Candlemas, or the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, falls on the 2nd February. It takes its name from a special mass when the candles for the year ahead were blessed, and the day (though not the festival I think) is known in North America as Groundhog Day.
It was also the date of the Candlemas Ball when I was a student in Durham: a rather drunken night in the depths of winter, at St Chad's College on the narrow North Bailey. It is a time when the days are beginning to lengthen, but the weather bites only colder, and we would stand on the cobbles of the North Bailey, and the wind would cut through coat and dinner jacket, straight to the bone.
It's also something of an important event in the life of the characters I've been working with. But you'll have to read the book to find out why.
Book! Did I mention the book?! Well, I had a phone conversation last night where my editor and I zipped through the few points that the proofs had thrown up. Twenty minutes later we were done. Yipee! And my editor was telling me the tale of the man from accounts at Little, Brown, who read the book and said 'I frigging love it.'
Great! We love the man who works in accounts.
In the Hill Household we're waiting for the arrival of the last Hill. As it's not arrived yet, and I had a lovely fat organic chicken in the fridge, I thought we'd celebrate one day early. Hence, the champagne, and the excuse to light the candles and make a filling desert to keep the kids content.
Roast Chicken, with garlic, thyme and lemon butter. A great sage and onion bulgar wheat stuffing, followed up with an oat crumble of caramelised pear. Ah! Now to the next book....