Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Waiting time

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the mass illuminations going up all over Dunoon. I dare say I sounded very curmudgeonly. But I’ve just been listening to a recording of carols played by the wonderful Philip Jones Brass ensemble, and one of them in particular, “Wassail Wassail”, captured all that our garishly-lit preparations miss out on. I can’t explain how it happens; it’s one of the great mysteries of music – but these high, precise trumpets and that traditional tune, not associated with particularly religious words, suddenly created a complete vision of stars, and icy darkness, and complete anticipation.

And that’s it. Advent is a time of waiting – and here, on the north-western fringes of Europe, it is a time of long darkness and firelight. I’m not naïve – there’s no way I’d swap my comfortable home for a Dark Ages hovel – but the sense of expectation is precious, and still to be found – and hideously lacking in the public manifestations of the season.

So no, I’m not Scrooge. But I am sorry that more people can’t experience the quiet waiting time as just that – because waiting is never disappointing


  1. If you think the lights in Dunoon are bad, have you seen the Christmas Lights video that's been doing the rounds recently? The sad thing is that the geek that lies just below the surface of my skin would love to do something like that to my house!

    There's another version (perhaps from last year?) that's set to a weird version of Jingle Bells... but I like the one about.com linkis to better.

  2. I saw this on the telly - they were reporting that the local authorities had pulled the plug on it. My lights are 35 years old and probably constitute a fire hazard. :-/