I read a borrowed 1950's Penguin paperback copy of 'The Blessing' by Nancy Mitford on my bus journey back home for Christmas. Towards the end a glamorous, powdered, female French aristocrat throws a party in Paris. The theme is famous parents and famous children, with guests having to bring along a trussed up son, daughter, neice or nephew. Never before had children been at such a premium...legal adoptions were hurried through at a rate never previously known in the department of the Seine.
The most hilarious present of Christmas day was a tile bearing the legend 'Home is where the heart is!' - the exclamation mark is the best bit. Perfect to hang above Ingleside's Aga. And I have my new Angel of the North mug to take down South, reminding me of my roots, cheering me with his open wings, looking like a big old dirty flasher. I love Geordies. I am the only true one in my family, having been born in Newcastle. Aye man. But instead of drinking Newcastle Brown, I'm drinking raspberry beer and reading new poetry from Alice Oswald. She writes of dead heroes in her version of The Iliad, and she is my heroine. Her book is the colour of Christmas - bright red, with 'Memorial' picked out in green. I'm so greedy for her words. And greedy for enargeia. Ancient critics praised The Iliad for its enargeia, which translates as 'bright unbearable reality'. This version, trying to retrieve the poem's enargeia, takes away its narrative, as you might lift the roof off a church in order to remember what you're worshipping.