Houston, we have re-established communication. Well, not with the Mars Polar
Lander, but just with this diarist, off-air for the last day or so, due to
being just far too busy.
Saturday evening was long but quite productive, though first I cooked up a
rather uninspiring Tesco pizza, really quite grim apart from being a
stuffed-crust one. Then I set to work on those Christmas MIDI files, working
through a number of songs from the nativity section of "Songs of Fellowship".
I transcribed - and practised playing along to - six carols in about four
hours, before recording them to Minidisc in advance of Sunday's formal
practice. Zoe phoned half way through the recording, so I phoned her back
afterwards to sort out Sunday morning's logistics, before heading off to bed.
Sadly I didn't sleep at all well, with too much music spinning around inside my
head for me to get to sleep quickly, and then sleeping patchily before needing
to be up in good time Sunday morning. I probably got about five or six hours
sleep in the end, which is in no way enough for me, and I think it showed
throughout most of the day on Sunday. It turned out that I could have had a
few more minutes in bed Sunday morning, because Chris was a little late opening
up at the school, which was unavoidable but still a bit of a pain as I had a
lot to do - thanks to some short-notice juggling of administrational
responsibilities - before picking Zoe up. As such, this time it was my turn to
be half an hour late at the railway station, but Zoe understood...
The morning meeting seemed just about the right length, with another typically
exuberant talk by Paul, even if the music seemed a bit strained at times, as if
they were desperate to fill the allotted time. After chatting to a few folks
and so on, we headed off to Pizza Hut for our customary Italian-for-two deal,
which always goes down well both on the palate and the wallet, and then it was
time to go back to the school for the shopping centre practice thing.
As we'd expected, they were running well late even before the first group had
done their stuff, though somehow we were almost back on schedule by the time I
was due to be on, and my traditional carols - even if performed using very
untraditional technology - seemed to go down very well with all present. We
stayed for Daniel and Jodie's piece, since they needed a few "volunteers", but
then we toddled back home, thinking we were "required" in the early evening to
help a friend out with moving some stuff. However Sarah phoned just after we
got back, and I had misunderstood her a bit, since she actually wanted to move
the stuff during the week, not yesterday evening. That was no problem though,
and I've agreed to give her a hand tomorrow morning; for various reasons that
works out better anyway, even if I'm having to take the morning off work to do
With nothing on television, no time to watch a film, and loud snoring to
distract us anyway, we braved the cold and damp, and wandered down to the Barge
for a drink, getting back to the house just in time to go on to the evening
meeting. That was very good, even if it overran quite seriously, with Andy
giving one of his more memorable talks - somehow including swallowing raw egg,
and recounting stories of infestations of armour-plated maggots - and a decent
period of prayer for the four congregations.
By the end of the meeting it was getting quite clear outside, and we pondered
doing a little astronomical observation - having had only overcast or damp
Sunday evenings for weeks - but eventually gave in to the freezing cold and
instead Zoe pre-signed a load of Christmas cards, so I can get on with writing
those out properly now, and post them as appropriate. Our journey back to Iver
was via Stacey Bushes KFC and the BP garage, as seems to be increasingly the
norm, and we made excellent progress with no hold-ups at all.
Zoe's mum had more or less gone to bed - and I had much the same thought in
mind - so I didn't hang around too long, though Zoe and I looked up at the
stars for a bit, especially since I'd just spotted a couple of Geminid meteors,
though Zoe was unfortunately looking the wrong way at the time - can't imagine
why! - and felt the cold more than the urge to see her first shooting star.
The journey home was a bit mucky, but I made good time nevertheless, and was in
bed not long after one, getting an unusually good night's sleep too!