14 December, 2006

voices raised in song















The Christmas festivities at school were simply lovely. The majesty! The accomplishment. The sound of many, many little girls coughing simultaneously! And the dump truck and street cleaner busily at work outside the stained-glass windows. Such are the accoutrements of an urban holiday celebration.

Miss Leslie cleverly suggested that we sit up high, in the galleries above the pews, and it was a revelation. Not for us the craning of necks, to catch the occasional glimpse of our child. We got to see her the whole time! She played her violin, she sang in English, in Latin, in French! All the songs that had been getting a little tiresome, a little repetitive heard over the whir of the food processor or the running of bath water, took on a whole new dimension in the gravity the church, and coming from 130 throats. They were all so well-behaved, even the minute little Lower Kindergarten gulls whose only transgressions were the occasional swinging foot or waving hand, to an older sister. They sang "It's a Baby!" with great enthusiasm, but perhaps not the gravitas of the upper grades and their guitar, recorder, flute and violin performances. I passed out kleenexes to my mother in law and to Susan, who sat next to me, but no one blubs quite as much as I do. I tried my best to be dignified, and spent some quality time staring at Sam's new baby cradled on her chest. What a nice time of year to have a small baby.

Mrs D read a lesson, and you could hear a pin drop. Those gulls are terrified of her! And Isabelle's mother read, as Chair of the Parents' Circle, and the head gull and deputy head gull read, very impressively. The Reverend Whoever (I simply can never remember his name) gave a very nice prayer, to the accompaniment of the construction site outside, and then we all crushed out the door, losing Sophia and her parents in the meantime and causing some minor panic as to whether or not her parents had gone ahead to our house, and Sophia had been left at the church. But as we walked back to the school with Mrs D, it was hard not to feel that all was right with the world. She put her arm around Avery's shoulder and praised her violin playing, and we praised the incredible organisation that went into the whole hour and a half long event. And who knew Miss Leslie played the bass? She was dressed in her usual whimsical, individual fashion, with a gauzy flowered skirt peeping beneath her pink tweed coat with a leopard collar! And knee-length boots.

We came home with Sophia's family and tucked into champagne and tea sandwiches: duck pate, roast pork and dressing, egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and a sandwich of my own design: sliced plum tomatoes with butter and cilantro pesto! Pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Right now, I'm just back from The London International Horse Show at Olympia, which I'll tell you more about later (plus an incredible soup recipe of my own design), but John's parents kept Avery at the show and John and I can have... a date! What shall we do? I know, a spicy dinner out. Maybe Deya? We've always had so much fun there.

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