Two images to wish you a reflective day and a better 2021. The first is a detail of two Nativity panels from the magnificent medieval east window of St Peter and St Paul East Harling, greatest glory of our walk this year for the Norfolk Churches Trust. Between four of us we raised £2,700 - but the real achievement was being able to do it, and finding two-thirds of the churches open, with careful social distancing rules fully observed.
The second is a detail of our alternative presepe - Gloria alla Josephine Baker. Yes, we have some bananas. It's a fairly international scene including Czechs, Swedes, Italians, Indians and a famous Spaniard.
I doubt if you'll be short of things to watch, and the day is beautiful, so walk while it's light if you can, but this is what we saw this time last year - a consummate concert performance of Tchaikovsky's glorious score for The Nutcracker conducted by the adorable Yannick Nézet-Séguin. I used portions of it in one of my classes for the 19th century segment of the Russian Music course on Zoom, and again in the one-off session on The Nutcracker I held on Monday, to try and atone a bit for the fact that some students were bereft of the live Nutcrackers they'd planned to see. Today we'll finally catch up with Balanchine's Nutcracker - a quick dip shows that he does the crucial tumescing-Christmas-tree sequence justice, AND includes the usually excised Mother Gigogne number.
Enjoy the day and switch off from all dire news from the outside world. We meet again for two hours on the complete Sleeping Beauty score on the afternoon of the 30th - let me know if you'd like to join. More on next term anon.