Advent Song for December 9: Driving Home For Christmas

Coincidentally we are on our way to R’s ancestral home, though we’re on a train and it’s for a birthday, so it’s not an exact match for today’s song. We’re speeding our way through a whirlwind of Caledonia-based family and friends and getting a go at the Christmas markets while we’re at it, and although it’s minus one hundred and twenty degrees outside it’s all very twinkly and lovely. And tonight we’re staying at a hotel on a golf course! Although last night’s hotel gave us free mulled wine and mince pies, so it’ll have to outdo itself in more ways than one to measure up.

This is a ridiculous song but it’s one of my favourites, mainly because I like doing the voice (I’m better at it after a glass of mulled wine).

Today’s good news is a bit unusual because it’s not the kind of thing you get as an “and finally” on the news, but I read it in the small hours of this morning (all these Christmas parties are throwing me off-kilter, sleepwise) courtesy of my friend Jonathan, who shared it on Twitter, and – as I said to him – it’s SUCH an extraordinary relief to find that in the morass of uninformed and bad-faith opinions on the Labour party and antisemitism, there are people who think and feel the same way I do and are able to articulate it (which, despite trying, I haven’t really been). So do me a favour and read this article and don’t let’s speak again until you have. I’ll even let you skip the Chris Rea.

Advent song for December 23: Happy Christmas, Niamh!

Niamh is my sister-in-law, as of thirty-four days ago. She said:

I love Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea. I love to hear it on the days leading up to the main event, when you finish work and all the shopping is done!

For most of us, today is hopefully one of those days. I finish work this afternoon, and I have done all my shopping already, although some of it isn’t coming until tomorrow, EEK.

I expect Niamh finished all her shopping a month ago, because Niamh is incredibly organised, which I think you probably have to be if you’ve got a house and a job and a husband and two teenage sons, who are not only involved in about twenty out-of-school activities each, but are two of the nicest teenage boys you could ever imagine meeting. When I first met them they were 9 and 13 and they were lovely, and now they’re 13 and 17 they are, unbelievably, still lovely, and also very funny and grown-up. I don’t know how she does what she does, but I hope it runs in the family, because if we can one day raise children half as nice as Niamh’s, and if we can do it with as much wit and warmth as she does, we’ll be doing well.

So happy Christmas Niamh, to you and all the family. Christmas has crept up on us a bit this year, but we’ll be back in Dublin soon!