Speaking of which, I don't know if it's particularly widespread, but I've noticed both Tesco and the UK branch of Amazon advertising Black Friday sales. Which seems a bit odd, as Black Friday is directly related to Thanksgiving, and...well, we don't have Thanksgiving in the UK. Obviously. Wonder why that's happening? Anyone know? Sarah suggested that it might be to appeal to American expats living over here, which I guess is feasible.
Also speaking of which, why is it that Americans refer to the toilet as the bathroom? I mean, okay, some bathrooms have toilets in them, but Americans seem to use the word to refer to the room even if it's just got a toilet in it (for example public toilets). I presume there's some cultural reason for it, but it seems odd.
Last night, I woke up with some extreme back pain. Sarah, bless her, rubbed some Tiger Balm in, and also suggested (very sensibly) that painkillers might help. Which they certainly did. When I woke up properly the pain had gone. Possibly a trapped nerve? But anyway, thanks to Sarah for being a proper angel.
As I may have mentioned, Sarah and I were at this on Sunday. Lots of good music, played loudly and exuberantly by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with singing by the London Philharmonic Choir, and a lively and engaging conductor in John Rigby. I'm pretty sure we'll be going to the next one! It did occur to me, though, that it's fascinating how much classical music can be described by The Friends Principle. So, we had The One From the Old Spice ads, The One from Monty Python's Flying Circus (it's very difficult to take that one at all seriously), The One from 2001: A Space Odyssey (The Blue Danube, although I'm sure they'd have performed Daisy Bell if we'd asked nicely...*), The One from Torvill and Dean's Ice Dance, The One from The Last Night at the Proms (very pleasant and lively piece of music in its own right, but there's something more than a little sinister about a hall full of people singing patriotic music and waving national flags...). And that was just in the first half. The second half also brought us The One from The Barber of Seville (damned impressive tenor in Jonathan Antoine, apparently a former winner of Britain's Got Talent - maybe that show title does have some truth in it after all..), The girl's got a 'phone (Sarah's affectionate nickname for La donna è mobile), Jerusalem (lovely music, lousy theology - "and did those feet in ancient times/walk upon England's mountains green?" "No," is the answer you're looking for...), The One from the 1990 World Cup ("quid in the Nessun Dorma box, Henry..."**), and closing with a rousing performance of The One from the 1812 Overture, with fireworks and, as advertised, thundering cannon. Wonderful evening out.
That was preceded by heading down to Shenfield for a mini family gathering - visiting grandma, my aunt Lynn and her hubby Roger, and joined by my sisters Jessica and Emma, their mum Joan, and Emma's fella Jeremy and his two daughters, as a slightly belated celebration of grandma's birthday. Very pleasant to get a large chunk of the clan together again. There was, naturally, much reminiscing about dad. Grandma hadn't been able to make it to the funeral (she's more or less housebound nowadays), so Emma was able to give her printouts of the various tributes people paid him during the service, as well as a recording of most of the service (made on an iPhone and sounding really rather good quality...but then as Emma and Jeremy both work professionally in sound design, that shouldn't be too much of a surprise...). Also, I downloaded onto Lynn's computer that picture of me, Antonia, dad and Joan that I posted here a few weeks back, as well as a couple of me, Antonia and grandma from the '70s that hopefully grandma will find pleasantly nostalgic. :-)
So yeah, that was a nice Sunday!
* Or they might have just said, "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that..."
** Any Drop the Dead Donkey fans will hopefully get that reference...