CHRISTMAS DAY

TUESDAY 25th DECEMBER 1973.

[There were four of us at home in our bungalow in Poringland for Christmas; me, my sister Tig home from teaching on Guernsey, and my mother and father. There were also the two dogs, both black Labrador crosses; our Fido who was not yet 6 months old  and my sister’s dog Suki. You will note that we had yet to acquire a television.

Here are some historical events from 1973. In January Britain had become the 7th member of the Common Market (as it was then called).  October saw the Arab/Israel Yom Kippur war and the Queen opened Sydney Opera House.]

It was foggy all day.  I was brought tea in bed; Fido got up earlier, but came back when he realised I had Suki in my room. So I had two rather jealous dogs (jealous of each other in wanting to be my number one companion). I had ham and toast and marmalade for breakfast. I got dressed in my brown suit. Our next door neighbour Mrs Matthews called over the hedge that she would be ready to leave at 10.20. I took Fido out up the lane alone. My sister Tig took Suki out alone in the car later which made Fido rather cross. Dad got dressed and we took Mrs Matthews to visit her Mum who is living in a home in Wymondham. We had a look in the home and met her mother. We drove round Wymondham and to the level crossing; back to collect Mrs Matthews at 11.15. We had arranged this trip on Christmas Eve when she had given us some sausage rolls and mince pies.

Home, and the turkey was already cooked by 12. This year we cooked it in a bag, but when we let the gravy out of the bag it cracked the turkey dish. Then I set fire to the table-cloth with a candle. For dinner we had turkey, bread sauce, cranberries, stuffing, bacon, sausage, potatoes, Brussels sprouts followed by Christmas pudding and custard. With the meal we had a bottle of Asti Spumante. At 1 o’ clock we turned the radio on to hear the Queen. We had coffee while the washing up was put in the dish washer. We went through to the front room where we had lit the fire earlier (there was also fire in living room) and opened our presents round the tree. I got some handkerchiefs, chocolates, a diary and a lot of seeds for the garden.

Tig and I took the dogs for the 40 minute walk through Spur Lane. The dogs were let off their leads from the school to the end of the “cathedral” (our name for the straight walk along Spur Lane where the tall trees arching over the road resemble the columns of a cathedral). On the way we collected a good load of wood.

Back home we put on the gramophone and heard some music and the play The Bespoke Overcoat by Wolf Mankowitz which we have on record. Some of us had a cup of tea and some of us had port instead. The dogs had their Christmas treat of corned beef. Then we played card games, Happy Families and Pit. We took the dogs out again in the evening. For supper we had more turkey and ham. To drink we had a bottle of Riesling which had been given us by Andrew Anderson. We had crackers with sparklers inside. We have had a lot to eat today, but quite a lot of exercise too, what with walking the dogs, so we do not feel too fat. Later we had the record player on again in the front room and heard Corelli’s concerto for Christmas Night. [This is a forgivable mistake; as I later discovered, the Christmas night this music was written for is the night before Christmas.]

Bank Holiday, UK & Eire, WEDNESDAY 25 December, 1974

QUITE DULL all day; some lashing rain and wind at times. Asti Spumante with Xmas dinner.  Tig roused me and got me up sometime about  9.30. We had ham for breakfast.  Auntie Olioxe phoned during the morning. At breakfast time we each opened a present – mine was my M&GN tie.  Later, but also during the morning, I opened my large box of peat pellets from Canada.  Tig and I took our dogs to Dunston Common for a run. There was no one else on the common. Suki came round oblivious to wasps! When we got home Dad and I were given the veg to do.

MY FATHER HARVESTS THE POTATO CROP, of Kerr's Pinks

MY FATHER HARVESTS THE POTATO CROP.

Dad did the sprouts and I did the potatoes. We are still using the home-grown Kerr’s Pinks that we dug up in the middle of September. We had traditional turkey, bread sauce, stuffing, cranberry sauce the potatoes were roasted. Also sausages and bacon. The dogs had a good meal of Bounce first. Xmas pudding and cornflour sauce. Tig and I loaded up the dishwasher and then retired to our beds for a postprandial snooze while it worked. Then we took the two dogs up the lane.

We opened presents off the tree. I got a fine collection, slippers, hankies, a £10 cheque from David (Anderson), a £1.50 gift voucher from Uncle Eric (Rivett), £3 from Aunt Maud (Rivett) and a letter, a brush and comb set and a mains unit for the tape recorder.  Also a share in a bottle of sherry from Andrew (Anderson), coffee chocolates and biscuits. This Papermate ballpoint pen (in use as I write this) was from Uncle Arthur and Aunt Peg (Sansom). Tig was very pleased with her rug; she wrapped herself up in it.  I have a new diary from Tig and a red pullover from Auntie Olive (Andreson).

For tea we had fruit salad and ice cream out of the freezing box in the new fridge. Tig and I took the dogs up to the Railway Inn. We were lucky to miss the rain. The dogs had corned beef as it was Christmas; overfed, Fido was a bit growlie. We listened to records in the evening including Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR MEMORIES OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE

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