amaranth
, we stayed for the service. The atmosphere is really quite lovely, with the church lit up by all those candles and the celebration of the season through singing!Day Four: (Mon Dec 24)
More holiday prep ensued during the day; in the evening, my beloved cheshcat
and I went out for a Christmas Eve dinner at The Old Parsonage Inn
. Over the past couple of years, we have slowly been sampling some of the best restaurants in Oxford, splurging on an expensive meal for special occasions. This marks another one checked off the list! The food was absolutely excellent, and the venue was delightful -- particularly since we managed to reserve the table near the fireplace!Day Five: (Tue Dec 25)
In the morning, cheshcat
and I woke up early to see what had been left under the tree and to open our presents! I received many lovely gifts from my beloved... but, without a doubt, the most impressive was a fantastic new Citizen Eco-Drive watch! Vunderbar -- I have been in need of a new watch! Actually, this is my first analog wristwatch. I have always appreciated the art of timepieces but, until recently, opted for a high-tech digital watch for practical purposes. Now, after a quarter of a century, my smartphone can do everything any watch of mine ever could manage (and more)... which frees me up to go for aesthetics on my wrist, rather than functionality!
After all the unwrapping was done, we spent a bit of quality alone time together before packing up our bags (and a kitty) and heading out to London. Our destination was the latest home of D&J, who were hosting the Christmas feast. And what a feast it was! Other than the roast goose, all of it was vegetarian-friendly: The stuffing, the cranberry sauce, the potato and onion mix, the carrots, the roast chestnut chutney[**], the sweet potato, the onion gravy -- incredible! For those of who could not enjoy the goose, there was even a yummy mock chicken dish as a substitute!
After dinner, we played a few party games like Werewolf
[***] before the dessert was brought out: Pumpkin pie and homemade ice cream and cheesecake! My diet may have gotten slightly derailed for a day -- whoops! But, hey, it's Christmas, right?Day Six: (Wed Dec 26)
We stayed over at D&J's after the big Christmas party to spend Boxing Day in our pyjamas with these dear friends. The mellow follow-on to Christmas was part of the plan, with nothing more strenuous in the works than a few rounds of No Thanks!
and some Christmas movies, like It's A Wonderful Life
and Patrick Stewart's 1999 version of A Christmas Carol
After an exciting Christmas and a mellow Boxing Day, cheshcat
and I stayed over in London with D&J for one more night, before heading out for more adventures the following morning. But I believe that we have come to the end of Day Six, gentle readers... so stayed tuned to hear about Nomad's Six More
Days of Christmas!
[*] The first one, on December 16th, was a quarter peal of Cambridge Surprise Minor -- my very first quarter of a Surprise method... and a significant milestone in my accomplishments as a ringer!
[**] Try saying that five times fast!
[***] A new game, for me, but one that bears a striking resemblance to an old favourite: Bag of Nouns.