Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


In the end, it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln


There have newspaper reports recently that many schools are no longer having nativity plays, because of the numbers of children of other faiths or of none.

I’m remembering that when I was a boy Christmas was not observed in schools - no Christmas Tree, no decorations, no party, in fact advent calendars and nativity plays were things we’d never heard of. It was a school holiday of course, but, apart from that, it was just like any other working day, with offices, shops and factories open as usual.

Every year the Sunday School had a party where we played the usual games and Santa Claus gave each of us a gift. There was always a big Christmas Tree with decorations and baubles, but no lights, the hall was gas-lit. I don’t think any people had trees in their homes in those days.

In the Scottish church, there were no special services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but on the Sunday nearest the big day, we sang Christmas hymns, and I expect the minister would talk about the nativity in his sermon. I believe that there was Midnight Mass in most Catholic churches on Christmas Eve.

It wasn’t till the late 1940s that Scotland began to make more of Christmas. Perhaps the change was due to our servicemen coming back to civvy street, having experienced how it was celebrated elsewhere.

We children of course became very excited as Christmas drew near. I remember that the living room in our tenement house looked wonderful with paper decorations round the walls and extending across the ceiling. Happy memories!


Landscape near Beauvais, by Fran├žois Boucher (1703-1770)


Inside the front cover of a book, this hand-written

Neither blemish this book, not the leaves double down,
Nor lend it to each idle friend in the town;
Return it when read; or, if lost, please supply
Another as good to the mind and the eye,
With right and with reason you need but be friends
And each book in my study your pleasure attends.


Do you remember . . .


The Danish humorist and musician had a classical training and started off as a concert pianist. His popularity soon spread when he developed his comedy act. When Germany invaded Denmark he had to flee the country as his act had involved telling jokes about the Nazis. Escaping to Finland, he then managed to get to the USA where he arrived almost penniless.
Born in 1909, he died in 2000.

The clip was uploaded by going343. The other pianist is not named.



I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. - Agatha Christie


Clip art by



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