Saturday, December 24, 2016


joyeux noël

On this quiet Christmas Eve our house is filled with the scent of gingerbread, as batch number two is nearly ready to come out of the oven.  Rain is falling lightly outside but doesn't seem strong enough to melt the snow from earlier this week.  Presents are wrapped.  Blessings are being counted.  Christmas books are being re-read and loved anew.  Like this one:

The diminutive, paperbound Christmas Verse (Oxford University Press 1945, 34 pp).  Designed by John Begg, this is a bibelot of high order.  Each selection is presented in calligraphy or typeface appropriate to the time period of the verse in question.  Typefaces and letter families (I think I just made that term up) include those used by Caxton, a few in the Aldine tradition, and Bembo, Bell, Caslon, Scotch Roman, Cheltenham, and Times New Roman.  The text selections range from the twelfth century to the twentieth.  A peek inside:

And a few more, showing examples of titles, initials, and fleurons, in blue, red, and black inks:


The little pottery dish is four inches across, and was made by the M.A. Hadley company in Louisville, Kentucky.  My family has always kept some Hadleyware around the house and this was a recent antiques shop find.  It's such cheerful stuff I can seldom resist it if I come across it.  (Makes a good book weight, too, as is evident.)  One more picture, with a locally-made pottery wren peeking in, for good measure:

All that is to say - here's to tradition, and cozy holidays, and tears in our eyes while listening this morning to the Choir of King's College, Cambridge working their magic on the radio, with A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.  During this year's broadcast, this haunting carol was the one that got me where I live, here on a country hillside, in the snow, near an ancient apple tree.  Joyeux Noël and Peace on Earth in the new year, and far beyond.

Sounds like it was joyful. A very happy New Year to you and Ryan!
And the same to you, Dan! I have to believe that things will get better... keeps me on the bright side, where I love to be!
A blessed 2017, friends!
Yes, for all, dear Antony!
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