Tag Archives: laughter

Christmas Is Coming

 

holly

“Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God bless you!”
Nursery rhyme and Christmas carol (frequently sung as a round)

When I was growing up in London following the end of WW2 we always had goose for Christmas dinner.  Not for us a turkey.  In fact, I don’t ever remember having turkey at home until long after I was married.  Quite late on Christma Eve father would go to the market and buy a goose.  They, of course, were reduced at this time so that’s when he went.

Later, after moving to New Zealand with my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman), I remember a particular Christmas at home with my family.   By this time, the late 60s, goose had been superseded by turkey and father in company of his son-in-law, took off as usual to purchase the bird.  Well, these two men purchased the bird and then in a festive mood did a round of various pubs on the way home.

When they did eventually arrive home, much later than expected by mother for dinner, they were without the bird.  It had been left in one of the hostelries they had visited.  Mother was less than pleased, she didn’t drink and didn’t think it was at all funny.  I had to decide whose side I was on and while secretly siding with father and DYS I nodded assent and support to mother.

Some time later, and rather more merrier I might say, they arrived home complete with bird.  Mother was placated, a late dinner was served and much laughter followed  And the story of the bird was told on many Christmases that followed.

What happy memories.

And now, did you know?

  • Clement Moore’s 1823 poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was the catalyst for the reinvention of St Nicholas into the jolly, fat image of Santa we now know?
  • Also invented by Moore, Santa’s travels are invariably connected to reindeer.  In the poem, they are pictured charging through a winter sky complete with strong, elaborate horns.  But in winter reindeer lose their horns so are Santa’s reindeer all female or are they castrated males?
  • Moore omitted to tell us that St Nicholas was Turkish.  He was real and was born in Patara, Turkey.  He was an early Christian and in the 4th Century, he became bishop of the district of Demre where some of his bones can still be visited.  Little fact is known of him, only oral legends relating to his goodness and kindness to children.
  • Another poem, this one by Frank Baum (who wrote The Wizard of Oz) told that Santa lived in a valley called Ho Ho Ho.  American marketers quickly picked up on the poem and Ho Ho Ho became Santa brand’s catch cry.
  • The song Jingle Bells never mentions Christmas and has no connection to Christmas.  It was originally composed for America’s Thanksgiving festival in 1857.
  • Nobody knows when Jesus was born or died. For many centuries people in the northern hemisphere celebrated the winter solstice, the shortest day and the turning point in the long, often hard, cold winter.  Some 300 years after Jesus’ (guessed at) death date, Pope Julius I announced that 25th December would be the date to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  As Christianity spread around the world, this date took over the existing festivities and became “Christmas”.  The word Christmas didn’t come into being until 1032 AD.
  • The bible doesn’t say that three kings visited the baby Jesus but refers to “Wise men from the east”.  They may well have been astronomers (they did follow a star) or Zoroastrian priests and the fact that the three gifts, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh are mentioned is the possible basis for assuming there were three visitors.
  • And the gifts they brought.  Gold and Frankincense would be acceptable but in ancient times Myrrh was very expensive and used in embalming dead bodies and was burned at funerals to disguise the smell of bodies that hadn’t been embalmed.  Why would it be brought to a newborn child?
  • And everybody’s favourite – Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”.  There have been 14 versions of this story.
  • Four Calling Birds in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  Originally it was four colly birds, colly being the ancient word for black (as in collier and coal) so colly birds were blackbirds.  As time went by colly fell out of use and didn’t make sense so people started saying four calling birds.  This doesn’t make sense either.
  • Decorated evergreen trees have been part of December celebrations in Europe for many centuries reminding everyone that spring is just around the corner.  The decorated Christmas tree became accepted in the UK when Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the children were depicted in the “Illustrated London News” standing around a lavishly decorated Christmas tree.
  • The use of X as in Xmas is not at all invalid or disrespectful.  The word Christ was never part of Jesus’ name, it is a title assigned by later worshippers in Greek meaning ‘the anointed one’.  In ancient Greece, the letter chi was written with a symbol very like an X and the title assigned to Jesus was Xristos and was frequently abbreviated to just X.  So writing Christmas as Xmas has been considered acceptable for some 1000 years.  Note early publications were charged by the number of letters so using X in Xmas was encouraged.
  • The wassail ritual was an ancient pre-Christian custom of drinking a toast to the sun after the northern mid-winter approximately 25 December and hopes for a bountiful harvest in the coming warmer months. Hence the song ‘Here we come a-wassailing’ was a gathering of friends drinking a toast.  “Waes Hael” in ancient English means “Be healthy” and the usual drink was a mixture of spices, apple juice and eggs.  (Give me a G&T any time).
  • Christmas was cancelled in England in the 1640s when Puritan law forbade churches to open on Christmas Day and banned home decorations, celebrations, carol singing and the creating of Nativity scenes.  December 25 was declared a day of everyday work and fasting.  The outraged populace made Christmas observances in secret until the Monarchy was restored in 1660 and King Charles II restored Christmas.
  • And finally, a horse named Santa Claus won the Epsom Derby in 1964.

So there you have my list – as my son always says I have a fund of useless information.  Enjoy it anyway.

 

 

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Can’t Wait To Check In

After yesterday’s serious blog I just had to post the following which was sent to me today via email.  Don’t know how true it is but it is certainly worth a good laugh.

“A friend went to Beijing recently and was given this brochure by the hotel. It is precious.
She is keeping it and reading it whenever she feels depressed.
Obviously, it has been translated directly, word for word from Mandarin to English.

Getting There:
Our representative will make you wait at the airport. The bus to the hotel runs along the lake shore. Soon you will feel pleasure in passing water. You will know that you are getting near the hotel, because you will go round the bend. The manager will await you in the entrance hall. He always tries to have intercourse with all new guests.

The Hotel:
This is a family hotel, so children are very welcome. We of course are always pleased to accept adultery. Highly skilled nurses are available in the evenings to put down your children. Guests are invited to conjugate in the bar and expose themselves to others. But please note that ladies are not allowed to have babies in the bar. We organize social games, so no guest is ever left alone to play with them self.

The Restaurant:
Our menus have been carefully chosen to be ordinary and unexciting. At dinner, our quartet will circulate from table to table, and fiddle with you.

Your Room:
Every room has excellent facilities for your private parts. In winter, every room is on heat. Each room has a balcony offering views of outstanding obscenity! .. You will not be disturbed by traffic noise, since the road between the hotel and the lake is used only by pederasts.

Bed:
Your bed has been made in accordance with local tradition. If you have any other ideas please ring for the chambermaid. Please take advantage of her. She will be very pleased to squash your shirts, blouses and underwear. If asked, she will also squeeze your trousers.

Above All:
When you leave us at the end of your holiday, you will have no hope. You will struggle to forget it.”

 Whether true or not, I love it and am suspending belief in light of the fun I am

having sharing it.

“It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.”
H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

Books, What Else

This is what I was thinking about a year ago. Really? 365 days ago. I do hope that each of those days have been spent productively although to me productive may be just walking or reading or catching up with friends, These are “the peaceful years of time for me” and I am enjoying them.

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

Those of you have read some of my earlier blogs will know that I have two very dear sisters.  One lives in London, UK and one in Los Angeles, California.  We keep in touch by phone and of course, emails.  Emails are always addressed to both sisters on the other side of the world.

Phone calls are rather more rare but it is great to hear their voices.  Recently after several many futile phone attempts I connected with my American sister.

We of course, discussed many things but we always without fail, discuss books we have read and those we hope to read.  Because at that time, I had just finished reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 I was full of this book.  Others have written great reviews of it so I wont do so here.  Maybe an idea for another blog?

My sister is a prolific reader and she shared several…

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Santa ‘s Getting Tough

I heard this on a local radio show yesterday.  I thought it worth sharing with you.Santa gets tough

Abbotsford police in British Columbia, Canada, have sent this card to all the local criminals.  It’s gone out to all known prolific offenders, gang members and drug dealers to encourage them to make a law-abiding New Year’s resolution.

The card features the force’s Police Chief as Santa dressed in tactical gear with the accompanying message ‘Which list will you be on next year?’: ‘You are always only one choice away from changing your life’.

An additional greeting continues: ‘We believe it is never too late to make a better choice for your life.  ‘For the sake of your family & for your own sake, consider 2013 the year you choose a new & better life.  ‘Make your New Year’s resolution now! We’re here to help.’ There’s even a phone number they can call.

The Christmas greeting hasn’t gone down well with everyone though and several complaints have been posted on the police Facebook page.

As for effectiveness? Word is, police are well on the way to halving Abbotsford’s crime since 2008 by 2013 and  Canada’s ‘murder capital’, is becoming one of the safest cities in the country. Looks like it’s working.  So what do you think?

And how many days, hours and minutes until Christmas Day – To see how long where you live click here.  It’s 6 days, 8 hours, 32 minutes, 17 seconds  and counting

And for no good reason except that I sometimes, well quite often,  have trouble parking and think some assistance would be helpful I am sharing here the Spanish version of car parking – hilarious

And now girls take a look at this Christmas gift list just to make sure you get what you want.  Leave it in a prominent place so that he can’t miss it.  And you fellows take note too.

Wish list

or, on second thoughts, you might want to read my recent post – You Bought Me What!
Here ends yet another scrappy post  today.

Time for Laughter

My day started in laughter when I read this post from Joss at Crowing Crone Joss.  Of course, most of us have heard this in one form or another over the years, but it always reduces me to tears of laughter.  I imagine the absolute panic as she goes through the various stages of self-help/mutilation.  Occasionally I have tried to self administer wax strips but in the end I always resort to a visit to the spa to have the waxing carried out.

But this post reminded me of a particularly harrowing time for me.  I have always loved to linger in the bath with a book and either a glass of wine (provided by my late husband) or a coffee in later years.

On this particular evening I got the bathroom ready, lit candles, brought up the coffee and book, made sure the bath pillow was inflated and in place and then poured in a liberal dose of bath oil that had been given to me by a friend.  For the first time ever I think, I took the cordless phone into the bathroom with me.  I don’t think I was expecting a call but who knows why.

The book was good, the water was topped up whenever it got a little cold and the coffee was perfect.  I wallowed for over an hour.

Came the time to get out of the bath, disaster struck.  I couldn’t get out.  My feet kept slipping from under me because of the oil and I couldn’t get a grip.  I tried kneeling and getting out from there – no good.  I tried slipping up the sloping end of the bath – that ended in my falling down hard back into the rapidly cooling bath water.  I looked at the phone and considered calling my daughter to come and help but knew that my delightful son-in-law would never let me live that down.  I looked around for any bright ideas.  The bath was not equipped with handles as many are today so no help there.

I was getting myself into quite a state (and panicking) when I looked down and beside the bath was the bathmat.  The light went on in my head.  I put the toweling bathmat  into the bottom of the bath and immediately was able to get out.  What a relief.  And while it is funny in retrospect, and while posts like the one from Joss bring it back into my mind, at the time it was quite scary.  And it was several weeks before I decided to take a bath again.

One Year On

 

“What a bargain grandchildren are!
I give them my loose change and they give me
a million dollars worth of pleasure.”
Gene Perret, American Comedy Writer

One of the reasons I started on my blogging journey was to record my thoughts and activities for my grandsons so they would know what the Granma was about in her later years.  One of things I love about blogging on an almost daily basis is that it gives me the ability to look back and clearly see what I was doing and thinking earlier.

Today, July 20 I looked back a whole year ago and discovered Happy Granma’s Day.  Did you read it when I was a very new blogger with few followers – here’s the link in case you didn’t.

Re reading this post made me smile.  What a lovely day we had all together.  The boys enjoyed it as much as their Granma did I am sure.

The patio is now completely finished of course, and looks totally different and I am so glad that I had the boys to help.

Three boys

Child labour?

Rob

Rob beavering away but can’t we afford shoes?

Two boys working

James and Jae

Lotte helping too

And four extra hands are welcome

The boys are all a year older.  The eldest is leaving school this year and going on to University, the others are all moving through their school journey.   All four of them are busy and active in a variety of sports, and some times, when they are playing close to home, I even get to watch.

I enjoyed this look back one year to experience once again that fabulous day.  Thank you boys for making it so special!

Thanks

“Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves,
without rebuke or effort to change us,
as no one in our entire lives has ever done,
not our parents, siblings, spouses,
friends – and hardly ever
our own grown children.
~Ruth Goode, author 1902-1997

 

Mr Nobody

Have you met Mr Nobody yet?  When we were growing up he was a regular visitor to our house and again when my children were younger, he was often there too.

I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody’s house.
There’s no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody

Chipped plate

‘Tis he who always tears our books,
who leaves our doors ajar;
he pulls the buttons from our shirts,
and scatters pins afar,
that squeaking door will always squeak,
because of this you see:
we leave the oiling to be done
by Mr Nobody.

He puts damp wood upon the fire,
So kettles cannot boil;
His are the feet that bring in mud
And all the carpets soil.
The papers always are mislaid,
Who had them last but he?
There’s no one tosses them about
But Mr. Nobody

And now I come to think of it, perhaps he and that Very Strange Old Lady have got together and decided that my home is where they want to co-habit, living  in blissful disinterest in how they upset my routine and my life.  I just wish they would find somewhere else.  Does anybody have a spare room for this awkward couple?
old woman

Look Who’s Coming To Dinner

The wait is over.  A parcel arrived today.  Unceremoniously dumped on the verandah at the front door – well the postman didn’t know that it contained a precious cargo – Andy the Armadillo.

What's in the box

What's in the box? Wait is something moving in it?

Are you up to the play on Andy and his travels around the world?  Well Lenore Diane in Woodstock, Georgia traded some Smoked salmon (well she thought that was what it was) for an armadillo at a White Elephant Gift Exchange.  She then came up with the idea of his travelling to various places.  He visited K8did in Florida and after some time and an exciting visit he went on to visit Georgette in Texas.  Here he had plenty of excitement and a massive sugar hangover.  No wonder the little chap looked a trifle peaky by the time he arrived here.

Making friends

Lotte in her inimitable fashion greeted this new friend and made him feel at home.

Lotte and Andy

She showed him around her favourite places in the garden

Sharing dinner

She offered to share her dinner not knowing whether Armadillos ate chicken

Andy and a cheese sandwich

Not really liking the chicken, Andy decided to check out my toasted sandwich

Andy and book

Then he became interested in the book I was reading. Can armadillos read?

Andy and the gnome

Then he had a stroll around the garden

Lotte and Andy on chair

And after all the excitement of the day he decided to join Lotte in a postprandial snooze.

Tomorrow Andy will start her Wandering in Wellington and Lotte and I shall report back to you.

And just to remind you that according to Will Cuppy

Armadillos make affectionate pets, if you need affection that much.

I’ll report on that too!

New Hats

Women's hat

From "Woman's World" August 1930

“What fun” thought Maisie..  Shopping for hats with her favourite friends.  And these three had shared so much together since they met in school all those years ago.  They knew instinctively which hats would suit.

“This is my treat” cried Maisie as they entered the shop.  She immediately pounced on a dove grey felt that she absolutely knew that Juliet would love; and she did.  Then she picked out a pretty pink concoction for Imogen noticing how pale and drawn her friend looked that day.  No doubt she was suffering pain from the damaged arm and shoulder.  And for herself she chose a darker grey, soft cloche that she could pull over her hair when her hairdresser hadn’t called that day.

After demurring slightly, the other two were delighted with their hats and all three women trotted off to board their omnibus for home.

They talked about the rest of the day – first a trip to their homes for Juliet and Maisie to bathe and change, and probably a telephone call to Sir Percy Carruthers to assure him that his wife was well, had been looked after at the hospital and discharged that morning.  The three women separated, Maisie and Imogen going to Maisie’s house and Juliet to hers with the promise to meet after luncheon to take tea together.

Good plan.  But of course, with these three women it didn’t work out as desired.  As soon as Maisie and Imogen arrived at Maisie’s house they were met by a thunderous Sir Percy who told them that he had been summoned from an important meeting by his housekeeper to be told of the disgraceful carry on of his wife and her two friends.  It was bad enough that he heard the night before how they had arrived, slightly the worse for drink, but then to be advised this morning that his wife had spent the night in hospital was too much for an honest man to bear.  He demanded that Imogen immediately return with him to their town house where she would stay while he concluded his business.  That done they would return to Horley for her to recuperate in peace without the disturbing influence of her two friends.

Maisie was sorry to see Imogen go but realised that Sir Percy, who was still trying to show the world that all was well in his marriage,  really had taken control.  So she retired to her dressing room to wash and change and then after a quick luncheon, Sir Percy and Lady Carruthers left.

Maisie took her after-luncheon coffee into her sitting room and attended to some correspondence.  That done, she picked up a magazine to await the arrival of Juliet.  What would they do for the afternoon?

Well of course, once she arrived at Maisie’s, Juliet said that they must go around to Imogen’s to cheer her up.  She couldn’t be left alone.  No sooner decided than Maisie summoned her chauffeur Higgins to drive them to their friend’s house.

Once again they had tea but they decided to leave Sir Percy’s cellar untouched.  They talked and laughed again as they always did, but shortly after tea, Imogen said she was tired and her arm and shoulder hurt, so she thought she would lie down before Percy arrived back from his meetings.

That left the other two at a loose end.  So shopping came to their minds.  Not hats as they each had a new one, but perhaps some new gloves to go with the hats; then perhaps a quick cocktail before returning home to prepare for the evening.

A Hackney carriage was summoned by Sir Percy’s valet and the two women left promising to be in touch with Imogen very soon.

women's gloves

© Art Deco Society of California

A visit to Mr Simpson’s emporium produced the perfect gloves for each of the ladies and so sporting their latest acquisitions they crossed the street to a very modest establishment where ladies could sit and have a cocktail while watching the passing parade in the street.  They were seated and had just lit their cigarettes when they saw Johnny Crompton-Mayhew and a couple of his cronies.  Johnny espied them and immediately came into the establishment assuring them that it wasn’t the done thing for them to be drinking cocktails alone and insisting that they joined him and his friends.  They accepted with alacrity and putting out the cigarettes, after downing their cocktails, they followed the fellows.

You can probably imagine where this story is going.  One drink led to another and another and soon there was talk of going to a club for dinner and dancing.  Of course the women couldn’t go dressed as they were and so they decided to go back to Maisie’s whose house was the closest to change and prepare for an evening out,.  They would meet the fellows at around 9 pm at the nightclub.

What happened next?  They bade Johnny and his friends farewell with the promise to meet as agreed.  They had the porter call a Hackney Cab for them and…..

Two women on beach

Oh yes, they still had on their hats but...

Related Posts:

Hats On
Hats On Again

More Meanderings on a Monday

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”  ~Erma Bombeck

No Stress

Well it’s Monday again and now that I am ‘retired’ it is just like any other day.

Mondays have been blamed for many things including comparatively minor things like absenteeism and major things like a school shooting.

The song “I don’t like Mondays” was written by Bob Geldorf and became a number one hit in the UK for the Boomtown Rats.  Geldorf has said that he wrote the song after reading a report about 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer,   On 29 January 1979 Spencer opened fire from her house across the street at children playing in a school playground at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California.  She killed the headmaster and the custodian and injured eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime and her full explanation for her actions was “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”

I have never been pushed to act in this way even on the occasions when Monday and another working week loomed.  I admit to having occasionally considered a Monday morning “sickie” but quickly dismissed this because as we all know this is the first hint of problem drinking or drug taking.

What else is lurking in this brain on this Monday?

No SPAMWe all hate SPAM but what I hate as much is finding comments made by regular readers and commenters sitting in my Spam folder.  And I really hate that comments I make end up in someone else’s spam folder.

I spent one whole day last week playing catch up – reading and commenting on your blogs and felt very pleased with myself until none of my comments would appear on your blogs.  Perhaps because I made so many comments Akismet thought I was a spammer.  May I ask you to please open your spam box to see if my non-spam comments are lurking there.

Recently Elizabeth at Mirth and Motivation wrote about this and it is clear that I am not the only one to suffer this way.  I have written to both Akismet and WordPress as Elizabeth suggests and am awaiting an answer.  In the meantime, I do hope that you will check your spam box.

French onion soup

Image via Wikipedia

Today the sun shone but it was more like an autumn day than a late summer day.  So after working with my Real Estate Agent friend, we went off for lunch and each had a steaming bowl of French Onion Soup at a local French bakery/cafe.

It was exactly what was needed after a busy morning and certainly set me up for the follow up things I had to do in the afternoon.

cup of latte

Then a call from my daughter found me having a cup of coffee at a coffee shop near her office.  She is so busy that I usually have to make an appointment to see her but today she had time and so did I.  As an added bonus I got to see my two youngest grandchildren, 14 and 12 years old, known by and to their Granma as Darling No 3 and Darling No 4.

Earlier my daughter had told me about her youngest son.  He had been badly behaved yesterday and she had set him a task to clean the inside of the car in retribution.  He didn’t do this and so she took away his mobile phone and told me that he was grounded until his 15th birthday.

It was such a funny tale and improved with her telling of it.  His final riposte was that he was reporting her to the police and she would end up in court for stealing his phone.  Apparently he had bought the phone and so in his mind, she couldn’t take it from him.  I laughed so much as she told me the story that the tears ran down my cheeks and I arrived at my friend’s house to work with mascara runs down my face.  What a good look for a Monday!

So nothing really changes.  I remember the same kind of discussion and penalty (not of course a mobile phone but some other thing necessary to his well-being) when my son was that age.  Children continue to back themselves into a corner that they can’t get out of and it’s only as they grow a little older that they see what they are doing.

So another Monday comes to a close.  And tomorrow we start all over again.