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Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Happy Christmas

I wish all my readers a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2017.  Most days this blog gets updated, unless I am away or too unwell.

For some, Christmas can be a difficult time: others seem happy and cheerful, but some feel lonely at this time of year. To those who think they are unloved I wish you especially a very merry Christmas. May 2017 bring you peace and love.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Getting close to Christmas

Father Christmas
We are now in the run-up to Christmas. The picture was taken outside our local village hall. There was a Christmas Bazaar inside.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Cambridge Christmas Lights

Today, Cambridge was ablaze with Christmas lights. Some shops have had Christmas displays since at least early October. This was the view on the way to the bus stop at Drummer Street.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas

I think it is partly a result of my stroke, but I find Christmas very stressful these days. Every Christmas things are expected to be calm and happy, yet I am sure that I am not alone in experiencing the opposite. Even eating the Christmas meal is a stress these days. Years ago at work I knew a couple who went camping in Scotland at Christmas. Just maybe they had the right idea?

For the little ones it is still a magical time and I'd hate to spoil it for them.

Bah humbug!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Getting ready for Christmas

Last year's real tree has been in the pot in the garden all year. To our surprise it has new shoots and, apart from a list (corrected by re-potting the roots when we brought it into the house) it is good for this Christmas too. The lights and decorations are now going on.

On Sunday the first grandchildren arrive. Over Christmas we'll see all the children and grandchildren.  It will be busy time, but I hope all the little ones and all their mums and dads have a lovely time.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas time

Whether you celebrate Christmas as a Christian or simply as a time in mid-winter when you can enjoy some good food and family company, I hope Dec 25th was a very happy time for you.

What happened in the Middle East over 2000 years ago this Christmas may never be properly known, but just perhaps something extraordinary did happen back then. The stories about it have passed down over the centuries. They may be inaccurate, mixed up, partly myth, or totally wrong. Somehow though I have a deep sense that in this muddled, often contradictory, set of accounts there is something timeless and important we need to respond to.

And here is the famous poem by John Betjeman that senses this. In the midst of the humdrum activities of Christmas - the presents and the food and the decorations - there is that mystery. What really happened? What is the message?

Christmas

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
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 Hooker’s 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 villagers can say
‘The Church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.


Provincial public houses blaze
And 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? and is it true?
The 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 to-day in Bread and Wine.

— John Betjeman (1906 - 1984)

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas

We have family here from Dec 24th until Dec 26th so blog updates will be infrequent during this period. May I wish all readers a very happy Christmas whether with family or alone. For some this can be a difficult time. It is the season of love and kindness. My hope is you find love and kindness whatever your situation. 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Flyer in the post today

Christmas in October seems the flavour of the month.

Today our local farm shop and cafe (La Hogue) sent a flyer in the post with prices for Christmas meats and 20% discounts for their cafe in January and February 2015. WHY do we need this in OCTOBER?

They must be desperate.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

October - Christmas already?

Call me old fashioned, but Christmas is Dec 25th. It really annoyed me to see the windows of John Lewis in Cambridge decorated for Christmas and it is only October!!   Even more annoying was Scotsdales Garden Centre fully geared up for Christmas last week. It may well have been like this earlier.

All this smacks of one thing: commercialism.  I hate it.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas

Whether you celebrate Christmas as a Christian or simply as a time in mid-winter when you can enjoy some good food and family company, I hope Dec 25th is a very happy time for you.

What happened in the Middle East over 2000 years ago this Christmas may never be properly known, but just perhaps something extraordinary did happen back then. The stories about it have passed down over the centuries. They may be inaccurate, mixed up, partly myth, or totally wrong. Somehow though I have a deep sense that in this muddled, often contradictory, set of accounts there is something timeless and important we need to respond to. 

And here is the famous poem by John Betjeman that senses this. In the midst of the humdrum activities of Christmas - the presents and the food and the decorations - there is that mystery. What really happened? What is the message?

Christmas

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
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 Hooker’s 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 villagers can say
‘The Church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.

Provincial public houses blaze
And 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? and is it true?
The 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 to-day in Bread and Wine.

— John Betjeman (1906 - 1984)
  

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Steam trains, love and forgiveness

This weekend was rather special: we spent 3 days with one of our sons, his wife and our younger grandson in Kent. On Friday our other son and his wife and our other 2 grandchildren joined us for a family meal. It was a very happy time. Yesterday we took both grandsons (aged 2 and 4) on a Santa Special steam train and, of course, they loved it, especially the Christmas gifts they got from Santa.

This time of year can be very hard for many people: expectations seem to heightened at Christmas and for those who are lonely and unloved it can be a very cruel time. So, this Christmas let's spare a thought for our friends who don't have a family, or whose family is broken, those who have lost someone recently or who are suffering from mental or physical illness. I have a loving wife, a wonderful family with 3 grandchildren who are precious. Although my faith in God, if she/he exists, is weak, I do feel that I've been blessed and held by a love greater than I can explain or comprehend. Perhaps it is wishful thinking. Who knows. What I do know is that love and forgiveness are the greatest of gifts, especially at Christmas. 

Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween and early Christmas hype

Since 2001 spending in the UK on Halloween has risen from a few million pounds a year to around £350M. Now I've no problem with children dressing up and making a few Halloween masks or candles from pumpkins, but I find the commercialisation of this activity nothing short of a scandal. In the same vein, the Christmas hype starts in some shops as early as late September, which is ridiculous. Why does our capitalist, money centred, world draw so many of us in to this? Why can't Halloween be the simple, low key, fun it once was and why can't Christmas be, well, at Christmas?