Did you remember to say 'white rabbit' at the beginning of the month? Welcome to the month of December. This is a really complex month to describe, with the Christmas season around the corner, yet a month of miserable cold damp weather, the end of the year nearing and for some, sad memories of events and happenings during Christmases past and those loved ones no longer with us. I hope you have as pleasant, relaxing and safe a festive break as possible.
Although December is the well known twelfth month, in the old Julian calendar, it was the tenth month hence the 'Decem' at the beginning representing 'ten'; the inclusion of January and February pushed all the months back two months.
There are too many events and celebrations to list them all really, but if I would pick out a couple, there is the winter solstice (in the northern hemisphere) around the 21st December; and Nobel prizes given on the 10th, on the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel. Most of the other celebrations, apart from Christmas belong to individual countries.
December birthstones are turquoise, lapis lazuli, zircon, blue topaz and December's flower is holly, narcissus and euphorbia pulcherrima.
We've already had our first decent frost Tuesday morning and it took me ages to clear my car of ice. Now I have a diesel, it took a long time for the car to warm up and clear the condensation on the inside. My old petrol car was so hot almost immediately, it took just a couple of minutes to clear; I just need to get up earlier which is NOT good news.
My next job is to start writing Christmas cards. I bought the stamps yesterday, queuing in the post office for twenty minutes with everyone in a last minute rush who were buying car tax a day late!
I love people watching and of course you can't examine people too closely for fear of being spotted staring, but all of life's characters were there: harassed mother, disinterested office junior, reluctant car tax payer, concerned auntie sending parcels abroad, sniffing wrapped-up executive (next to me) who'd rather not queue with the hoi polloi, two friends who were catching up with life after not seeing each other for a while - one excited because her temporary job was made permanent "which will see me through to retirement" and the other who is looking after a sickly husband with "that flu thing - poor love." Despite being very busy, the assistant was cheerful and made polite conversation - even though she gave me two dozen first class stamps instead of second class - I never spotted it until I got home and she charged me for first class as well to so no advantage there; hey ho.
I've printed all the address labels from an MS Excel worksheet which I've had years and update every now and then when people pop off, move house or just drift out of my life (not many of those thank goodness,) so I have saved myself some writing.
But which pen to use, fountain, ball point (black - very formal or blue - relaxed), silver or gold gel? Decisions decisions. I even send little notes of the family's story of 2009 for those I don't see from one year to the next. I wonder what happens to them - put in the bin, in a drawer? I don't mind.