This here is a picture of my absolute favourite Christmas present this year. It's a beautiful top, conceived ("for Aunty Katy when she does her singing"), designed, modelled painstakingly upon his mother and decorated by my darling cousin's son Luca. He isn't even five yet!!! (I think. I remain vague as to children's ages.)
My entire family was flabbergasted that he had come up with such an idea totally unprompted, and had at that age seen the whole concept through to completion. Marvellous - bodes well for his future. I shall definitely treasure this unique garment, and I am sure I can find some occasion upon which to wear it!
Speaking of costumes etc, we had the piano dress rehearsal last night for the Szymanowski opera coming up. My costume is quite fabulous, in cardinal purple, and the make-up is a slightly alien effect; very pale skin, eyebrows removed (anyone who knows me will realise what a big deal this is - the secret is soap), purple shiny eyeshadow in arcs high on my forehead, and strips of my costume material around my head in a sort of mediaeval/religious reference. Marching around the corridors prior to the rehearsal beginning, quite a few people said "wow!", one was evidently rather scared, and a tenor from the chorus introduced himself to me, asking if I was a guest singer at the theatre - he really hadn't recognised me!!