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The weather is not very nice at the moment as we approach Xmas. This morning I was listening to a very nice rendition of Black Bird by Paul McCartney on saxophone it was beautiful, modern interpretation. It is one of my favourite piece of music. The other one which makes me stop to listen is by Cesar Franck, Prélude, Fugue, et Variation. Absolutely wonderful and this is the music I love to listen before going to sleep or before I die this would be the music I would want to hear. It evoque in me many recollections. Have a listen it is well worth it.

We do live in troubled times, it seems the world is gone mad, pandemics, inflations, climate change, extinctions of species, war in Europe, failed politics and violence, threats to democracy. It has been getting worse since March 2020 when Covid became a thing. Let us hope that 2023 will bring a return to more balance and stability. Though I know that it is unlikely, possibly more horrors will come our way. But in the past there has been periods like 1929 to 1945 deep economic depression and then world war and all the horrors of it, with millions of dead. Before that 1914-1919 another great period of turmoil with a flu epidemic. I just feel strange that we will not return to a life as it was prior to 1990, it will never be the same.

I hear friends who are my age or older saying they are happy to be at the end of their lives because they lived through good times, though there was trouble but never as we see it now. From 1946 to 1990 there was stability despite some events, people remained optimistic for the future. This optimism seems to have gone out.

We have talked of travelling in 2023 but we would do close to home travel, nothing in Europe despite wanting to go. Then again at home much will depend on the recovery and good health of Will. More months to go before the final word.

Given that we are 2 weeks away from Xmas, today I decided to go and get my Xmas bird, well not a turkey but a Cornish Hen which I will cook and serve with the appropriate side dish and for dessert will have the Plum Pudding sent to us by Will’s old school friend who lives in Vancouver.

Tomorrow Tuesday the first Winter storm is coming our way with hurricane force winds which is the real concern since the clean up from Fiona continues and many trees are still to be cut down and taken away. We may get more power outages. Though I am not worried here being on the strategic power supply axis of the capital. Winds from the NW at 90Km per hour and snow accumulation of 15cm.

We have done our Christmas decorations and this year it is a small 3 foot tree, no sterling silver balls, no Wedgwood ornaments, only smaller simpler ornaments still collected over 40 years from all around the world. Maybe it is better to go for simpler, nothing says you have to over decorate or go over board with gifts or meals. I prefer to listen to music from J.S.Bach or other classical composers Praetorius, Charpentier, or old French 18th century music or some Chet Baker.

Whatever you do this year, I hope it will make you happy. By the way in and around 1100 AD you would have said Merrie Christes Maesse. The photo below by Mauro Pagliai is the centre of Rome, Piazza Venezia and the lighting of the City of Rome Christmas tree. The long straight lighted street is Via del Corso which takes you to Piazza del Popolo. This street was known in antiquity as Via Flaminia built in 220 BC. imagine walking on a street that is 2220 years old and still very much in use. If you follow it outside of Rome it would take you over the Apennine Mountains to Ariminum (Rimini) on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. How we miss Rome and living there after all these years.

Another view this time from the top of the Vittoriano dedicated to King Vittorio Emanuelle II who unified Italy in 1870 with Garibaldi.