2008 — 25 December: Thursday

Or, as some sect-members characterise it — Christmas. Katie did her usual "Where is he? Time to play!" wake-up call, but I'd beaten her to it by easily five minutes. It was after all already 10:25. Now, at 11:20, I've retired to my Fortress of Solitude with a second cuppa and a biscuit to keep body and soul together. I've been watching Peter build the framework for his new blog (on Wordpress) by — as far as I can see — pick'n'mixing a series of plug-ins and chunks of JavaScript. His background music choice at one point included a phrase that I knew came from the Beaver and Krause album Gandharva1 but, of course, it had merely been sampled. The group (or maybe the album — who can tell?) is Apollo 440. Nearly time for the neighbours to start arriving for their Christmas drinkies. Take cover — incoming.

12:10 and a small glass of warm punch with all manner of tasty stuff in it. A bit of a Mickey Finn if you ask me. Also the patter of numerous tiny feet. Kids, heh? Boundless energy. Unlike the iPod battery, alas. I've plugged it into its little USB charger-cradle but can see little evidence of electron flow in, as it were, a positive direction. Oh dear. I certainly don't want to connect it to Peter's MacBook Pro as I suspect it would promptly synchronise with his current collection and wipe out all my podcasts. Quel horreur — back to "Little Dorrit" on the printed page.

13:40 and a Little Dorrit goes a long way!

16:50 and the main course has just finished! Pity the poor pudding waistline. 17:40 and the trifle is on board. 19:25 Cuppas and podcasts a-plenty.

My second Christmas without Christa. As last year,2 being with family (and, particularly, my son) is helping the emotional stability. Plus, I observe the past 12 months have done some of the healing of the dreadful wound. Heck, I may even drive over to see dear Mama, though it's not a side-trip I relish. And until a few moments ago, I'd given no thought to her at all.

Peter is still working on his new blog. It looks jolly hi-tech from where I sit. His presents to me included the traditional chocolate orange and a sumptuous hardback volume collecting the "Mr X" comix from 1984 or so. I gave him the money to buy the latest exercise system that, by his appearance, works very efficiently. He's even talking of going for a run tomorrow — we dipped out of the charity swim in Sutton Park early this morning. Can't think why.

23:50 and I'm declaring Xmas over for the year. We spent much of the evening watching two youngsters ripping into a pile of presents and Peter and I also caught the new "Wallace & Gromit". Excellent stuff. It's still not too cold, and seems dry. I note Harold Pinter has left the building, though "Pinteresque" lives on in the O.E.D. for some time to come — I hope. I also saw enough of a repeated "Blackadder" documentary to make me mildly curious to pick up a DVD box set.

The iPod dock doesn't seem willing to recharge the player, but directly connecting the USB power lead to it has done the trick and the battery is showing a full charge. I presume skipping through recordings draws more current by causing the buffer to be flushed and refreshed. That was certainly the case with several of my (many) minidisc Walkman devices. And a couple of portable CD players, too. They would read ahead by a minute or more and thus only intermittently drive the main motor.

Perhaps I could adopt this strategy myself? G'night.



1  The lovely track "By your Grace" recorded in Grace cathedral, San Francisco, with its amazingly long decay time for the sax player to contend with (and exploit).
2  I have the same notebook in which I jotted my diary notes a year ago and have thus been able directly to compare, year on year, what I did and what I felt.