Of all the things I most dislike about this time of year, getting up in the dark comes top of the list. So, while obviously saving my annual quota of wild revelry for Christmas Day itself, I like to give a quiet cheer for the arrival of the Winter Solstice. I know that, even although we are still hostages to the pantomime, the weather probably hasn’t done its worst by a long way, and I haven’t yet finished writing and sending Christmas cards, better days are coming.
The props for this year’s pantomime haven’t been all that difficult by our usual standards. I can still remember without much fondness the year when I had to wrestle with a huge golden egg, moulding what seemed like acres of wire netting and layer upon layer of papier-maché into shape while the cat stood by, waiting to destroy it. As for the year of the tinsel-covered hula-hoops, suffice it to say that I still vacuum up tinsel in the corners of the conservatory from time to time and that I always try to leave one finger-nail extra long so that I can separate out double-sided sticky tape from its backing if the need arises. Delivering the props to the cast on stage at the right time is still something of a challenge, and I just hope the laugh we got yesterday just after hurling the corset on to the stage wasn’t because the audience could see me lurking behind the wobbly screen.
My writing has not progressed at all during the last week or two. This isn’t because of writer’s block or any lack of enthusiasm on my part. It has been physically impossible to fit it into the time, with my daily schedule for the past week going something like this: get up in the dark, go to work, [come home], go to evening meeting/rehearsal/performance, come home, go to sleep. The ‘come home’ part in square brackets is a kind of optional extra as it has sometimes been necessary to go straight from work to the theatre. Being hit by a pre-Christmas virus didn’t help very much either.
But this post is meant to be about looking on the bright side and looking forward to lighter mornings, warmer weather (not due for a while yet) and positive New Year thoughts. So I can reveal here that although I haven’t been writing, I’ve been thinking and planning. After today I will have time to work on ‘A Tasteful Crime’ but as well as that I plan to offer readers of my blogs some Christmas gifts during the next week or so. So watch this space for more information!