31 December 2014

The Little Match Girl by Fireside Al

CBC Radio has always been a part of my Christmas. One of the most memorable Christmas Eve's in my life I spent all alone listening to CBC Radio. It was at the end of a hectic semester during my undergrad years. My roomate was off to visit family and I was left alone in the apartment with my cat. I lit candles, the tree and the fake electric fireplace. I don't remember what I did that New Year's Eve but CBC was probably involved.


So, if you find yourself alone and wondering what to do this evening, light up the tree and a candle or two (if you don't have a fireplace of some sort) and listen to these stories read by Fireside Al (Alan Maitland). You might want to have a few kleenex at the ready.

The Little Match Girl

28 December 2014

Rain Tears - More Scala Choir

This is the first tune I ever heard Scala Choir do and it still haunts me to this day. And the story told in this video, well, if you understand leave a comment.

I'm assuming they all just ascended into Heaven at the end there after the first one did the dive....!?

26 December 2014

Take a walk today...

In the past Boxing Day has occasionally been a day for getting outside. It started when I began spending Christmas with one of my brothers. He liked to take his kids out skating. I have never been a good skater but I did enjoy being out in the chill air because of how much it made going home to a warm living room with a cup of rum filled eggnog so very, very enjoyable!

Inland Sea Dec 2007
In the Arabian Gulf, where I currently live, the weather in December is quite pleasant. It's not too hot so a walk is a definite possibility but, of course, without the chilly air, snow, frosted breath, etc., well, it's not quite the same.

Me with inadequate hoodie

Except one December evening back in 2007. We'd taken some visitors dune bashing out in the desert. This kind of expedition always ends with a desert camp, food, firepit and shisha / hubbly bubbly. Once the sun set for the evening, the 27th of December, it got really chilly! I practically had to sit in the firepit to stay warm!


But there's seasonal outing by the sea I recall. It was the first Christmas I spent in England back in 1990. I was visiting a man I'd fallen madly in love with the previous summer. We had a nice if complicated time together that Christmas. I'll never forget the afternoon we took a walk by the North Sea in Tynemouth.

It was about 3:30 pm and the sun was already setting! But the pounding surf, the glint of sun off the wet sand, and the wind, well, it was magic! And there were a ton of people there all doing the same thing. One of the few memories I hope I never forget.

Hope you get out today and let the wind blow away any Christmas cobwebs!

24 December 2014

Charity Tree - Happy Christmas Eve :)

Remember that Christmas tree made of sleighs? Well, for this year's charity tree the concept was 'wood.'  Check it out!


23 December 2014

Paul Reid Christmas 2014

Yep, it's that time of the season. Time to settle in and listen to Paul Reid's Christmas. CJAD will once again be broadcasting the show at these times.

CJAD crew, 1948 - Source
Or you can listen to it now here at 103.5 in Cape Breton.

22 December 2014

Christmas in a Castle

Edinburgh Castle 2006 by me
So, Christmas and castles. They just seem to go together, don't they? They do in my mind. Probably because of the time I've spent sitting in drafty stone churches. Especially on Christmas Eve. I quite liked those experiences but it definitely helps if there is lots of enthusiastic carol singing.

It's true I'm currently no where near a stone church, drafty or otherwise, but I have been watching BBC's Secrets of the Castle. The same jolly team that brought you insight into Christmas with the Tudors, the Victorians, and WWII Brits now gets to experience 6 months at a NEW medieval castle construction project underway over the last 16 years - Guedelon Castle!

Although too late to order this year, think about putting one of their wool scarves on next year's gift list.

21 December 2014

Happy Solstice!

Yep, apparently there's a huge straw goat that gets built every year in a place called Gävle in Switzerland. And every year, for the last few anyways, hooligans set it alight!

Want to catch the hooligans then be sure to keep watch at this webcam. Or you can follow the Gävle Goat on Twitter or Instagram. Even read about the goat's thoughts and wishes on its blog (there's an English translation for every post).

You can even, maybe, find some straw and build your own!

UPDATE - Jan 1, 2015 - The goat survived and will be going to China for the Year of Goat celebrations in February!

18 December 2014

Christmas Candle

I love me a smelly candle. It's this time of year that started me on the smelly candle kick and this is the candle that started it all.

Fraiser Fir stuff at Thymes.com
You see several years ago I stumbled upon the perfect Christmas candle. It's Frasier Fir by Thymes. And it smells exactly like a good, old fashioned, live, dropping-sap-and-needles-all-over-the-place, Christmas tree!

It's been part of our Christmas for over a decade. We have to ration it out while living over here so it only gets lit on Christmas Eve and day. I've found other Christmas tree / piney smelling candles but NONE of them are as good as Frasier Fir.

I guess it now qualifies as one of our holiday traditions!

This is a not a paid ad...really.

17 December 2014

Snowflakes are dancing...

I hope there are snowflakes dancing wherever you are!

If you want them, that is :)

16 December 2014

Winter Back Home #2

This was the last place I called home back in Canada...St. John's, Newfoundland. This was taken December 1 by Wichan Yingyongsomsawas.

"snow is back to town..." - Source

14 December 2014

Winter Back Home #1

A pic of my old hometown a few days ago. This is a taste of the reality that inspired the Christmas card by Andris Leimanis that I like so much!

 by evelyndom96 on Instagram

13 December 2014

12 December 2014

Harry Potter and Me

This is a Christmas special originally broadcast back in 2001. In it JK Rowling revisits her past and her journey to and inspirations for the World of Harry Potter.

In my mind, this time of year will forever be associated with the particular magic of Harry Potter and, of course, childhood.

In April 2010 I visited Lacock Abbey where scenes from several Harry Potter films were shot. Click here to read about that on my other blog.

10 December 2014

Noël Éternel in my hometown

Noël Éternel store front 2011
Noël Éternel window display 2011
It's hard not to think about my old hometown this time of year. Especially in this place where Christmas is...well, it's not, shall we say, indigenous. And sometimes I really miss the sights and sounds of the season. I know, I know, you're probably overwhelmed and feeling saturated by now but I miss it. The sights, the sounds and the window shopping!

A few years back I was lucky enough to be back in my old hometown to celebrate a birthday. It was a great, great birthday, I must say. And because it was somewhat close to December the town was done up for the holiday.

One day I took myself down to the old port and wandered endlessly till late evening. On the way back to my hotel I stopped at Notre Dame to light a candle (in memory of my Mom). Upon my exit I stumbled on to this shop just across the street, Noël Éternel

Now, I well remember how, as a kid, there would be a night I'd be taken downtown and hoisted up in front of a department store's window to gape in amazement at an array of mechanized toys whirling round and round in some fantastic diorama. Well, this discovery was a little like that!

08 December 2014

"My Mind was a Fog...

...my heart became a bomb."

I think this illustrates well some of the emotions this season can bring.

05 December 2014

Flash back Friday

A stormy night back in 2003. This was the street on which we lived. We had the apartment in the house with the blue lights. That was our living room window, by the way.

A Stormy Night in 2003 by me

04 December 2014

A Christmas Miracle!

He went missing for 3 days and nights. Sadness reigned and Christmas looked cancelled. Then, last night, he returned!

We'd just spent a couple of hours walking around and putting up posters. A good friend had posted it to Facebook earlier in the day. She told me at least 50 people saw it and she'd gotten a tip that he was over in another compound. We did our rounds and discovered a mini version of Bixby but sadly not him. Disappointed and becoming somewhat resigned we arrived back to our place.
Minutes after his return

I made one last call out the back door then got ready for bed. I went back down to the kitchen to get some water and suddenly heard a familiar chirp. Lo and behold there he was on the back wall! A little skittish and incredibly hyper but seemingly none the worse for wear.

It's a Christmas miracle!

Our other cat, Ms Wow, seems less enthusiastic.

A Star, a star...

I wasn't sure about this but now that it's up I really, really like it!

STRÅLA Pendant lamp

03 December 2014

Winter Eclipse

I love this tune!

 UPDATE: This is a remix version as the original has disappeared from YouTube.

02 December 2014

The Christmas Session from BBC

This is what I was listening to while I pulled out the decorations and put together the Christmas tree yesterday!

01 December 2014

A Krampus Carol

Cult of the Great Pumpkin

Remember Krampus? My oh my. Hasn't he become quite the thing over the last few years? Must be the Creepmas effect.

If you're into this creepy Christmas character (like me) you can now grab yourselves some fantastic Krampus cards by Sam Dunn!