Paphos was warm. Not outright hot, except for the first day (my birthday - what bliss to swim in the sea, sunbathe with a good book and eat a large banana split in the sunshine, in early December!), but the kind of warmth where one can stroll and relax and sightsee wearing jeans and a tee-shirt and a pair of sandals. A couple of days were sunny, a couple were overcast, one was rainy (with a spectacular thunderstorm), and one was bright but very, very windy. Not bad for December.
But shortly after I got back to the UK, the winter weather arrived here, with a huge wallop of thick white frost and temperatures that have stayed below zero all day. Sigh. At least it didn't do that in Cyprus.
Coming home, last Saturday evening, I found a note stuck to my bedroom door saying "The washing machine flooded, some water went under your door, hope everything's okay". Not a good thing to return to. I unlocked and opened the door with a sinking heart, and saw a massive dried-out tide-mark about four feet into the room, and I stood there clutching the handle of my suitcase and swearing like a marine. A very angry marine with Tourettes.
I could see at once that the big canvas bag I had at the end of my bed, with all my spare bedding stored in it, had borne the brunt of it, but short of turning out I had no way of knowing how much further it had spread under the bed - & into all the stuff like paintings and electrical goods, and all the pictures for my 2013 calendar, that I have stored there. It was late and I was tired and cold and I just couldn't face it, so I went to bed and slept - surprisingly well, which shows I was tired - above who-knew-what.
But the gods were on my side. When I gritted my teeth next morning, and shifted the wet bag of sheets and towels to look behind it, I found one soaked shoebox containing my least-favourite pair of sandals (not the end of the world if they never recover), and a second damp shoebox containing photos (pics on old-fashioned photographic paper are pretty salvageable if separated quickly and air-dried). And everything else was fine. Basically, the linen bag had sopped all the water up and held it like a sponge. And since Sunday was a cold but dry day, with a good breeze, I was even able to get the sheets and towels dried off. They're now stacked in the corner, smelling a bit funny but otherwise okay, waiting to be washed and dried again properly over the next week or so.
Someone up there must like me. What's more, we didn't need a plumber - the leak happened because my flatmate had taken out the washing machine filter to clean it and put it back upside down.
What else? Since I got back, I've been practising for the carol service, chugging in to work through the freezing fog, and starting to type up "Gold Hawk" in the evenings.
The carol service was today. It went well and had a lovely atmosphere. I think I had got my head round "Rejoice and be merry!" and the lovely piece of Bach, and I survived the Irish carol (largely by piping right down and just relaxing into the very beautiful male voices that were booming away behind me like a granite wall of sound), but I never did get the hang of the horribly complicated arrangement of "There is a flower". And while I was away in Cyprus the others had learned parts for all the congregation carols; so I was left rumbling along in my usual way, just singing the melody an octave down, and feeling rather out-on-a-limb while everyone else harmonised around me. That kind-of sums up my singing career, come to think of it.
I do feel Christmas is coming, now, though. Nothing like a good dose of carols and readings to remind one of that.
And O, fan-girl-happiness, my Dvd of "The Bourne Legacy" has arrived. Along with David Bintley's new "Cinderella" for BRB, which was a birthday present from my brother Stephen ("legacy" is my birthday present from me). So I have a couple of pleasant nights in to look forward to - one of ballet and one of lechery...