Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the year, partly because it’s my birthday and you get to open some gifts early and also because some of our happiest memories are about the anticipation of Christmas. For chuldren, of course, is about presents but it’s the silly/ridiculous gifts that give adults the most joy, particularly when they are for other people. Christmas gold they, like PG Wodehouse’s story Jeeves and the Yuletide Spirit, never lose their power to make you laugh. The time a neighbour wrapped up a packet of red lentils in beautiful red wrapping paper and sent it over to my mother on Christmas Eve, my aunt’s indignation when her cousin gave her a pair of Christmas knickers in a size 22 - “I’ve a good mind to give them back to her and say ‘Olive they’re too big for me’.” Then the sweet friend who came every Christmas Eve with a beautifully wrapped mouse for the cat which she placed carefully and ceremoniously underneath the tree.
Every Christmas Eve my mum and dad took me to…
This blog, originally a writing class project, might interest some readers for its antique properties; it illuminates
the surreal shadow cast by the troubles; in between atrocities there were the "melting moments". I can't remember who sent me the
Democratic Unionist Party recipe book but it must have been slipped through the door in a brown envelope, it must ... On rereading,
it's the cats, Byron and Shelley, that intrigue: show me what a DUP firebrand calls his cats and I will show you his
secret soul. However, that's another blog so you can look forward to Ian Paisley and the Romantic poets the sequel.
"Ian Paisley is the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. He is the archetypal Protestant To the
outside world, he is viewed as a demagogue, in other words someone who gains power by appealing to
people’s baser instincts. Amongst his followers he is a demigod.
What does it mean to be an archetypal Protestant in Northern…
Like most people interested in astronomy and astrophysics, I can’t wait for the launch of the James Webb space telescope. According to NASA it will be able to detect extrasolar planets’ atmosphere and, most importantly, determine if they have oxygen, which would indicate biological life and thus finally tell us if we are alone in the universe. The work of SETI (Search for Extraterrestial Intelligence) which involves listening for radio signals from distant worlds, is equally fascinating. It’s particularly enjoyable to listen to SETI’s Seth Shostak because he’s so soothingly sceptical and rational, and witches love all that, so here’s a nano-reverie in Seth’s honour. Seth Shostak is a clever man, he know so much about space and stars and planets and quasarsOf the sorrows of aliens he knows noughtBut knows what he ought for a physicistQuasars and pulsars and time travel so respectably astrophysical metaphysical-not...Cigarettes can kill you, as can quasars and comets and neutron stars …