Our Christmas visit to England took us up to Northumberland for a few days, a part of the country which I’ve previously only passed through on the train. It was bright and cold, and we saw a lot of castles in a short amount of time!
This December seems to have been calmer than usual, which is rather nice. We’ve both had concerts – Tom’s choir sang a delightful program of Spanish Christmassy music whilst mine performed Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall, and of course there have been some carols too. Other than a single string of lights we haven’t bothered decorating this year, but have been making the most of every opportunity for festive food and drink, with one particularly note-worthy weekend including both the first mulled wine of the season and Tom’s first attempt at hasselback potatoes (an epic success!).
The desire to do something different with some recent visitors from England prompted us to take a trip up the Hudson valley. It’s a beautiful way to spend a day out of the city, and an easy train ride from Grand Central station. Initially we thought we might go hiking, but when the weather forecast started predicting frigid temperatures we decided that an indoor activity would probably be more comfortable, so a museum visit was planned instead.
This Thanksgiving was our biggest yet, I think, with 8 of us for lunch. We hosted and cooked for four NY friends and a couple of visitors from England, and it was a lovely day. I was very happy with the way the table looked before everyone arrived
… and even more so when it was laden with food!
This doesn’t look like all that much, but we were very full once we’d finished, and sadly I seem to have forgotten to photograph the pumpkin and pecan pies which followed the main course. Lots to be thankful for.
Ticking off both our first new state since January, and a destination I’ve long wanted to visit, the last weekend in October saw us flying south for a few days in Savannah, Georgia.
Back in August we spent a wonderful week singing with the St Bart’s choristers at Exeter cathedral. It almost feels like this was too long ago to bother writing about (Aug 13th-20th), but I’m a completist. Also, it’s somewhat ironic that, despite knowing numerous English singers who do the summer cathedral week residency thing, it took an American choir to actually get us there.
Months ago, a number of local amateur choirs were invited to participate in a mad-sounding project, the so-called “Mile-Long Opera”. This performance piece was going to be staged along the High Line over a week in early October, and would involve 1000 singers/speakers positioned along the length of the park. The choir Tom sings with were among the participants, and they spent most of the rehearsal process complaining about various aspects of the piece, so I didn’t have particularly high expectations, but in the end the whole thing was completely delightful.