Christmas , a brief season of happiness and enjoyment, a time for quiet reflection on times, and friends past, and happy memories of yesteryear. Many of the hearts that throbbed so gaily then, have ceased to beat, many of the looks that shone so brightly then have ceased to glow, the hands we grasped, have grown cold, but the merry voices, the smiling faces and the most trivial of circumstances crowd upon our minds and recall happy times, at this season, in the company of family and friends.

As is usual for us now, we shall be celebrating the festive season quietly at home, we have talked about the possibility, if the weather necessitates such a break with tradition, of having the gas fire lit for a couple of hours on Christmas Day, and we shall probably finish that half bottle of Sherry wine we opened last Christmas, when the Vicar called; other than that, we have no real plans, being content, at our time of life with what we have.

I have had a look at the Television schedules and see that the Morecambe and Wise, Christmas Show 1973, is to feature, as is a rerun of the 1963 Christmas 'Dixon of Dock Green' programme, 'Dad's Army' will be a 'must see' for us, and a special treat, Our Cilla, in a Christmas 'Surprise! Surprise!' show, no date given, but I hope that it is the one where she was wearing those corsets with the electric light bulbs.

As for Christmas lunch, we may open a tinned Fray Bentos meat pie, many people would consider that this is a needless extravagance, but it is being forced upon us as the 'sell by' date is fast approaching, I did contact the health people about the difference between 'sell by' and 'eat by' but they were most dismissive of my enquiry.

This year has seen some changes, none for the better, Charlotte Green is to take enforced, ageist, retirement from the BBC, this happened to Sir Jimmy Saville, now then, now then, sorry, Young a few years ago, and I understand that Mike Harding is also the subject of an ageist coup over on the Folk music programme.

Christmas presents do not feature heavily in our lives, we must live within our narrow means and we have everything that our hearts desire; I did have some good fortune in that I managed to secure a lovely pair of CD recordings for Bernadette, as a Christmas surprise - 'The Best of Boney M' and ' Ken Dodd and the Diddymen' which I remember her liking so much, when the kiddies were still at home.

We have decided not to send , with a few exceptions, (Messrs. Boosebusters, William Hill and the girls at the Benefits Office, the Black Horse, the Duke of York, the Lord Roseberry, etc.) any Christmas cards this year (just as we did, so successfully, last year) as we are concerned about global warming, we all must play our part in reducing our personal impact on the planet.

It only remains for me to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.
Richard and Bernadette.


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Hi Richard,

Thank you for the kind Christmas greetings.  This is the first year that we will not have family here on Christmas Day, so I will be able to enjoy the delights of Wallace and Grommit’s Grand Day Out followed by the Snowman and then a choice between Wizard of Oz or Mary Poppins before the alcohol kicks in and I fall soundly asleep in time for the Queen’s Speech.


We have been saving up for an Aldi £9.99 Christmas turkey so we will be well provided for, not up to Fray Bentos’s standards though.

You have a bottle of Sherry from last Christmas? If a bottle gets opened here we are lucky to see it last to the end of the day, let alone the end of the year. Lynn is still undergoing withdrawal after 37 years as a Teacher and has now become one of those parasitic pensioners who are pariah on society as they receive a “Gold Plated” public service pension, thus we have buckets of money to waste. Fortunately she is careful with the cash and only buys the essentials like sherry, beer and whisky for medicinal purposes.


I find the familiar faces a comfort at Christmas time and at least I recognise a few faces in The Morecambe and Wise Show and Brucie’s Generation Game. I don’t recognize any of the adolescents who present current TV shows.


As a side effect of Lynn’s therapy for Public Service withdrawal she developed RCI (Repetitive Crocheting Injury) but as she has now produced enough Granny Blankets to cover the Northern Hemisphere we are as warm as toast here, no need to worry the gas fire and its effect on Global Warming here in Blackpool.


All the very best to you and your good lady,






Hic, Haec, Hoc?

It seems we shall once again be running the negative fireplace this year as temps are in the 60's and 70's when the sun shines. No worries about our carbon footprint as we have a hydroelectric plant a few miles down the road to supply electricity. Mr. Tesla would be proud.

As we expended our food funding on an 18lb Turkey back in Nov., we shall be carving up a decent bit of an elderly Hereford or Angus on Christmas day...still expensive @ $25 (roughly £15) for enough to feed 6. I usually roast it on the grill but Diane's mother put her foot down and demanded the job. will be mostly carbonized but I'm sure there will be some food value in the smoking remains.

A bottle of Sherry would be nice but I prefer Maderia...and as I am the only imbibing party here, a bottle usually lasts at least a few evenings.

I doubt we'll watch much on the TV, it has been saturated with Christmas re-runs of re-runs or some poor once-favorite movie stuck in a 24/7 loop on a single channel. If we were to have Wallace 'n' Gromit, I would be grabbing the Wensleydale 'n' crackers out of the cabinet and a tot of Maderia...probably asleep before the end credits.

Merry Christmas, all of y'all!

Marc 'n' Diane

Amen to your comments about American television this time of year.  Marc, you are being kind. Ever since November turned to December there's been nothing on but vaguely Christmas -themed dregs of the dregs. Fortunately I can do other things besides watch TV or complain about it. I can play the banjo for instance. So how many members of this forum have played banjo at the same time as watching TV?  I have!  I would strongly council against the practice if it were the *only* time one played. One would have no idea how one sounded. But with a divided mind the fingers can fool the portion of the brain that keeps the fingers locked up and carefully patrolled. One can make little musical progress in front of the telly, but technical progress? Definitely. Any agreeing or dissenting opinions? 


I too play the banjo while watching TV. Here in the UK we have a programme called “The Daily Politics” where our illustrious leaders are interviewed about current events and their political decisions.

As it is a talk programme it is not too obtrusive when I am practising and I can hear my mistakes, most of the patronising BS they are feeding to us and see the arrogant and self-opinionated manner in which that they talk down to us plebs.

It also has a very useful side effect of increasing ones self-control and anger management.  Only once have I thrown my banjo though the TV.


I only ever play the banjo nowadays whilst watching  TV, I find that episodes of  'Constipation Street' are an excellent background for scale practise, I reserve recognisable tunes for the after 9 pm watershed.

I tend to play sans TV as the flickering light of the glass teat is too distracting. When I do, I will mute it and play during the commercial many cases that can consume several tunes before the program starts again.

I am wobbling along the edge of going w/o TV again (I avoided the stupid thing for about 20 yrs during the 1980-2000 period) as I am disgusted with almost every new program that comes along. I do not watch anything remotely political as I wish to retain what little sanity I have left.

What I need to do is to finally clean out the workshop and get back to making things. 


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