The House of Christmas

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honor and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam,
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.

This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

GK Chesterton

Belated birthday

It was Betty’s birthday the other day, but as it was also a long workday, Betty left it until today to celebrate. Oddly, there didn’t seem to be any Christmas eve rush to get to the farmer’s market…

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There was a rush on the fancy lettuce, though, of course, and no watercress to be found. But Betty got some kale on the way home, to make up for it. The market itself was pleasing – there were carolers and a jazz band, lentil and portobello pies, and delicious coffee (the last of the season: Betty is giving it up, Lent-style, over Christmas. It tends to play havoc with her blood sugar, and the summer break seems a good time to coddle the adrenals, so it’s peppermint tea from now on, at least until the pre-dawn teaching starts again).

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And after the market, Betty and the husband person stopped at the beach. It had one of those oversized picture-frames mounted in front of the view. Is that a worldwide phenomenon?

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Last seen wandering vaguely

Betty’s almost entire family were up in Auckland this week to watch sister number five, Right-Angle Girl, have surgery. In between vigils, sister six (not a blogger) went out for breakfast with Betty and the husband person.

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They began with eggs Benedict at Revel, and wandered around Karangahape Road, and then took the bus to Britomart and walked through the train station. Baggins (sister six) sniffed Christopher Brosius perfumes, examined vintage dresses and perused Scandinavian stationery with the best of them. After much walking, they popped into Raw Power and had a bowl of soup. Civilised, no?

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