Boxing Day morning 

Sun shining this Boxing Day morning, horses out exercising on the Kempton Park racecourse below me, and a brisk walker, who I assume is a jockey working out a little Christmas stiffness. No traffic on the roads just yet, give it an hour or two and the punters will converge hoping for a new hero, maybe Thistlecrack, or a triumph for an old, Cue Card, or for another, at longer odds. The King George VI Chase puts Kempton Park on the calendar, the map and the news one day of the year.

I’m sitting here, with my freshly-squeezed orange juice, looking out, and listening to a Christmas present, the wonderfully inappropriate, for a bright morning, new and latest and last album from my hero, my anti-hero and my muse, Leonard Cohen. Back in 2009 at his London concert he referred to years of searching among the world’s great religions – ‘but cheerfulness kept breaking through’. I’m not finding too much that’s cheerful this time around, but I’m loving it all the same. 

If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game
/If you are the healer, it means I’m broken and lame /If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame /You want it darker /We kill the flame 

Well, the sun’s shining, thine, good Lord is the glory, and time for that orange juice, squeezed through the state-of-the-art orange-squeezer my son gave me yesterday – a labour-creating not a labour-saving device. The work of mine own hand, not mass-produced. And all the more satisfying for that. Like listening to vinyls, and having to leap up every few minutes to flip the disk – stops you taking the music for granted, relegating it to a background sound. 

Discussion over breakfast of the Obama legacy between father and daughter. This is the Collier family, and I like it. 

Happy Christmas, one day late, everyone! 

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