On this the shortest day of the year, we started our return journey from Kirton to Cardiff, driving up the A14 early under a clear morning sky, taking our niece Anneke with us as far as Ipswich County Council Headquarters, where she was to interview for a job at ten.
Bright sunshine at the start gave way to overcast skies and rain, but by the time we reached home, the skies were clear again. We followed the A14 beyond Cambridge to the M6 to Coventry ring road, then followed the A46 to Stratford. This took us past Kenilworth so we stopped for an hour to visit Kath, Anto and Rhiannon, before following our usual cross country route enter Wales via the M50.
Anto is in the throes of migrating a large amount of data from his current website to one that's being designed for him. For technical reasons outside his control, it's become labour intensive job demanding much hard concentration. I feel for him, having spent so much time myself recently migrating an even smaller dataset to a new software platform. I'm amazed he can be so cheerful about it. He's looking forward to a new enhanced website launch early in the New Year with added features.
After supper, I brought this year's new Christmas tree indoors for installation in the lounge, and then we decorated it together, so that it's ready for when the family arrives. It's a good while since we did this together as usually there are younger people around willing to do it. I really enjoyed doing this. Such an appropriate thing to do as the longest night enveloped us.My Blackberry Accuweather app, told me that the sun set over Kirton at 15h45, but in Cardiff at 16h06. I knew there was a time difference across the country, but had never quite realised how much until today.
This week's BBC Radio 4 edition of 'Beyond Belief' was all about Christian and Pagan observances of the Winter Solstice. Something more I learned from this programme was that the sun's position on the horizon is as southerly as it can get today. It's the same until Christmas Day, when it begins its ascent into the northern skies again. Good enough reason, I suppose for the great 'O' antiphon of the day to be about the rising sun, symbol of both the birth of Jesus and his resurrection.
O Daystar, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
The dawn of a new day has been received as a sign of hope by the whole of humanity down the ages, regardless of religious belief and culture., and by analogy also, the dawning of a new year.