How did that expression go?  "The best laid plans of mice and men..." or something like that?  Sometimes, even with the best of intent, our original plans sort of take on a life of their own.  Case in point are these "Letters from the Village."  I can remember sitting in my flat in Palma a couple of weeks before I was about to sign the purchase papers for La Antigua thinking that it might be nice to every-so-often, write a little letter for friends and family.  My idea was to avoid having to write lots of letters by using technology and making a website where I could post the letters.  This way anyone who wanted to keep up with what I was doing would be able to do so easily.  Over time, the letters became sort of chapters of the ongoing story.

I don't think I thought at all about how many letters I would end up writing, but I know when I approached 100 that even I was surprised.  And now I am on chapter 141 and because of this, not only did I need to upload the chapter, I also needed to reformat the chapter listings...for the fourth time I think.  Could one of you please remind me of this the next time I come up with some brainstorm?  Cheers.

Yesterday and today I have been deeply immersed in making some new limited edition serigraphs.  I do like this, as it pretty much offsets the constant nagging from my creativity chromosomes that often seem to be a bit over-active.  When that happens, I trash my sitting room and reconstruct it as production studio and have at it.  But, as I hope you do notice, I have taken time away to whip out this letter for you.

More or less, there are two types of people on this planet; ones who love going someplace, and ones who love being someplace.  I have known for some time that I am part of the former population.  I dead chuffed to be contemplating, planning, dreaming, and whatever about an upcoming adventure or challenge.  Being in the midst of it is okay, but for me, the real buzz is in the anticipation.  That is one of the reasons that today is so important.

Now, for those of you who do not read this chapter on the same day I wrote it (which rarely happens I think), today is a very special day for several reasons.  One reason is that today a once-in-a-lifetime event took place.  Today was a total eclipse of the moon.  The astrological phenomenon occurred for about 3.5 hours, beginning at 0733 this morning.  Sadly, Mallorca was pretty well covered by some nasty clouds so I didn’t get to see the eclipse, but I did look online to see the photos of the eclipse that were from other parts of Europe.  The reason that this was a once-in-a-lifetime event is another big thing for me.  Today is the winter solstice. 

I love the winter solstice.  I really do, but not for the reasons you may think.  The winter solstice is the day with the least amount of sunlight each year in the northern hemisphere.  You may wonder why I would like that.  The am thrilled when the solstice arrives because it means that from now on, for the next 182 days, the amount of sunlight will continue to increase.  Yes, to me, the winter solstice means that they amount of daylight will begin to increase, beginning tomorrow.  Of course, I would be even happier if this cloud cover would go away, but living in Mallorca with clouds is still better than the weather that northern Europe has been having lately, so I can’t really complain.

I am also pretty excited about getting ready for my upcoming holiday trip.  As I had written in my last chapter, my plan was to go to Australia or South Africa, or the Caribbean.  But for quite a few reasons, the end destination has changed, and as the departure day comes closer, I am feeling better and better about it.  The big challenge will be to survive the next several weeks before my trip begins.  Luckily, the number of sunlight hours each day will be increasing, so I think I may just be able to do it.  Besides, right now I have to be content with getting ready for Christmas. 

I won’t be having a tree this year in the house.  As a matter of fact, I haven’t had one for quite a few years.  One year whilst living at La Antigua, I did make some decorations and drape them all over a palm plant, but this year I probably won’t even do that.  But rest assured, my Christmas here will be filled with the sound of music.  No, not THE Sound of Music.  Just the sound of music.  For some reason (that must make Steve Jobs well pleased) I keep adding songs to my computer's iTunes collection.  And because the technology is pretty slick, I have my music sorted into different groups.  Whilst I have song groupings for Amélie and Miranda, I also have song groupings for different times of the year.  This time of the year is no exception. 

Christmas music is wonderful and it really can get you into the holiday mode.  And even though I am quite content - thank you very much - to have the weather I have here, listening to Christmas music does help make this time of year very special.  Christmas music is the music of love.   Darlene Love, to be exact.  And the Ronettes.  And Wizzard.  Bob Geldolf and his friends. Mariah Carey. And of course, Georg Friedrich Handel.    


the kitchen patio door at La Antigua the other day


the entrance to Sta Catalina de Sena in Palma


What the eclipse apparently looked like above the clouds


winner of the Best Caligraphy on Holiday Card Envelopes


on my iTunes, but most definitely not Darlene Love

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, James B. Rieley