It was lovely weather here early afternoon yesterday, sunshine but breezy and not cold so I threw doors and windows open and let the wind blow through the house. It felt good. And then at 3pm it started to rain Yet Again. Ho Hum..................... too much rain in my opinion
Today's Christmas book is a very small book of just 50 pages that's been around on my shelves for years, it was published in 1984 and comprises of carols, poems and Christmas writings from years past.
This book was where I first read the John Betjeman poem 'Christmas'
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.
The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.
Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.
And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.
And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.
And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?
And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,
No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine
I've a version of this set to music on a CD called Words/Music which is poetry of Betjemans set to music by Mike Read and sung by various artists. I tried to find a youtube version but couldn't. Just a 30 second sample HERE (And this link may not work anyway so the site is ......https://www.shazam.com/track/615949/christmas )
Also in this little book is a letter from General Robert E Lee writing to his daughter in the middle the US Civil war in 1861
I wonder what he sent that was 'vile dross'?
Another poem in the book
"Fetching of Grans" something that always used to happen when I was little but no "sherries or gins" or "corks making pops"!