Saturday, 24 December 2011


It’s been some weeks since I put a pen to a blog. But that doesn’t mean I’ve been idle.  The luxury of being retired, or as I like to think semi-retired, is to thank the lord there is no-one to kick the rear end.
Now in the festive season I feel I have to shift myself, if only to send Christmas cards and cruise round the shops in search of presents for the grandchildren. I’d planned to send something by snailmail to Christopher and Sarah in Oz but I see I’ve already missed the slot for final posting.  Sadly they will have to wait until the New Year. I did, however, manage to get my international greetings cards off in time. Well, I hope they got there for Christmas.
As for Hugh and Joseph here in Goostrey, that’s another tale. They are now of an age when Father Christmas is the real thing. This is the first year they have become aware of the whiskered old codger so it will be all systems go, I guess, on the 25th tomorrow. Hugh is anxious that we have carrots and milk to leave for FC’s reindeers. His Dad suggested he should also put out a tipple for the man himself!
I saw a report the other day that even toddlers are showing an interest in computers, and this year they are actually being manufactured for kids barely out of the crawling stage. All in the name of early learning, of course!
My nursery aged grandchild toddlers are no exception but their passion is for diggers and tractors. Young Hugh however managed to switch my system on the other day. He and his brother were well into a You Tube item about a giant digger climbing a tower in Germany when discovered.
 Since then You Tub diggers and tractors have become their favourite viewing. But you have to monitor what they watch – there are some very lurid things on You Tube, I’ve discovered! The mind boggles how some ladies dress to handle diggers !
The festive season is the time when the Christmas cracker comes into its own. I don’t know if I am an exception, I don't seem able to get the wretched things to crack. I was dining on turkey and Christmas pud with Richard and Sylvia at a little eatery in the Staffordshire moorlands earlier this month when I tried my first for the season. Yes, like it always does, it just went “phut” when it was pulled instead of a healthy crack. Same happened to two out of the three on the table.
I was delighted as a way of compensation to find a leaflet inside informing me that at least the cracker is a British invention, with a little input from the French.
It seems a gentleman called Tom Smith is credited with its invention following a trip to Paris in 1840 when he discovered locally produced sugared almonds wrapped in a twist of tissue paper.  It wasn’t long(  only seven years or so) before he hit on the idea of including a love motto in the tissues, then came the cracking mechanism and finally his son Walter added the gift. Just hope they were a bit better than the pointless plastic toys included these days!
Now all I have left to say is A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all!