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Last evening saw the Family Robbo gathered for a premature Christmas Dinner, ahead of the departure of Mrs. Robbo and the gels for Flahrduh tomorrow.¹  As is the immemorial custom, said dinner consisted of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and asparagus. In your host’s humble opinion, this menu is pretty much the apex of Western Civilization.

As it turned out, I over-cooked the asparagus.  I also managed to decapitate the pud by trying to cook it in the small, lower oven that did not have sufficient head-room to accommodate it.  However, I absolutely bang-on nailed the beef itself, producing the pinkest of rare goodiness.  And when you’ve got that, the other failings just don’t seem all that important.  (Speaking of having got that, the thing was about 7 1/2 pounds.  Guess what I’m going to be eating during my enforced bachelorhood.  That’s okay, too, because the second best dish behind a roast beef dinner is roast beef leftover sammiches.)

Oh, and lest you suspect that this blog is nothing but gammon, I may inform you that the Christmas port was also brought out.  (Indeed, I toasted the lot of you.)  And while nobody sat about the table chatting over it, it did prove instrumental in giving that extra zip to the latest concert of the Port Swiller Crash and Burn Pick-Up Ensemble which took place after din-dins.

¹They come back to town a week from today.  It honestly did not occur to me until we actually sat down last evening that I had ought to have suggested we celebrate Christmas then, instead of on the last Sunday of Advent, since it will be within the proper season.  I can be a remarkable doofus sometimes.  Plus, Mrs. Robbo had already said the majick words “open presents early” to the gels, so resistance would have been futile.

Yesterday was Lessons and Carols over at RFEC, with the younger gels’ yoot choir participating in both the 9:00 AM and the 11:15 AM services.  Ol’ Robbo never misses a chance to hear the gels sing, so after hitting 7:30 AM Mass, I scuttled over to the old digs, with the aim of attending both services.

I got to the RFEC early enough to catch the choirs, adult and yoot, rehearsing one of the carols.  It was one by Benjamin Britten (who I really don’t like) and involved a lot of discordant syncopation between and among the two groups.  Toward the end, the youngest gel evidently lost her way, as she suddenly stopped singing, stared at her book for a moment and then rolled her eyes at the woman standing next to her.

The woman smiled.  In my experience, this is the equivalent of waiving a red flag in front of a bull.

During the performance at the early service, the gel again stopped at the same place in the Britten piece.  This time, she flashed a look of astonishment round the congregation, then proceeded to laugh heartily when the carol came to an end.  I heard several responsive titters coming from the folks around me.

The third time through, she mugged again, only this time shrugging her shoulders elaborately as well, and once again ending with a laugh.  Once again, I heard some response around me.  I also had several people come up to me afterward and compliment the gel on her large blue eyes, her freckles and her charm.

Sigh. I have a growing, chilling conviction that this kid is going to wind up on the stage some day.  Or, even worse, in film.

(On the other hand, the middle gel sang the first verse of “Once In Royal David’s City” solo for the 11:15, standing at the back of the church before the procession came up.  She was absolutely heavenly – clear, loud and confident.  As she walked up the aisle, she flashed a big smile at Mrs. Robbo and Self, but beyond that, did not play the audience at all.)



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December 2010