Relaxing

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Francois Ancelot painted by his wife Virginie in 1819, having the perfect post-Christmas rest in my opinion. As are these ladies

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(Comtesse de Blot, Madame d’Egmont and Madame de Brionne by Louis Carmontelle), and this young man

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(Young boy reading by Octavian Smigelschi)

And you are welcome, welcome

Come when the nights are bright with stars

Or come when the moon is mellow;

Come when the sun his golden bars

Drops on the hay-field yellow.

Come in the twilight soft and gray,

Come in the night or in the day,

Come, O Love, whene’er you may,

And you are welcome, welcome.

You are sweet, O Love, dear love,

You are soft as the nesting dove.

Come to my heart and bring it to rest

As the bird flies home to its waiting nest.

Come when my heart is full of grief,

Or come when I am merry;

Come with the falling of the leaf,

Or with the redd’ning cherry.

Come when the year’s first blossom blows,

Come when the summer gleams and glows,

Come with the winter’s drifting snows,

And you are welcome, welcome.

Paul Laurence Dunbar – Invitation to Love

Quantities of rooms

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“It was a wonderful house to have Christmas in if you were a child…an enormous Victorian Gothic, with quantities of rooms, passages, unexpected steps, back staircases, front staircases, alcoves, niches…and three different pianos.”

Agatha Christie’s autobiography, and Two Temple House, a place I first discovered one Christmas and that really would be fabulous to grow up in.

Gaudete

Gaudete Sunday is the third Sunday in advent and the time when the reflections on sin, longing and exile are replaced by a moment of hope. It’s symbolised by a change from deep purple vestments to pink in the Catholic Church, and is a moment of excitement for all children who know that Christmas itself isn’t far off now.

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Pink is a colour that for centuries in the West was a “male” one, being viewed as a faded version of martial red, but in the early 20th century it changed and baceme associated with women. The Museum at FIT have a show exploring how this colour can be powerful, punk and provocative as well as pretty and I’m sorry I won’t have a chance to see it before it closes on January 5th. If you’re back in the area, do see it – their 2016 shows on uniformity and on Proust’s muse are two of the most thought provoking shows I’ve seen.

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Brighton

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To the Pavilion a few days ago with a generous group of friends for carols, feasting and a good gawk at the ongoing restorations that are making the building look ever more fabulous each time you visit.

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The newly restored carpets in some rooms are mind-boggling, and the bright wallpapers in some rooms would fit right in in a Dalston speakeasy/kombucha bar.

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More was definitely more, where the Prince Regent was concerned.

Dec 2018.

Boars

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Photo by @jlinford as part of her foodie Advent calendar for this year. These splendid gingerbread boats are from Bageriet, a little Swedish shop just off Covent Garden that does sinfully-good hot chocolate too.

Just a spoonful of soup or so

The King was determined to show that he did not lack for gold and silver, so he drew heavily on his treasury to make these occasions as grand as he thought they ought to be… he decreed that there should be a great sausage banquet, he got into his carriage and himself invited all the kings and princes to what he said would just be a spoonful of soup or so, but that was to make the surprise of the delicacies they were to be served all the nicer. “For you know, my dear,” he said to his wife the Queen, in very friendly tones, “how much I like to eat sausages!”

The Queen knew very well what he meant by that, which was that he wanted her to make the sausages herself, which she had done before, and a very useful task it was too…

Now the trumpets and drums played and all the princes and potentates in their fine clothes came to the sausage banquet, some riding white palfreys, some in crystal coaches. The King welcomed them warmly…but as the liver sausage was served, the King could be seen turning paler and paler, raising his eyes to heaven – faint sighs escaped his breast – he appeared to be suffering some terrible internal pain. And as the next course of blood sausage was served, he sat back in his armchair, sobbing and moaning, covered his face with his hands and wailed and groaned.

The whole company jumped up from the table, the royal physician tried in vain to feel the unfortunate King’s pulse, a deep and nameless grief seemed to be tending him apart. At long last, after much consultation and the application of strong remedies for reviving someone in a faint, such as burnt feathers and the like, the King to some extent came back to his senses, and barely audible, stammered out the words, “Not enough bacon!”

The Tale of The Nutcracker – Hoffman