One of my favourite modern Christmas songs is Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea.
This is the story of how he came to write it (info from the Guardian website)
Apologies for not replying to comments yesterday - I had 3 year old middle grandson for the day. I got the Christmas tree out of the garage and fitted together and put the lights on right ready and the theory was that he would help me put all the bits on - but he preferred the dinosaurs, after getting the car box out as usual!
Which for some reason had to played with on the TV cupboard
He was fascinated by the nesting 'Russian Doll' Santa which he'd long forgotten from last year.
A Children's Christmas card from the Edwardian period with a pop-up surprise. Rats and mice often featured on Christmas cards and quite often dead animals too. I suppose death wasn't so much of a secret 100 years ago.
|From my book 'Christmas Fare' by Judith Holder and Alison Harding. Published in 1981. Judith had a collection of old Christmas cards (and others were from a museum that was in Barnstable) and used them to illustrate the book, which is all about the history of various Christmas Food.|
Finally got my Christmas cards out of the Christmas drawer to write the ones I need to post in the Scout Post box on my once-a-year trip to Ipswich. I found all of this years cards in charity shops in their January sales or at boot sales. I always choose cards to send that I would like to receive myself which probably isn't the right way to do things but never mind and buying them in the January sale is possibly not in the true spirit of Christmas either - Oh well.
Cider and Rosemary Cold CureBoil a large sprig of rosemary in some cider for 5 minutes. Strain into a glass and carry up to bed, get under the covers and drink. This cure is said to induce sweating which will kill the cold.
Behind the first door on the advent calendar was a kingfisher perched on a bush. I hope the rest also fit in with the picture. I'm not keen on Advent Calendars that have random things like a toy trumpet in the middle of the sky!
Usually December blog posts are 'Advent Photos' . That was what I did in 2017, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 2022. That's what you call stuck in a rut!
This year I'm being a bit more varied - a few photo's, a few book illustrations, some folklore and a few poems. This, that and t'other. Plus everyday happenings as usual.
The Anglo-Saxons called December Wintermonath before they became Christians, and Helighmonath meaning 'holy month' afterwards. In Chambers Book of Days I came across the word Dubblachd which I believe is the modern Scottish-Gaelic for December meaning Dark Month.
I'm calling 1st December the first day of winter - if it was good enough for the Anglo-Saxons, it's good enough for me............ although some will say - wait until the 22nd.
First Day of Winter
It's certainly felt like winter for the last couple of days with much colder weather - and frosts overnight and I've started putting the windscreen cover on the car again but I was really fed up on Wednesday evening when it turned to thick fog with possibly freezing fog later as I was supposed to go across to Woodbridge to the theatre for an 'Evening with Adam Henson' event. He was talking about Christmas on his Rare Breeds Farm and I'd booked it weeks ago. But it was just so foggy, took me 15 minutes to go just a few miles with another 15 miles on country roads to go so I turned round and came home . Better safe and out of pocket than in a ditch! Driving at night in fog is something I've always really hated. What was even more frustrating was that when I looked out a few hours later the fog had lifted so it would have been OK on the way home.
...........the end of the alphabet, and wishing I hadn't started it as it was nowhere as interesting as my efforts last year!
The word Yule predates 'Christmas' in English (from gēol in old English) but it's meaning was vague. Variations of 'Yule' existed in most Germanic and Scandinavian languages (jól in old Norse meaning a feast) and seemed to describe mid-winter days and festivities. The word went out of fashion and Christmas was used from C12, although Yule carried on being used in Danish settlements and was a common dialect word in the North. (Info from The English Year book see below)
The idea that a large log of wood - The Yule Log should be burning in the fireplace on Christmas Eve or all of Christmas day was well known for more than 300 years. It had different names in various places - The block log, clog or brand but could be found all over the British Isles.
This is taken from my book 'The English Year' by Steve Roud and comes from Herefordshire in 1886
A respectable middle aged labourer tells me that in his boyhood his father was always careful to provide a Christmas Yule Log. On Christmas morning he would put a bit saved from last year's log on the fire and lay the new log on top of it, so that it might be kindled from the last years piece. Before the new log was quite burnt out he took it off, extinguished it, and put it away to kindle the next year's log.
The idea of keeping part of the wood was to ensure the luck of the house continued but it was also thought to offer protection against fire and witchcraft.
From the same book.......Folklorist Charlotte Burne recorded
In 1845 I was at the Vessons farmhouse in Shropshire. The floor was of flagstones and observing a sort of roadway through the kitchen and the flags much broken, I asked what had caused it and was told it was from the horses hoofs drawing in the Christmas Brand.
Not many houses with open fireplaces big enough for yule log now - perhaps just a few old farm or manor houses.
I didn't like using Xmas for Christmas but understand from those in the know about these things that it's now recognised as being legitimate and OK to use and not just a lazy way of writing about the season.
So for X this year I decided to visit some local Christmas/Xmas Fairs/Fayres and take a photo at every one I could get to. Perhaps have a coffee and cake at all of them too. Although I had to give up that idea when straight away the first 3 were on the same morning!
This was the first, where I just found a couple of books, had a coughing fit, (the cough was the remains of a snotty 3 day cold given to me by middle grandson when I looked after him!) went into the coffee area to get a drink........ and hot sausage roll for breakfast and forgot to back into the church bit for a photo.
This was the second Fayre of the day and I found nothing I wanted so just had some tickets for the Grand Prize Draw - which was more of a donation to the church as I never win anything!
And this on my way home was the third of the day and again I didn't buy anything
First of all must say thank you to everyone for comments and memories about getting/not getting vaccinations. A conversation without nasty comments was good.
From Wiki ..................Wordle is a web-based word game created and developed by Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle. Players have six attempts to guess a five-letter word, with feedback given for each guess in the form of colored tiles indicating when letters match or occupy the correct position. The mechanics are nearly identical to the 1955 pen-and-paper game Jotto and the television game show franchise Lingo. Wordle has a single daily solution, with all players attempting to guess the same word.
Wardle created the game to play with his partner, eventually making it public in October 2021. The game gained popularity in December 2021 after Wardle added the ability for players to copy their daily results as emoji squares, which were widely shared on Twitter. Many clones and variations of the game were also created, as were versions in languages besides English. The game was purchased by The New York Times Company in January 2022 for an undisclosed seven-figure sum; the game was moved to the Times website in February 2022 and remains free for all players.
Back in the 60s children's vaccinations were given at school. A team of nurses went round the schools - I guess a letter went home for parents to give permission? or maybe we just got them regardless! I can't remember much about it happening - and now I'm not even sure what we were vaccinated against. What was that one we had that had a small circle of tiny needles that left a pretty pattern for ages?
The U I had planned didn't happen.
Last Years U was Underwear - specifically the garment called a Liberty Bodice, a properly written post!.
So I was Upset that I'd not made an effort for this year. Upset? Really? no of course not! takes a lot more than that to upset me nowadays.
When you have lost the person you have shared everything with for 38 years, small things can't upset anymore.
Other words beginning with the letter U.
Umbrage = To take offence at something said or in the case of blogs and comments - written. I'd like to take umbrage at comments that seem to be boasting of things they do better than others but I can't be bothered!
Umbrella = I have 2 small fold up brollies that live in the car, they are both a pain to open and are looking a bit worse for wear. Umbrellas were never allowed to be opened in the house when I was young - bringing very bad luck.
There's no one here to make me a cuppa so having a coffee out has become a regular treat . For most of the years before Colin died we didn't do coffee and cake out, we preferred to save our money for other things. We even took a flask and lunch on all the trips to Addenbrookes hospital rather than getting something from the machines or café.
So that's treat number one.
Treats two and three are edible and only bought at Christmas. Two is something for the month after Christmas. I don't drink alcohol and no longer eat chocolate on it's own but love these chocolate liquors. The price goes up the closer it gets to Christmas so I bought mine in October, and treat three is for a few cold grotty days in January when something warming, sweet and just a bit different is needed.
It's also a treat to have the occasional takeaway meal,
to come home from the library with a big bagful of books to enjoy and
to settle down in a warm room of an evening to read them.
S is for Sorry - I just ran out of time/energy/ideas so here's a repeat of last year - with a couple of updates - when I covered lots of things
Susan ........my Mum wanted to call me Jane, but apparently Grandma said I would get called "Plain Jane" so I was named Susan Jane instead. When I got to Grammar school there were 5 Susan's in my year - which was annoying for everyone. There was one Jane but she left after a term or two. Mum shouldn't have listened to her Mother! I'm only Susan now to my cousins and to myself if I tell myself off!
Stowmarket.............main town in Mid Suffolk, the place where I was at Grammar school, went to Youth Club, and the cinema, hung around with friends and went shopping for all the years before we moved East to the smallholding, and now I'm back shopping there again. Asda is just off the town centre and Aldi, Lidl and Tesco all have their own carparks a little further out from the centre.
Not many empty shops in town either. 2023 - A year later there are many more empty People moan about how many smaller independent shops have closed in the last 20 years, but that's the same everywhere. There will be one more empty shop next month as I noticed the Cancer Research Charity shop is closing - 2023 Sad that it closed -it's still empty, you know things are bad when even the charity shops who don't pay full business rates can't afford to stay open.
Seeds.................. nearly time to investigate what seeds I need for next year's vegetable growing.
Shopping....... I'm one of those strange people who don't mind going food shopping, specially now I'm not in a hurry. I've always done it on my own- it's not a chore. But clothes shopping is a completely different thing - don't like that or shoe shopping at all. Life is so much easier with supermarkets having clothes as I can look at what they have when I'm there for food. I've only ever done grocery shopping online once and found it a real faff!
And a new bit.............Scout Post
I shall get my Christmas cards written for my cousins in Ipswich and Felixstowe next week and drop them into a collection point for the Scout groups of those areas to deliver. It costs 35p for each card and all the money raised goes to the Scout's funds. This all started 35 years ago with one Ipswich Scout Group delivering in their local area and has spread.
Averages are meaningless.
Never-the-less here's a chart I found of various incomes in retirement and what the average person could use their income for. It's a year or so out of date now after so many price rises.
Had to fit the November library book photo into the month somehow!
These are the books I had reserved and collected last week.
There are 5 crime, including two books of short stories, 1 children's book, 4 non fiction, 2 general fiction and a DVD .
Last month I brought home these below and finished the tenth yesterday - 'The Bookseller' by Mark Pryor - the excellent debut novel of a new to me author published in 2012. Details on those finished are on the Books Read 2023 page. I didn't bother with the historical novel by Ken Follet - it was just too long and didn't like two of the old crime fiction so abandoned them after a few pages.