Christmas treats

CoverChristmas brings to mind a lot of treats, including watching the kids open their presents, good food and and atmospheric music. You may not get your choice for all of them, but you can for music. Not only can you raid our Christmas CD collections, but a quick look into Naxos Music Online gives a seemingly endless list of Christmas recordings to get you into that yuletide spirit.

There is nothing like being read a story out loud, even for us grown-ups. I once worked in a Rudolf Steiner community in Germany where we were read Christmas stories by candle light on Christmas Eve and it was magical.  I was pleased therefore to notice Classic Christmas Tales on Naxos, as well as The Night Before Christmas narrated by Stephen Fry. The latter supplies Christmas music with the story embedded into it (if you just want the story.

There is also a recording of Victorian carols with readings of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol embedded in the same way. I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a quiet evening before Christmas than to listen to these with some youngsters. Another Christmas favourite which shows up in Naxos Video is The Nutcracker ballet and I will certainly be watching that.

Of course there are lots of traditional albums of Christmas carols to browse through  and plenty of classical Christmas music too, including the Bach Christmas Oratario and Handel’s Messiah. Or you might like a bit of jazz, or even some vintage 30s & 40s songs, or the Grimethorpe Colliery Band playing some of your favourites.

60,000 road cones

CPIT Road Cone Art ExhibitionI have heard there are 60,000 road cones around Christchurch. I dodge street repairs and pot holes to get to and from work each day and I’m sure I pass most of the 60,000.

The Certificate of Design students from CPIT borrowed some road cones from Fulton Hogan and created  forty sculptures. These works of art were on display in the Botanic Gardens, under a shady tree  near the Peacock fountain.

I visited the gardens last weekend to admire  the creativity that was on show. I was asked which one I liked the most. I couldn’t choose. Was it the shoe, the icecream, the gramophone player, the butterflies or the cone fish? Why not have a look at my photos and cast your vote?

Sadly, the exhibition ended on Monday 28th November.  I don’t know what has happened to the cones. Maybe you’ll drive past one on your way to work one of these days.