Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas in Suffolk

We have just spent Christmas in Suffolk, though I didn’t say so at the time in case there are any burglars who follow the blog. I have a lifetime accumulation of tat in the house and you can’t be too careful. It would be virtually impossible to replicate the collection these days, particularly the shelves of 1970s paperbacks that fall apart when you open them up.

It started badly when my leg started playing up in the week before we left. Then I started sneezing. And coughing. By the time we got down to Suffolk I was ready to convalesce.

At that point my arthritic finger came into play. At first it just ached, then I caught it in a cupboard door on Christmas Day. That made my eyes water. It also rendered me fairly useless, and one-handed, for Boxing Day. Fortunately everything is recovering now and the leg and finger are back to imperfect normality.

The cottage itself was wonderful and the owners had put up Christmas decorations and left gifts (a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates). Despite my various trials we had and excellent dinner and a fun visit from Julia’s brother and his wife. We also had time for jigsaws, chess and dominoes (all provided). The jigsaw had all its pieces but the chess set and dominoes didn’t, which can be a bit tricky.

The unusual name comes from the name of a shipwreck which provided the timbers for the building in the seventeenth century. Unfortunately I can’t find further details, though there are some interesting wrecks of this name, including three around Australia  and one in the North Sea (when a U-Boat sank over a dozen trawlers).

After the first day the weather was wet and wintry until it was time to come home.

Looks like we’ll have to go back when the weather is better.

 

 

Christmas Clerihews

I’ve decided to branch out from politics, as it’s Christmas. Even I get infected with jollity (if only briefly) at this time of year and as jollity and politics don’t really mix I decided to go Christmassy for the clerihews.

It’s only the subject that has changed though, the quality is still as dodgy as ever.

Those of you who aren’t from the UK may need to consult this link to try and make some sense out of the last one. Not that there is much sense in any of them at the best of times.

 

Father Christmas

loves sherry and citrus,

though he’s lately been thinking

of cutting out drinking.

 

Rudolph and Donner and Blitzen and Dancer,

Cupid and Vixen and Comet and Prancer

are all quaffing claret

after giving up carrots.

 

In the panto, Ebeneezer Scrooge

overdid the rouge

and ended up quite cranky,

made up as a manky Twanky.

 

Happy Christmas to everyone, though I have to ask if you should be doing more important things than reading a blog. 🙂

 

Me and the Christmas Spirit

Julia, with her normal concern for my moral welfare, has decided that today is going to be spent in a flurry of activity. This, it seems, will prevent me getting into mischief and will ensure that we have an excellent family Christmas.

It involves shopping, buying things we don’t need, and arguing.

What it doesn’t involve, I’m told, is stocking up with beer so that, with the assistance of my brother-in-law, I may construct a masterly essay on brewing and beer tasting. That’s a loss to the world of literature, and if Julia takes her place in history alongside the person from Porlock she has only herself to blame.

The shops will be closed for one day. We will have a special meal. We will do a lot of sitting round eating, talking and complaining about the poor quality of TV. This pretty much describes every Sunday of my youth. Things have moved on since then but have we really lost the knack of sitting round talking about nothing and eating roast meat?

The shops used to close on Sundays, TV only had a couple of channels and we had a roast dinner – the phrase “Sunday dinner” was invented specifically to describe this.

We never had to fight people in the aisles of the supermarket or buy enough food for a week just to see us through until Monday.

I’m not going to resist, as I won’t win. As you go about your pre-Christmas tasks just spare a thought for a poor man being swept along on a tide of Christmas preparations, being elbowed by pensioners as he competes, under the orders of his wife, for the last few nobby greens.

At least my moral welfare will be impeccable, my soul will be stainless, and, after a generous portion of high-fibre brassicas, my bowels will be gleaming.

 

 

Me, Mirth and Merriment

I went shopping this afternoon – a few groceries for Number One son as a hint that it was time to go back, and a few bits for the kitchen. And tea. By some oversight we had run out of tea, and I can’t settle knowing that Julia is likely to make that Indian spiced stuff that she likes and which I consider has no place in civilised society. I know that India has produced great philosophies and mathematics, and Mahatma Ghandi, but I’m sorry, I don’t consider them sound on matters of tea.

For those of you who are thinking of pointing out that India virtually invented tea may I just point out that the English invented football. It doesn’t mean we’re any good at it.

The car park was fuller than normal, a state of affairs which also applied to the shop.

Large numbers of resentful looking men were trailing round the shop muttering rude words at their partners whilst feral children stalked the aisles and trolley rage seemed to simmer, barely under control.

This did not bring out the best in me, and I was thinking evil thoughts, including wondering about the practicality of disemboweling a curly-haired tot with my reading glasses, when a wave of good humour rolled over me.  This is not normal. It hardly ever happens, and certainly not at Christmas, when the spirit of Scrooge stalks the badly heated rooms of my draughty hill top domain.

I looked at the couple arguing over the wife’s choice of  cheese and thought how lucky I was that we could afford all three of the varieties she was looking at. We would, of course only eat two of them before the third matured into a new variety of blue cheese (in our fridge even Stilton goes mouldy), but that, in a way. is even luckier, as we have lots of cheese and the thrill of playing botulism roulette.

After that I was on a roll, to the point of being quite charming and enjoying a laugh with several ladies in the checkout queue. When I mentioned this to Julia she muttered something about it not being the first time I’d provoked mirth in a woman.

There was something in her tone I couldn’t quite place…

 

Thinking of Christmas

Yes, it’s that time of year again. August, the traditional start to the Christmas season.

I’m not sure what stops people in the middle of the summer holidays and makes them think of Christmas, but it never fails. Julia started talking of her Christmas plans two weeks ago. She is preparing to raise funds for new polytunnel covers as the current ones are opaque, apart from the holes. We are going to be taping the holes soon but it is, at best, a forlorn hope. Personally I think “waste of time” is more accurate.

Here, as ever, is a selection of the Christmas that we will be  forcing parents to buy via the tried and trusted method of emotional blackmail.

In addition, she is forming plans to attend Christmas Fairs. As they are usually on Saturdays, a day she works, these plans are likely to involve coercing some unwilling soul into doing the Fairs. So far she hasn’t said more, but I do feel the metaphorical noose tightening. I am not really at my best in an environment that involves knitting, felting and quilling.

After a morning in the garden Julia went to the main building, where the conversation turned to Christmas. So it’s not just her…

 

New Year, new struggle…

It’s a New Year, and I’m having a struggle with finding a suitable title. So far, then, there is little difference between 2016 and 2017.

You can tell the holiday is over because we took the boys back today, one to Victorian splendour in Leeds (where he has a flat in a listed building) and the other to student squalor in Sheffield. Julia is currently sitting and looking lost – she says it’s too quiet.

That’s not actually our normal measure of the ending of the holidays. The official start of our Christmas is the day we buy the cheese footballs, and the official end is when we finish them. We finished the last few tonight, on our return from Leeds.

I’m not really sure how we came to develop this “tradition” – Julia asked me to get them for our first christmas together and it grew from there. Does anyone else have family Christmas traditions? We can’t be the only ones.

The start of a new year is always a tempting time for resolutions but I have a poor record with resolutions so all I’m saying this year is that I’m going to take a positive attitude to things.

I was going to try posting every day but I’m already an hour and a quarter late for that.

As for the weight loss/health resolution – see my previous comments on cheese footballs.

The beauty of looking on the bright side is that I enjoyed the cheese footballs.

🙂

The Captains and the Kings depart

I was going to title this post The tumult and the shouting dies but the post was’t quite right and when I wiped it out by accident (yet again!) I couldn’t be bothered to retrieve it.
That’s how it came to be rewritten with a grander title. It’s not quite as accurate, because we had plenty of tumult and shouting, but a distinct shortage of Captains and Kings. As the memory fades a little I’m feeling distinctly more upbeat about it. It wasn’t all singing and sandwiches (though I admit that they did form a large part of the proceedings), we also had dancing and two different slideshows from Julia.
It took her several weeks to perfect the slideshows – I will never get Chariots of Fire and The Magnificent Seven out of my head. At one time I was hearing them so often I was waking up humming them.
I missed some of the events because I was confined to the kitchen after forgetting to put the snacks in the oven. That’s also why there aren’t many photographs.
Fortunately I was on hand when Santa called and gave out the memory boxes Dave and Jayne had made. They’ve been beavering away in Dave’s shed making the boxes and putting individual names on them.
There were a few tears towards the end. There was also a certain amount of unsuitable competitiveness from one of the teams in the Christmas Quiz. I’m not saying which one, but my constant viewing of quiz shows seems to have paid off…
At the time it was all a little sad, but as I write a couple of days later it seems a lot more upbeat. With parents and group members and various other people (in person or by email) we’ve had a lot of positive feedback. We couldn’t have done it without the group, so can’t take all the credit, but it does make you feel better.
I can’t think of a tidy way to end  the post, but in real life we did the washing up.