diumenge, de desembre 18, 2005

Many Lovely Days and Events (English / Cornish / Welsh)

The past three weekends have been remarkable, marvelous, in a word, fantastic. I enjoy burning the candle at both ends, and in the middle, when it means I can have as much fun as I have had over the past three weekends. The fun really began three Fridays ago when I had John, Kim, Laurie, Jim and Bill over to the house for a Welsh vegetarian meal at which I offered them Wyau Môn (Anglessy Eggs, a lovely potato, egg and cheese casserol), selsig Morgannwg (Glamourgan sausages, a meatless sort of pseudo-sausage), cawl tomato ac afal (tomato and apple soup, quite lovely), bara brith (a sweet currant bread which uses tea and whiskey liquor as a binding agent instead of milk), salad, cheese and kouign-amann, a Breton butter cake for dessert. Along with that the six of us polished off five bottles of wine, a bottle of sherry and quite a bit of coffee and cordials.

Then two Thursdays ago when the "Congress of College Educators," ie the informal group of comrades from the union gathered at the Country Club for our usual Thursday afternoon and evening and good pub food, good drink and good conversation. Friday was still a school day, so I had to be up bright and early, at least in theory; in reality, we had a small snowstorm and the administrators elected to cancel class for the day. Nonetheless, Friday evening was of special note. I dined at the home of two members of the Welsh society, both in their 80's, but who still know how to enjoy the rose moments, and who make them happen. They live in a beautiful penthouse above Troy with wonderful views from both sides of the apartment. It really was a lovely home and a lovely evening, with copious amounts of good scotch and good lamb, and again, good conversation.

Saurday, it was my birthday. I am now officially 34 years of age. As many have told me already, I beat Jesus. Well, I certainly would have hoped I could fair better than a semi-mythological literary character... Saturday during the day I made the house ready, as at 4:30, Anna, her older brother Romek and her friend from work, Daryl, were to collect me and take me away to the Stockade Inn to celebrate my having lived longer than Jesus. While I was waiting for them, I sat in my living room contentedly sipping Penderyn Aur and listening to the classical music station when the insipiration came to write the poem that appears in the preceding blog entry. It was a lovely moment really; so rarely do I feel such instances of contentment. The meal I had at the Stockade was excellent. I had a nice Cragganmore to start out with, then scallop salad followed by my main-dish, the filet mignon. I opted not to have dessert, as the first courses had been so rich; instead I enjoyed a lovely snifter of grappa. We all returned to my house for more drinks and more conversation.

Ha wosa hemma, nos pur da gans dew dhen yowynk poth... ro penbloeth pur wheg!!

Sunday, I was up fairly early inspite of Saturday's revelery and on my way to Saratoga to join the regional French club for Christmas brunch at the Gideon Putnam. Again, I had a lovely time, getting to dine with two curretn students, both of whom are returning adults, and the spouse of one of them. Also at our table was the director of our local branch and her husband. The rest of Sunday was really just for relaxing and for shoring up for the long and difficult final. Mes nos Sul, den yowynk aral a re dos dhymm, ro penbloeth aral!! Penseythunn a bothder bras yn wir!

Finals week was long and difficult, inspite of its abbreviated schedule. Still I had my grades calculated and in by Thursday afternoon. Friday, we had another snow storm, but I was expecting more guests that evening, and I had to journey out in the foul weather to the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker amassing all the willful things for another Welsh themed dinner. I spent the rest of the day after that preparing by removing snow from this and my other house, cleaning, setting the table and cooking and baking. I made the cawl tomato ac afal again for a starter, and for the main course I made a potato and leek pie and lamb steaks baked in a red wine and blackberry jelly sauce, seasoned with garlic and rosemary. I also made bara brith and served salad and cheese in the French style. For dessert I offered pwdin Efa and icecream. That evening Jon and Kim returned, joined by T. and Mo, and Anna. Again we had a lovely evening.

Saturday, I rose late in the day. I was exhausted from the combined efforts of grading and socializing. Still I rose in time to journey to Galway and join many colleagues from my college and a neighboring one at Jon and Kim's home for a Christmas Salon where we ate, drank, ate some more, sang and read poetry. It was an all around lovely evening, and I found myself among the last to leave 8 hours after the party had begun!!. Sunday, today, I ventured out to Glen, some miles beyond Amsterdam, where I joined Laurie and Jim and some twenty-five of their friends, including Jon and Kim for a Solstice observance. Most of the people in attendance where people who, like Jim and Laurie, have chosen to live alternative energy lifestyles, and the hosts of the party were no exception. I was very tired through the entire event, but enjoyed it immensely, especially the massive bonfire. Now it is Sunday evening. The semester is finished, but there are still a few loose ends to tie up, and tomorrow I will set about doing them, as well as taking care of some other needful things. All in all, this has been one of the most lovely Christmas seasons I can recall in many years, and it's really only just gotten underway!