~ I opened the first door on our advent calendar this morning; an illustration of a Mary on a donkey. It’s a pop-out calendar from Oxfam depicting the traditional crib scene. For two people who are not religiously-inclined it might seem like an odd choice of calendar – for a while I did have the chocolate advent calendars but opening a door-a-day for the twenty-four days ’til Christmas for chocolate reward does seem none the less wrong. Whatever one’s views about the existence or otherwise of God, there was once a person called Jesus who was, I am sure, born in a manger in a cow byre and who grew up to give (what we now call) Christian teachings to the world. How much of the festival of Christmas is really the story of Christ and how much is a much older pagan festival has become confused but its still important to remember – all of it.

~ I’ve been listening to a new artist recently; Rosie Caldecott. We heard her sing at Lucy’s charity event for the floods in Pakistan last month, and have since been in contact with her via myspace, facebook and email. She’s not got anything released yet but she’s been feeding me tracks to listen to. They good. Folksy and mellow. As a place to stash them I’ve added them to my Mr Tumnal playlist and they seem to strike at the place within me to inspire creativity. Her mood and her style of singing seems to fit so well with Louis’ gentle tale, and his growing and complicated relationship with Kathryn, and indeed, with Amanda.

~ Have finally seen the new Harry Potter film, and it was better – much better – than I was expecting. The adaptations of Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince had fallen down for me because they didn’t stand alone as films in their own right but required substantial amounts of prior knowledge of the books. This one, whilst obviously only been attractive to people who had been on the Harry Potter journey was much more self-contained and stand-alone – an advantage I guess of being given the time of two films. It was always going to be an awkward film with this splitting, and the resulting abrupt ending but they did well to work in a narrative structure of beginning, middle, and end with Voldemort’s quest for the elder wand providing a natural end point.