Friday, December 23, 2016

Light out of Darkness

It's been a while since I posted, so let's get the small talk and gossip out of the way first.

The weather has been good here, much better than we expected. I'm sure that will change in the coming weeks. Here are some pictures taken from our bedroom window - our 'view with a room' as I like to call it.

early November

late November

mid-December


I know, that was boring, right? Well, here's a little tidbit of gossip to liven things up. I turned on the TV the other evening just as a game show was finishing up, and the contestants were none other than Sandra from Peaches McGinty and her husband! Sandra quit blogging last year, but I am happy to report that she's alive and well, she looks exactly the same, and she won £1000 on the game show! I bet there was some celebrating in Liverpool that night.

Now, in spite of my heathen nature and irreverent scepticism, I am sometimes allowed to enter churches if I promise not to kick the pews or sing too loudly.




So Mr. S and I went to a Carol Service at Hereford Cathedral. Here is my report.




First of all, we went to see the Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library, which you can read about by following the links I inserted. The books are chained to stop thieves, I guess, because you can't trust those medieval scholars and monks.




Then we went into the cathedral to look around before the service started.




These huge ancient buildings really take my breath away. I especially love the gigantic piers and big, chunky Romanesque arches, which had crisp detailing that looked so modern, in a way.







Then we did get kicked out.

Haha, we weren't being naughty. The evening service fills up with hundreds of people who have requested tickets - as we had - so we had to go wait on the cold, stone porch with the other ticket-holders for almost an hour before they opened the doors to the congregation.




When the service finally began, the lights were turned off, and the choir and officiants processed by candlelight only - it was magic and beautiful! The lights came on for the rest of the service - we had to read our hymn sheets, after all. I no longer profess to be a Christian, but it was a beautiful service. The boys in the choir sang like angels and the pipe organ stirred my soul. It was a very special way to mark the Solstice.

Just a minute, you're thinking. Solstice? A Christian ceremony? Isn't that hypocritical?

Well, I find commonality between heralding the Solstice and celebrating Christmas. They are both ways that we puny humans try to find light in the darkness. And it feels like 2016 has been pretty damn dark, so we need all the light we can get.

May your days be merry and also bright, and best wishes for signs of light in 2017!

Val