This is our second storm in three days, after Storm Barbara blew through on Christmas Eve—I was dimly aware of noises on the roof around midnight and the muffled sound of sleigh bells; I listened anxiously for Santa but there was only a sudden gust of wind followed by a distant “Ho, ho, hoeeuuaaarrrggghhhhh” and that was that.
Still, Christmas morning offered a brief respite, so we went up to John O’Groats. Looking out over the North Sea under leaden grey skies you really do feel that you’re standing at the end of the world—which, in a sense, you are, of course.
There’s a scene towards the end of the Lord of the Rings when the riders of Rohan come to the rescue of the besieged realm of Gondor, and in the battle Eomer believes that his uncle and sister have been killed. Seized with a beserker death wish he rallies his men with the world’s greatest battle cry: “Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world’s ending!”
Well, I always picture the host of Rohan several days’ later sitting on their panting horses at John O’Groats, staring at the bleak expanse of the North Sea. Eomer looks round and observes, ‘Well, it’s the world’s ending all right—kinda ruined, too. Hmm, wonder how it all worked out back at Gondor? Ach, it’s probably fine, yeah: now, who wants ice cream?”
In gansey news, I have slowed down a little but not much: so that I have finished the first side and am over halfway up the second. At this rate I should manage to get the shoulders joined this week. It’s going to be long—about as long as a cricket sweater, I think—but I can always fold up the ribbing the way they used to in the old days.
Finally, I’d like to thank all those who’ve read, commented or made a donation this year: as my favourite Anglo-Saxon saying goes, “Everyone who cries out wants to be heard”—so thank you. See you next year! And to quote the traditional Somerset Carol:
God bless the ruler of this house and long may he reign,
Many happy Christmases he live to see again!
God bless our generation, who live both far and near
And we wish them a happy, a happy New Year.
(Well, it was either that or “Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the year’s ending!”…)