I don't know quite how it's happened, but tomorrow is Epiphany, the twelfth day after Christmas. And that means that, slightly confusingly, tonight is Twelfth Night. As explained here, Twelfth Night precedes the twelfth day.
According to one ancient tradition, Christmas decorations could be left up until Candlemas, early in February. But according to other traditions, they must be taken down before Twelfth Night... or stay up all year. I'm not one to feel bound by traditions; taking decorations down on January 5th always seemed like a good idea, since otherwise there's a risk that we stop even noticing them, and then they might still be there by Easter...
So, I was going to take everything down today. 'Everything' being our smallish plastic tree, a few pieces of tinsel, a small stylised Nativity scene, and several mini-wreath candle holders. And our Christmas cards. And there's there rub. This morning I walked down to our PO Box, and awaiting me were six more Christmas cards. From people who had taken the time to write them, and spent the money on stamps... and it seemed wrong not to have them on display for at least one day. I thought I might re-define Twelfth Night as tomorrow night just for once.
But, I have to admit, it makes me feel uneasy to do so. Evidently I am steeped in tradition far more than I wish to be. Something feels wrong about having a Christmas tree still up when Epiphany arrives even though in some cultures - though not, surprisingly, Cyprus - Christmas is celebrated on 6th January.
So I think I will take everything down and pack it away. Perhaps I'll keep the cards in a stack and look at them from time to time before I finally recycle them. It's the thought that counts, after all; friends and relatives thought of us when they wrote the cards ,and I thought of them when we opened and read the cards. The newsletters, from those that write them, will remain in a folder to browse at leisure.
As for where the past week has gone.. I really don't know. Somehow it feels like considerably more than a week ago that Tim, Stephen and Dulcie departed for the UK. While they were here, I took over a hundred photographs. Since they left, I've taken about five, of which three are below - just for the record.
On New Year's Eve, around 5.30pm, we had arranged a Skype call with several of my relatives - including Daniel and Tim - who were having a late Christmas get-together:
Then, when we said goodbye, we drove to our friends' home for a New Year's Eve get-together. Lots of good food:
...and some board games, which I quite forgot to photograph. I was extremely
tired by 11.00 but managed to keep going until midnight, when we said 'Happy new year' to each other, and came home.
On Saturday I was still rather tired, and did almost nothing. Sunday evening our friends came over for bread and cheese and leftovers (most of which they brought with them). After they had gone, we played a game of Settlers by Skype with both Daniel and Tim, who were spending a few days together:
So that was the weekend.
On Monday, it rained hard almost all day, flooding several homes in Larnaka, stranding some cars, and leaking through the roof over our stairs. Not as badly as it did before Richard and his friend made some repairs, but there's still one place which nobody has yet been able to fix. We filled two buckets of water from the drips...
And suddenly it's the end of Wednesday.