Some of my post-Christmas traditions include riding on the Watercress Line, having a day trip to Dorset and walking along West Bay beach, enjoying a New Forest walk, and catching up with members of the family who live a little further away. Have ticked those all off for this year and a good time was had by all.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year celebration. Many best wishes for 2019 from us all at CFT!
Image Credit: All images were taken by Allison Symes, unless otherwise stated. (This means if they’re wobbly, it’s my fault!).
West Bay, Dorset
The Dorset trip was particularly successful this year. A mild day, plenty of sunshine, relatively calm seas, and Lady being as good as gold on and off the lead on the beach. She came home shattered but having had a fantastic time.
A few weeks ago my husband and I took the dog down there planning to have a good walk in one of our favourite haunts to celebrate our anniversary. The day and walk was cut short. We all got an absolute soaking. There could not be a greater contrast in the weather between the two trips! I would like to think this kind of thing is good for the soul but we were so glad to get home…
There is one Dorset tradition I always avoid though and that’s the Boxing Day swim at West Bay! Much as I love a good swim, I object to doing so in a very cold sea! The phrase “rather them than me” has rarely been more appropriate.
New Forest Walk
As for the New Forest walk, that was carried out on 1st January! Good weather for the time of year, there were plenty of walkers in Mateley Wood, Lady loved it (though she doesn’t know what to make of horses and skirts round them!), and a real feeling of having got rid of a few cobwebs.
The role of traditions
There is a comfort to traditions but I think they have a more important role than that. Their purpose, to me, is to make me take time out from the usual routine, do something different, and come back to said usual routine, refreshed in body, mind and spirit. (Walking off the Christmas Day and New Year treats along West Bay beach and in the New Forest are also useful from a keeping fit point of view!). Sometimes you do need to make yourself do something different. It can be easy to be stuck in a rut.
So what winter traditions do you follow and why?
There can be a sense of having something nice like this to “keep you going” until the better weather arrives. This pays off in Britain given the better weather can turn up at any time from early March to the end of July (if we have a particularly bad year!).
Other traditions come out of the main ones listed above. Lots of washing of dog towels goes on at this time of year and will do so for some time. Dog towels do save the carpets from getting a good pasting as Lady brings the mud etc indoors with her. My late mother stitched towels together when they frayed at the edges to make bigger new towels and I’m blessing her for this now. The stitched together ones are just the right size for Lady. (Unlike my previous collies, Gracie and Mabel, Lady doesn’t mind being cleaned up. She sees it as a chance to have a cuddle with her owners! Trust me, this helps get her cleaned up so much quicker than we could ever do with our other two collies.).
There is much banging the mud off the boots going on in our household too (or more accurately against one of our walls!) and this is likely to go on for some time too.
I read reasonably well all year but do manage to get more done in the winter months. The big consolation for the bad weather we have had and will get more of in due course is curling up indoors with a mug or glass of something nice and a good book.
Traditional TV viewing
As for the Christmas holidays, traditional watching for us includes a Bond film (my favourite is Skyfall), a Morecambe and Wise classic, and Doctor Who (and for the record, I like Jodie Whittaker in the role. Bradley Walsh has also been a revelation. Thoroughly enjoyed the New Year’s Day episode. All I’ll say here is you really can’t keep a good enemy down and the Time Lords have had plenty of those).
Favourite Morecambe and Wise sketch ever is the Andrew Preview one closely followed by their Stripper sketch. The first Youtube clip takes you to the original version of the Andrew Preview sketch and I love the way our two heroes were very adept in recycling good material!
Morecambe and Wise bring back fond memories in more ways than one in that Christmas Day was the only day ever my dear mum had a roast dinner on the table at a reasonable time. She wanted us to eat, get all the washing up done, and then for us all to sit down in time to watch the comic duo’s Christmas Special. This was a tradition we gladly followed.
I was given the M&W BBC collection last year and it has been a joy to go through them again. I think they’ve not dated much, if at all, but will fess up to the fact I am bound to have a bit of rose tinted specs on here due to the connected memories. I have had some difficulties in persuading younger members of my family to accept my “we couldn’t record the Christmas special, there were no video recorders then”. Makes me sound as if the dinosaurs had only just vacated the earth at that time but it can’t be helped!
Incidentally, I always felt sorry for The Two Ronnies. Always tuned into their shows and Christmas specials. Loved them too and Four Candles is a brilliant sketch.
Had they been in any other era, they would be the outstanding comics of a generation. However, they were in the same era as Morecambe and Wise! This is like discovering you are a very good composer when Mozart bursts on the scene! You are going to feel somewhat crestfallen, I think.
Now this is where I do show my age a bit but (a) I don’t care and (b) I think there is nobody in the same league as Morecambe and Wise and The Two Ronnies. John Finnemore and Milton Jones are great on radio. Likewise, nobody could come near Spike Milligan and the Goons in my view but for me TV comedy has been lacking. Nor was I overly impressed with the offerings over the festive period this year either.
Is it a tradition to moan about the lack of really good TV viewing?
Carols and some Alternative Versions
Oh a new tradition for me, which has occurred relatively recently, is to sing along loudly to the carols when played on Classic FM. I was pleased to hear the traditional version of Hark the Herald Angels Sing is always played where the last verse refers to “sons of earth”. My hymnbook at church has that phrase changed to “things of earth”. Yes, political correctness gets everywhere.
I’m not offended by “sons”, I know what is meant, and think it impudent to change what is a perfectly good carol by Charles Wesley. My better half and I have a laugh about this as (a) I refuse to sing the version in our hymnbook and stick to the old words (yes, that has gained me a look or two – not from the regular members of the congregation I hasten to add!) and (b) we speculate on what things of earth could mean. Sub-creatures? Orcs? (Back to Middle Earth there!). I’ve never understood why, if they were going to change the phrase here, they did not alter it to “folk of earth”. Covers both genders and scans well!! Still what do I know… I shall continue to sing sons of earth as loudly as I can every Christmas so this is becoming a tradition for me.
Mind, I also have fond memories of my parents singing the alternative words to We Three Kings and While Shepherds Watched.
Anyone for a chorus of: “While shepherds washed their socks by night, all seated round the tub, a bar of Sunlight soap came down, and they began to scrub”?
Or there is “We Three Kings of Orient are, one in a taxi, one in a car, one on a scooter blowing his hooter, following yonder star”!
Perhaps they were simpler days then but these made me laugh then and still do. Not a bad tradition then!
And now onward into a New Year. Maybe new traditions will be forged in the next 12 months. Maybe not but however 2019 turns out, I hope it is as good as possible for us all.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.