Last week was the first anniversary of our leaving Australia; a very emotional time for us all!
I think the biggest emotion, however, is disbelief, surprise, call it what you will - not even sure if it is an emotion!! But come on, seriously, has it really been a whole year???
When I look back on the first couple of months, with us all huddled, freezing in our unfurnished house, the future an uncertain, wavering, grey haze, it all seems, however cliched this may sound, like a distant dream.
There were times that were not much fun, it has to be said, though right from the beginning there have been joys as well - watching winter melt into spring, seeing spring burst into summer, summer fire into autumn and then....well, we're still waiting for winter, I think. Choosing to live here, with no decent shops nearby, the kids having to rely on public transport which stops at 8pm, has been one of the best things we've done! (though Sam doesn't agree, unfortunately, but then he doesn't agree with anything ever anyway.)
A couple of weeks ago, the Adstock Singers, the village choir I formed back in the Spring, gave their first concert in a candlelit, medieval stone church, bedecked with twinkling lights, candles, holly and ivy. We sang a mix of songs, from Bob Chillcott to Mariah Carey, medieval canon, to Leonard Cohen, carols from Austria, Brazil and England (!) and, though I say it myself, it was wonderful. The choir sang beautifully, the audience (almost capacity!) thoroughly enjoyed it, I discovered that conducting is definitely what I was made to do (because nobody in the audience notices when you get a fit of the giggles, whereas, if you're playing the violin or recorder, it's much harder to hide) and we all finished up with mince pies and mulled wine. To my astonishment, both my girls and the neighbours daughter, sing in the choir and really enjoy it, which makes it all the more special. Sam was out at a party and forgot all about the concert, but, hey ho.
The following weekend, we had the church carol service, for which the Adstock Singers also sang, and the church was full of children dressed up as donkeys, shepherds, angels, in a very Joyce Grenfell moment. Then on Tuesday, the choir went to sing at a care home in Buckingham, where we marched through the corridors singing to those too sick to come out of their rooms and we finished up the day with carols round the tree in the village hall, accompanied by brass band from the next village and then, of course, mulled wine at the pub. Just in case you haven't quite caught on yet, we are thoroughly enjoying being a part of vilage life.
Though we still miss our friends and relatives in Brisbane - and always will, the fish of sadness forever worrying at a part of our souls - it is fair to say that, at this point in life, we are settling pretty well and are busier than ever, though Rupert looks like Rudoph the red-nosed reindeer at the moment. There are all sorts of deep and thought provoking things I probably ought to be writing about right now, but I just really wanted to come on here and wish everybody a wonderful Christmas and say that I hope you all have a great time, despite all the worries of the world, and may you all get dogs in the new year, if you haven't already.