Posted in Updates on Monday 26th December 2005 at 7:16pm

I recall writing about the rather humbling realisation last year that the festive season was important, if only for the sense of belonging to a family. The past year has tested everyone one in my family beyond expectation, but despite even the most recent setbacks, we all turned out for what was perhaps the strangest Christmas Day on record for us. We overcame some of the practical problems, and managed to involve my father who was uncomfortably nursing his injured foot elsewhere in the house. Once again, my nephew stole the show and kept everyone on their toes. Perhaps the most rewarding time was a half-hour spent sitting on the kitchen floor playing with magnetic numbers on the freezer, with him repeating the numbers after me before sweeping them onto the floor. Surreally, he pronounced the 'equals' sign as 'eagles' which appealed to my sense of humour and ended with us both giggling uncontrollably.

Despite mostly living so close to each other, we're not often together for more than a few minutes at a time. Thinking back over the past year, and looking forward with a degree of trepidation, I'll confess there were moments when I could barely control my emotions this Christmas. Channelled some of this excess of energy into an endeavour my mother has long wished to undertake - the tracing of the family tree. So, spent much of today knee deep in Census records and mananged to trace a couple of the branches back to the 1850s, with the help of my grandmother's unfailing memory. I sense this project will start to involve and obsess us increasingly - and I'm already feeling a pull towards a small village in Worcestershire which seems to hold the key to my origins. Once again I'm substituting topography for spirituality.

I suspect that as a result of this entry I'll be asked once again if I'm a 'convert to Christmas'. Well, I'm not - there has been no Dickensian visitation here to cause a turnaround. I'm more convinced, in fact, than ever about my atheism. But a holiday when no-one has anywhere else to be but here is always going to be a good thing in my book.



I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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