Sunday, December 21, 2008

Solstitial salutations

Ave atque vale!

Yesterday, Malcolm recalled his father's annual ritual, before Christmas Dinner, of beginning the unauthorised version of George R. Sims's epic (and the equally ritual intervention by Mum before the fruity bits).

This morning Malcolm recalled a twice-yearly moment. The old man would look out the window, suck sagely on his pipe, and (depending on which solstice it was) note that "The nights are creeping in/getting shorter." So, this morning, after an exhaustive scan of the football scores, down to the most minor leagues, it would have been:
  • Go through the tasks of cleaning bowl, rodding out pipe, inserting 'baccy.
  • Light up.
  • Suck sagely.
  • Turn to window.
  • Make appropriate comment.
Now Malcolm, a non-smoker since fags went up to 4/6d a packet of 20, has to do the monologue for himself.

Had he his way, Malcolm would have been on, above and even under the chill plain of Meath this morning, in the Boyne Valley, at Newgrange, one of the select score with a chance of catching the view above (December 21st 2003, by photographer Fran Caffrey).

Instead, he had to try the next best thing, and catch it on the Web (replays available). Even that went wrong: the Redmond Fourth Reich had invited only users of Windows Media Player to the party. Bastards.

The edited highlights of 2007, with music (inevitably) by Clannad, are on YouTube:

Anyway, at 12.04 pm, Greenwich Mean Time, today, the days started getting longer.

Part 2: the politics of Newgrange to follow.
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