As threatened yesterday, here's a seasonal update.
It's early winter in Glasgow: frost, snow, sunshine. George Square has switched on the Christmas lights, to the despair of the taxi driver who took me to the station this morning. ("Why do thousands of people turn up to watch? The lights are the same every year!") Then I said that I thought the Blitz-like firework display was an unnecessary addition to the switching-on ceremony, and that the money would be better spent clearing ice from the streets. Then the taxi driver told me that he didn't really believe in global warming, and we agreed to disagree.
On Saturday TMiddy and I threw our annual Christmas party. We've hosted these in New York, in Iowa City, in New Orleans, and in Glasgow. Next year: Sheffield? A few weeks ago I bought an amaryllis bulb, timed to bloom in all its extravagant red profusion just before our party. And so it did. But on the morning of the party, when we were out of the house buying ice and prosecco and other necessities, the amaryllis decided to kill itself.
Undeterred, we pressed on with the party. We'd made a ham, after all.
And other yummy food too, of the feeding-a-crowd variety:
We even turned on the log-fire DVD, though it makes everyone feel hot FOR NO REASON.
And afterwards we were left with the gnawed remnants of ham, a poinsettia given to us in lieu of the recently deceased amaryllis, a dozen sodden tea towels, and a lot of washing up.
The next day, the dryer transformed one of the tea towels into an origami bird, and TMiddy was almost persuaded to get out the iron for the second time in two days. But then we came to our senses, and lay around watching HOMELAND instead.
We're neck-deep in Christmas cards now - as ever, the ones we're sending rather than receiving. I asked my students this year if they'd consider sending a card to someone elderly - a grandparent or older relative, a neighbour, a family friend, a former teacher. Some of them seemed keen on the idea, or at least willing to humour me. If any of you out there would consider doing the same - sending a holiday card to someone elderly not usually on your list - it would be a good thing, I think.
TMiddy has turned on the electric blanket. Like the George Square Christmas decorations, it's the same every winter.