Monday, 23 December 2019

Happy Christmas

I realise I've taken my eye of the ball blog-wise. I haven't commented as often as I usually do on other people's posts and I  haven't written one for a while either. Perhaps you haven't noticed; indeed, why should you.

I like Christmas, and I'm looking forward to spending time with family and friends, eating and drinking treats and giving and receiving presents. However, I struggle with some aspects of it - the extravagance, the overindulgence, the commercialism and, particularly, the fact that I get caught up in it despite my best intentions, and the way I allow my green principles to be compromised for the sake of not being the party-pooper. I just been in Morrisons (again) and caught myself standing flummoxed by the choice of two boxes of dates. How did it come to this?

However, at the end of business today I'm switching on my 'out of office' message until 2 January and then I'm off to the panto (oh yes I am). It's all good, really.

I wish you a joyful Christmas and a peaceful and positive 2020.

Monday, 2 December 2019

How I learnt to tell a crumhorn from a shawm

You might recall that I held the book launch for A Sparge Bag on the Washing Line at Kettering Arts Centre. There were lots of reasons for this, chief amongst them being that the place plays a large part in the story. I'm also a keen advocate of the venue because of the quality and variety of acts in brings into the town: music, drama, comedy and art. There were people there on the night who hadn't been in the Arts Centre before, even though for some of them it was right on their doorstep, so in my thank-you speech I encouraged them to come along to an event there and especially to come and see someone they'd never heard of.

On Saturday evening, I followed my own advice. It had already been a long day - taking our turn on an Etsy fair, a bit of promotion for Extinction Rebellion, shopping, trying to ignore the cold weather - so by 7pm all Mr T and I wanted to do was curl up in front of Strictly with a glass of something. However, there was a 'turn' on at the Arts Centre and so off we went. Good decision.

We went to hear A Brief History of Christmas performed by GreenMatthews, who are musicians Chris Green and Sophie Matthews, joined on this occasion by Jude Rees. You can read more about them here. Suffice to say their knowledge of the history of Christmas music and the instruments on which it is played is extraordinary and relayed with humour and energy: and that's before I say anything about their musicianship. They are on tour and if they're coming anywhere near you I recommend you go along.

The point, though, is that if you only listen to music you know, buy tickets for comedians you've seen on TV or read books by authors you've read before - hell, if you never speak to a stranger! - you could miss out on something fabulous. We're really glad we took the plunge on Saturday.