Sunday, 4 December 2011

Winter and Xmas

As I was sitting in my cubicle office on the 16th floor looking south over Ottawa on a cold morning this week, it was -1C outside and windy, it suddenly occurred to me that your brain tells you to eat more as a form of comfort against the cold and greyness outside. The coffee shop across the street called Les Délices, is privately owned and has beautiful Belgian chocolates, butter croissants and other pastries in the morning to have with your coffee. It is very tempting and the cold weather entices you to just get a cappucino or a caffe machiato and a croissant which was made just an hour prior with that freshly baked scent. Of course it is all a question of control and not overindulge and over eat. Winter is approaching slowly this year, with a record breaking warm autumn in Ottawa. Today was a bright sunny day with a cold wind, the puppies put on their coats before going out. They find it cold now at -4C I wonder how they will feel on those winter mornings when the temperature is -30C.

Since our return to Canada a few months ago our friend C.P. has been an angel, she has arranged for us to be kept informed of what is happening at the National Arts Centre and in various other locals, sending us information on concerts, choirs and cultural events. We have been to quite a few choir concerts and symphonic concerts thanks to her. C.P. is a soprano and sings with the Cantata Singers of Ottawa under the direction of Michael Zaugg. Thanks to her, we met with pianist Angela Hewitt who is from Ottawa, at a private function, she is one of my favourite pianist and such a nice person, it was a delight to be able to speak with her while enjoying desserts at Le Café of the National Arts Centre. We also saw maestro Valery Gergiev, he too is one of my favourite conductors, Riccardo Muti being the other.  This evening we are going to hear yet another choir concert, with Christmas Stories read by Adrian Harewood of  CBC Radio and the Ottawa Cantata Singers at Knox Presbyterian Church (c.1844) at the corner of Elgin and Lisgar Street . This is a beautiful stone church, a landmark in Ottawa with its roof of Red British Columbia cedar and red Oak doors. We will dress warmly for our walk down to the church as the wind is biting and cold.

About the NAC apparently plans are afoot to change the outside look of the building,first inaugurated in 1967 for the Centennial of our Canadian Confederation as the cultural and national showcase of the Federal Government to the country. Plans call for a transparent glass wall to replace the current pebble brown concrete exterior with a new entrance off Elgin Street. The idea being that it would reflect openess and transparency, themes dear to the heart of the Civil Service in Canada. This renovation of the building's outside exterior is to coincide with the Anniversary of 2017 when Canadian Confederation will mark 150 years.

On Parliament Hill and everywhere in the centre of the Capital Xmas lights have started to appear. It is quite beautiful. We are putting up our tree on Saturday 10 December. A new tree this year to fit into our smaller apartment. Our neighbours have also started to decorate, a nice change for us, because in Rome no one put out any display of lights, or at least it was rare, even at the Vatican, you had the corporate looking giant crèche and a sorry looking tree with white lights, usually a gift from Catholic Austria, but that was all. So we are looking forward to all the lights and decorations around the city. The concert at Knox Presbyterian is also a chance to re-aquaint ourselves with a tradition that of the Xmas sing along Hymns which is very popular in Canada.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the kind words. They were much appreciated.