Bright winter

It's just been the most beautiful day. Short, of course, because winter days get dark early, and definitely cold, but just gorgeous - sunny, bright and blue-skied, without a cloud in sight. I ventured out of the apartment without gloves this morning, picked up a pair for ONE EURO in Penneys (how do they do that?) and went about my day. I'm being careful with money because I want to have enough to do the Christmas shopping at the markets that they are putting on all over the city.  The lights are not just up now, but have been switched on and everything is looking oh-so-pretty. There was a frost last night and for this Newfoundlander, the sight of the ice on the pavements was a very welcome reminder of home.

One thing though -- I wonder why the Irish haven't cottoned on to roast chestnuts? There are lots of other winter treats (I love the hot spiced apple juice with brandy in the Saturday market in Meeting House Square) but this weather does sort of suggest chestnuts!

So... today's the 25th, so it's a one-month countdown to Xmas. Here's hoping for some snow. Just a little, to make things pretty, not enough to make a nuisance of itself like all the snow we had last January!

Afro Celt Sound System

Wow! My ears are still ringing. I was at a concert last night and it was just fabulous. I can't believe I hadn't heard of those guys before.

The Afro-Celt Sound System was playing the National Concert Hall and I got to go at the last minute, because a friend-of-a-friend was ill and there was a spare ticket on the loose. Amazing.  There really is an incredible synergy between Irish and African music. The NCH is a very dignified sort of a place, so it was strange to see everyone standing and dancing among the seats. They got a standing ovation!!!

I so love the way Irish traditional music isn't just alive and well but growing and evolving all the time.I wish I was musical; I would love to play the uillean pipes. They have a much sweeter sound than the Scottish bagpipes.

In Dublin, Christmas shopping is very much underway. There's a new shop in town, Forever 21, and every second girl you see on the street is toting a bag around from there. I haven't been in, but I guess I might check it out -- although with all these concerts I've been going to, I'll more likely find some things I can afford at Penneys. Everything is looking super-Christmassy these days, with lights in the streets -- it's getting dark by 4.30 so they are very welcome -- shop windows all dressed up and people dressed for the cold. I've been told by the best of authorities (local greengrocer) that anyone who hand home-made Christmas pudding should be making it now, so I was thinking of giving it a shot. Recipe, anyone??