Monday, December 18, 2006

There's something about angels...

Do you have any Christmas traditions? I was reading yesterday in Duo, a local mag, about some of the traditions of Townsville families and they sounded so interesting they made me feel quite unimaginative. One tradition that made me smile was a woman who always bought her family (every year) new pyjamas to wake up in on Christmas morning.

My tradition is angels. It started one year when I was still teaching, when a very special student gave me an angel ornament as an end of year gift. Instead of hanging it on the tree, I set it on my sideboard and the next year I bought myself another to stand beside it. From then on, I’ve acquired a new angel each year to add to my collection. I’ve been lucky enough to travel overseas, so I also have an angel from New York, and one – perhaps the most simple, but possibly my favourite – from Assisi in Italy.

When one of my daughters was still dancing professionally and had money, she brought me back the most elegant and exquisite angel from Paris. Some friends think I should have her on display all year round, but I like to save her (him?) for Christmas. It helps to add to that special-ness of this time of year.

This year, the same daughter, who is now a poverty stricken university student, made me an angel and she’s wonderful. She flies with wicked delight beneath our wooden set of galahs.

Speaking of angels, during the Townsville Writing Festival, I had the great privilege of meeting New Zealand author Elizabeth Knox, author of “The Vintner’s Luck”. Two friends, whose reading habits I highly respect (one a university lecturer and the other a librarian), told me this is THE BEST BOOK they have ever read, the kind of book that when you’ve finished you want to start all over again. It’s about a relationship between a French farmer and an angel. And Elizabeth wrote in my precious, autographed copy : “this is a romance, too”.

Description: ‘The book is set in 1808 in Burgundy, France. Among the lush vines of his family's vineyard, Jodeau, 18 years old and frustrated in love, is about to come face to face with a celestial being. But this is no sentimental "Touched by an Angel" seraph; as imagined by Elizabeth Knox in her wildly evocative and original novel, Xas is equipped with a glorious pair of wings ("pure sinew and bone under a cushion of feathers") and an appetite for earthly pleasures--wine, books, gardening, conversation, and, eventually, carnal love.’

At the festival, Elizabeth told us that The Vintner’s Luck is being considered for a movie by the same director who’s filming The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger – a book I adored.

I have to confess that I still haven’t read The Vintner’s Luck. Somehow it slipped behind my TBR pile and slipped my memory, but I’ve decided I must, must read it while my angels are out!!


Phillipa said...

Just here to wish you and your family a Very Happy Christmas Barbara. We have just put up a real tree that's far too large for the house and had to be sawn down. :) That's one of our Christmas traditions. We have freezing fog ...another tradition. We also love to have friends round on Christmas Eve, drink mulled wine and cream. our friend, Phil, loves it on his mince pies.

Liz Fielding said...

I love your angels, Barb!

It's been a joy working with you this year. All the very best for a wonderful Christmas with your new grand daughter. I wish you a joyous a peaceful New Year.