I’m writing this from Dads. We arrived the night before last after a fraught day. With Oscars birthday on the 16th we had left the packing until the morning of the 17th but we had to be at dads for that evening so we could rehearse with Jeni for the concert the next day. The car had had to go in to the garage after a warning light came on so that didn’t help but we managed to leave by two and with only a short stop for food arrived at dads with 10mins to spare before the rehearsal.
The concert needed quite a bit of sorting out as it is quite a bitty programme with quite a few new things and combinations of people. Dad had done loads of planning and selling tickets in advance, not to mention sorting out wine and glasses for the interval, organising a childrens orchestra, arranging music for various ensembles and rehearsing a choir for “Shepherd’s Farewell”. The concert day (yesterday) was a busy one and we had woken up to a beautiful snow scene so of course we had to go out and play in it. Anton wasn’t too sure about it so Joth took him in while the boys and I went off to try sledging which has never really worked in Dean as I should know, due to the lack of hills but it was still fun to pull each other along and look at the animal tracks and make snowmen. Dean looked magical in the snow and I think the kids will really remember these few days.
Unfortunately the snow didn’t help the concert. Brian and Sita had to cry off as the snow is even worse in Hemel and people were crying off from four miles away, let alone 60 miles away. Still, dad had sold so many tickets in advance that mums charity didn’t suffer even if people didn’t turn up. In the end about 40 people turned up which was about half the number expected. It also turned out to be probably the coldest concert imaginable. The heating in Dean is as good as non-existant and we even cut pieces from the second half as it was too much to expect people to sit through. It was a real shame but the atmosphere was still a good one: people had brought mince pieces and nibbles and it was lovely for me to see old friends like the Crofts and the Davises.
Oscar and Lucas took part in the childrens orchestra playing Calypso carol and Joth played keyboard for “Nulla Mundo.” Anton was amazing during the whole concert. He even sat quietly on Daves knee while Joth and I played in the Vivaldi together. I wished I had managed to sort something more substantial for the Oscar and Lucas to play but it has felt difficult to get Oscar back in to playing the violin properly since his accident. His wrist seems to give him trouble, particularly with vibrato and I have been impatient that he hasn’t wanted to make up for lost time so practise hasn’t gone smoothly. I have been trying to resist making a real issue out of it. We’ll just start again after Christmas. I feel with Oscar that he could be much better but he has been a bit resistant to my efforts at helping him to work consistently. He does concentrate well but doesn’t always want to do the nitty gritty necessary (like most kids of course) and I think I will end up by putting him off. It’s a very difficult balance. I also want to resist making him be good at the violin just because I think he should/could be or because I know people will look at him thinking that he should be good with me to tutor him at home. I do think he could be, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to “make” him whether he likes it or not.
After the concert we came back with Jeni and co, and Andy and Mandy to have a warming curry together. And gosh did we need it! It was bliss to be in the warm again and get some feeling back in our feet! Dad had found a family that cater for parties and the food was fabulous so it felt like a real party. Dave had arrived just before the concert too so we could have Christmas weekend together (he will be in Bristol with Catherine for Christmas itself).
We’ve had a lovely relaxed day together today. I tried to recreate Nan’s Chicken in Lemon for lunch which was pretty successful (I will carry on trying to tweak it) and we had banana splits with butterscotch sauce for pudding. After lunch we exchanged presents with David. I’d been dying to give him the book of his stories that I had had printed and the kids loved the Roald Dahl recipe book and Star Wars comic strip makers that he gave them. He had given Anton a DVD of Morph and the plasticine kit to make the models and the boys made lovely models. We played Pictionary this evening and had crumpets and Braga Special and I was really appreciating the cosiness of us all round the fire. There was even the last episode of the current series of “Merlin” for us to enjoy and it was an emotional one as Merlin found his real father who was then killed in a battle. Oscar and I shed a few bonding tears together. I like to think that I am helping him express his emotions.