Saturday, 21 December 2013

The run-up to Christmas

A little bit more
I’m writing this post to the background music of some 70s pop.  (I’ll let the shops give me my Christmas carols ration for the year).  Currently playing is a song that Partner-who-loves-tea and I used to have as a theme tune – Dr Hook “A little bit more…”  Next I’ll put on my theme tune since October The Beatles “When I’m 64

The Philippines
I suppose all other news pales into insignificance in recent times when compared with the disaster in The Philippines. Like all storms it was selective and I have an acquaintance on Cebu who was in an area unaffected while the north of her island was flooded.

But as with all major emergencies there come the good guys –

In Santa Fe, in the north of the island of Leyte, MSF teams work hard distributing thousands of reconstruction kits for the residents there. "When we leave each place, we hear the sound of hammers on all sides. It sounds like a symphony of construction. Smiling people, from the rooftops, waving and shouting 'thank you'. The construction kits were an instant success. In minutes they were put to use, "said Ibrahim Younis emergency coordinator. (Photo: Florian Lems / MSF and Quirijn Dees / MSF)

I haven’t taken many photos recently.  Indeed there have been occasions where I have been caught outside without my camera on my shoulder!!  Fortunately the phone stood in on most of those occasions.  Sadly I can’t synch my phone to the computer so I have to e-mail each one I want off the phone.  I e-mail it as an attachment to myself.  Tedious.   I meant to ask Friend-and-son-in-law-who-loves-otters to sort it for me on Monday when he visited but forgot.  Bummer!  Must remember to ask Son-in-law-who-cooks on Sunday. 

Although we are having a quiet Christmas it’s is nice that we have had (or are having) visits from both Daughter-who-takes-photos and Food-loving-Daughter.   Meanwhile, Son-who-loves-films will be doing much of the cooking of the Christmas dinner.

David Coleman
David Coleman, British sports commentator and TV personality has died aged 87.  For many years he headed up BBC’s Grandstand programme.  Despite the fact that Formula One commentator Murray Walker made far many more bloopers than Coleman on live TV, 'Colemanballs' was a term coined by Private Eye magazine to describe verbal gaffes perpetrated by (usually British) sports commentators.   Here are five of my favourites.

“The front wheel crosses the finish line, closely followed by the back wheel.”

"And the line-up for the final of the women's 400 metres hurdles includes three Russians, two East Germans, a Pole, a Swede and a Frenchman."

“That’s the fastest time ever run – but it’s not as fast as the world record.”

“Both of the Villa scorers – Withe and Mortimer – were born in Liverpool as was the Villa manager Ron Saunders who was born in Birkenhead.”

“If that had gone in, it would have been a goal.”

 That may seem an unkind way to celebrate the life of a great man but I'm doing it with suitable humility and the knowledge that for every blooper of his he gave us many thousands of hours of brilliant entertainment.

I can hardly believe it but in the last hour or so I have got rid of a hundred or so e-mails from my in-box!  I am un-subscribing from all the folk who have, one way or another, got me onto their lists in recent years.  Hopefully it will result in having to trawl through a lot fewer to find the ones that matter.  So I am left with about ten that require personal replies – if you are one of those be assured I’m thinking of you; even if that is as far as it has got today.

Rumour has it the Festive Season is upon us.  Santa has been climbing up outside our house for a couple of weeks now but he hasn’t got very far.

I find it easier coming in the back door…

This year I have pinched an idea from Marcheline (if not the skill of it carrying out) and decorated the kitchen window which faces the front gate and road.

The tree has been up for a fortnight.

A few years ago Heather in Vermont sent us a Christmas tree ornament.  It joined the family ones that we have and which we put on as a special ceremony at the end of tree decorating.  (Though as it happens it was the first to be put on and therefore is not in this picture…)

Presents have gradually been wrapped and gone underneath the tree.  This one was opened early because I was advised I needed to do so.

It contained a tree decoration for me from Canadian Chickadee in Washington.  It’s delightful adding to our special ones.  

Every year we add a couple more ordinary ones – even though we have far too many because our tree is now only six feet tall and at one time we had a ten foot one to decorate!  This year we got a little Merry Christmas clock.

I’m not sure how tall this tree in Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral was but it was so dwarfed by the scale of the building that it seemed quite small.  (The bottom right hand corner shows you that the two men standing beneath the tree don’t even reach the bottom row of lights.)

An artificial star is pretty impressive when it shines indoors many dozens of feet above one.

I came out of the Cathedral that December evening to a delightful sunset over Liverpool.

The Conservatory
The conservatory roof that was damaged in the storm has now been repaired.  There was quite a lot of damage to be sorted and we are hoping that it will not let the rain in again.  It has yet to be out to the test – such rain as we have had has been little more than a drizzle.  But we’ve had some strong winds again.  And just as I write this it’s starting to rain heavily and we’ve had a flood warning – “with thunderstorms, torrential rain and damaging gale force winds”.  I wish the weather would leave us alone. 

Liverpool FC
I’m sure this will be of little interest to most of my blog readers but Suarez has signed a long-term contract with Liverpool Football Club.   

He celebrated by scoring two if Liverpool’s three goals against Cardiff City this afternoon and captaining the side not only to a 3-1 victory but to the top of the Premier League, despite Manchester City and Manchester United both winning their matches.  Unless Arsenal win this weekend they will be top at Christmas for the first time for many years.
 1        Liverpool FC       Played  17  Points  36
2        Manchester City FC        17    35
3        Arsenal FC        16    35
4        Chelsea FC        16    33
5        Everton FC        16    31
6        Newcastle United FC        17    30
7        Manchester United FC        17    28

Cafes and restaurants

Partner-who-loves-tea and I have started keeping notes about the local cafes and restaurants and visiting as many as possible to get an idea of which are the best.   I won’t bore you with all the details but we tend to make odd reminder notes in the crossword book as we play and have our coffee. My favourite so far was the note that read “It all began with the thumb in the foam of the alleged cappuccino and went downhill from there….”

May your Christmas run-up be uphill from here on…


  1. Merry Christmas John and family! I hope it's a super great one! I love your decorations! The Santa on the wall made me laugh! It reminded me of a family in Ashland who had Rudolph coming down from the attic window little by little each day until he landed on Dec. 25th. It always made me panic the closer he got to the ground and the farther I seemed away from finishing all the shopping and getting ready for the big day...fortunately, they moved away and now I'm all "calm and bright"...Merry Christmas..Happy New Year!

    1. What a great idea. Perhaps I could get a rope through the chimney and gradually haul him up day by day until he reaches the chimney on Christmas Eve and disappears on Christmas morning. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

  2. What a lovely post. Your tree is beautiful. And the sunset photos taken near the Cathedral are gorgeous. Have a great weekend, and if I don't get a chance to post again before the actual day, have a wonderful Christmas. xoxox

  3. What a long and interesting post John. Lovely collecting tree decorations I think. I have some interesting ones that have been gifts or bought in the States or Germany. E-mails, the bane of my life as they all go into my mail box and onto my phone and also my I-pad. Three sets to delete. It's the adverts that drive me nuts. How did we ever do without our phones when we forgot our cameras?

  4. I always thought that David Coleman was good value as an entertaining commentator. The Colemanballs were simply a part of his charm and the fact that people felt able to point out his failings; as they did with Murray Walker (another entertaining and very knowledgeable commentator). They both had a certain contact with their audience that many never achieve.

    Thumb in the foam. Hmmm. Perhaps we'll give that one a miss.

    One things we sophisticated Edwards's have is a good sense of the ridiculous. Now if someone else put a Santa on their wall.......

    1. Dang - I was dying to show you how bad a coffee could be! But if you insist I'll show you the good ones instead. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you, GB. See you when the weather turns warm again... You're a bit like the swallows and martins....

  5. When I start to read your posts, I never want them to stop.
    As always a captivating post that kept my interest in high gear until the very end.
    Love all your Christmas decorations, especially that Santa climbing outside your house......made me laugh out loud.....very loud.

    1. What a lovely compliment, thank you so much, Vee. A real inspiration to keep on posting.

  6. Happy Christmas, and thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures. Enjoy your low-key holiday, and i hope the roof holds (we get hurricanes, so i understand what it means to have a roof hold).

  7. You do fill my brain with so much interesting subjects that I had no idea that I'd enjoy. I've not been reading many blogs because of my accursed pain (in my neck and shoulders). I really love my Santa postcard! I hope that you've received my Christmas greeting to you.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

    1. Yes, thank you Norma, it arrived at the end of the week. It was much appreciated.

  8. Merry Christmas - your tree is gorgeous; how lovely to have ornaments that tell a story about Christmases past. Best wishes for the New Year!

  9. The Christmas tree in the cathedral is so... wow!!! It has increased my wish to spend Christmas one year with my relatives in Ripon, and visit Ripon Cathedral for Christmas. We have nothing comparable in size, age and beauty in Ludwigsburg, which is a young city with just a bit over 300 years under her belt.
    Seeing Santa attempting to climb your wall reminded me of another "climber" that once lived with you. I really wonder what became of Ivy.
    Your tree has been up 2 weeks already? Ours (i. e. the one at my parents') will only go up on Christmas Eve Day, and the ornaments and candles put on in the afternoon, so that it is all ready for the evening, when we will gather for our very modest Christmas Eve dinner and exchange our presents.
    Happy Christmas to you and your loved ones, John!

  10. Now is that an angel or a fairy at the top of your tree...? :)

    1. We had a debate about that the other day and concluded ours was an angel. My attempt to see what was on other trees in the area was scuppered - they all had stars instead.

  11. A good round up of interesting items! I have considered getting one of those Santas myself....

    We are going to decorate our tree tomorrow. It's kept in a room which isn't much used except when people come over. They'll be coming over at Christmas. Until now it has been blissfully happy outside on the balcony, which is a better place for a tree really than an overheated room!

    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

  12. And yet another merry Christmas wish to you and yours, everyone. I hope you are all prepared now and can give the last minute Christmas rush a miss. All we have to do is pick up our bird from the butcher.

  13. I like your Santa climbing on your wall, and your tree with its meaningful ornaments. Lots of our ornaments have stories too. That tree in the Cathedral is truly beautiful. Merry Christmas to you and your family from me and my family in California.

  14. Happy Christmas to you and yours.

    The pix of that cathedral are amazing. I didn't even see two men under the Christmas tree until I'd read it - we have nothing like that in Ohio. One of your readers - Librarian - commented about a young city of 300 years and change. We are a young country of only 237 years. Puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

    Another difference that just occurred to me. As I write this, it is Monday, December 23, 2013 at 11:47 PM.

    So I was wondering... would you please call me tomorrow and tell me if our Christmas dinner came out alright? There's a good fellow.


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