blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas coming

Australia feels a long way off in time and space, now, although I haven't finished blogging about it and have promised to give a talk about it in French on Tuesday. The sky is dark and clear tonight, all the coloured Christmas lights are shining in the trees, downtown, and tomorrow we're due for an intensification of the wintery weather. We're driving to Bourget and back in the afternoon to visit our Christmas tree friends, and we must get back home before the blowing snow starts to reduce visibility and hamper the wheels.

Last night I walked to the Château Laurier in the bitter cold wind to attend a crowded reception for supporters and friends of Palestine and its diplomats, the General Delegation of Palestine in Canada. I had a glass of wine and some roast lamb with mint jelly. The Chief Delegate, Mr. Said Hamad (whose wife I know her through our Spanish conversation group) made an excellent speech announcing that next year, 2014, is officially designated The Year of Solidarity with Palestine.

Listening to the Hungarian choir.  The empty seat in the picture was mine.

Today I was at the banquet room of the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club for an elegant and tasty Christmas lunch with some more diplomats, about 100 of us altogether, where we were entertained by a choir of Hungarians, the ladies dressed in Hungarian blouses. They sang advent carols in Latin, Spanish, German, French, Italian, English and their own language (Mennyből az angyal) and wishing us Boldog Karácsonyt!––Merry Christmas––at the end of the performance. We all joined in Deck the Halls, an old fashioned British carol which must have absolutely flummoxed the Vietnamese ladies at my table. I mean, what on earth must they have thought of these lyrics?
...Don we now our gay apparel, fa, la, la ... 
Troll the ancient yuletide carol, fa, la, la ...
See the blazing yule before us, fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la! ...
I told them these words were very old.

At this party I had an interesting chat with a lady artist, Fortunée Shugar, whose paintings and wearable art ("fused" glass jewelry) were on display at one end of the room. She told me she was rethinking her past, her childhood, through abstract paintings which I thought very good. She'd also done a series of mixed media paintings in response to her visit to Giverny in France, to see Monet's garden. Her husband was at the party too, taking better photos than I.

While all this was going on, the snow-covered golf course outside, seen through the windows, looked very peaceful and inviting.

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