CHRISTMAS 1976

CHRISTMAS EVE was a FRIDAY.
We had bacon and fried potato for breakfast which was cooked for the family by my sister Tiggie. Went up to Norwich after taking the dogs out and got filled up with petrol at Austin’s garage on St Catherine’s Plain.  They told us they would be open every day throughout the holiday, although with restricted opening hours. Jimmy Wickham dropped in to 29 Surrey Street to wish us a Merry Christmas. Sister Tig went last-minute Christmas shopping and I got spirits and mixers. We went home via Dunston Common to give the dogs a run and called at the Red Lion in Stoke Holy Cross for a Christmas drink.

For lunch we had soup, ham and Club Biscuits. Then back to Norwich to collect the toaster from the Electricity Board shop in Davey Place, who had it in to mend. On the way home in the afternoon we took the dogs to Whitlingham. My sister wore her new Wellington boots which she had bought this morning. We called in to do one last shop for sugar mice and Christmas crackers. It was then dusk, so home to wrap things up; there was time to read Amateur Gardening magazine as well.

WHITLINGHAM LANE in WINTER

WHITLINGHAM LANE in WINTER

For supper we had a curry followed by apple pie and mince pies. My part in preparing the meal had been to peel the apples. They were our own Bramleys, but we also had a delivery of apples from my other sister Christine in Canada, which arrived in the afternoon. We lit the fire in the front room and watched Are You Being Served and Porridge on the TV.

CHRISTMAS DAY   It started bright with clouds later. Snowed, but it did not lie. For breakfast had Weetabix, ham, toast and marmalade. We had put the turkey in  the oven last night, and it came on automatically in the morning! We took the dogs for a walk up the lane and saw a duck on the pond. Jack Skedge came round with a Christmas card. We went into the front room and had coffee; while Tig went and prepared the veg for Christmas dinner – peas, sweet corn, Brussels sprouts and baked potatoes. We listened to Christmas carols on old 78s. We had hooked up the sound into the living room as well so Tig could hear them too.

After dinner we opened our presents in the front room. I got a couple of books and next year’s diary, two records and a dressing gown. Best of all I got a wide-angle (28mm) lens for my camera. At three we watched the Queen. Then it was time to take the dogs on the 40 minute walk round Spur Lane. Saw lots of other people and dogs walking off their turkey. One man was even running! Mum and Dad were asleep when we got home.

At 5.45 we watched a Russian film about polar bears. For tea we had duck paté and fruit. Dad watched a film on Waterloo which was relevant to him as he had just finished reading a biography of Wellington.

We are enjoying the automatic oven and put the porridge in to be ready for us in the morning. Aunty Olive phoned from Culford, they had their turkey in the evening because Diana (her daughter-in-law) is on night-duty at Bury St Edmunds Hospital. (She was sleeping earlier in the day.)

BOXING DAY

Mum felt too stiff to drive the Daf to Shoteham so we took her and then took the dogs to Smock Mill Common in Saxlingham. Home and put in the new rose, Fragrant Cloud  – a gift from Auntie Olive. We removed the bird bath in preparation for the felling of “The Queen” (the tallest birch tree in the garden). She had got so tall she was becoming dangerous, and we thought we had better have the tree cut down before it fell naturally.

We had a choice of brown ale or sherry before lunch of soup, cold turkey and fruit flan. Took the dogs out and Fido found an ‘IS IT?’ hole. An ‘Is It’ hole differs from a rabbit hole by having been made by one of us with a walking stick. The dogs still finds ‘Is It’ holes very exciting and digs down to look for the ‘Is It?’. They do not apparently recognise the human involvement in the creation of ‘Is It’  holes.

We had some Christmas cake for tea, it was made by Eastaugh’s Bakery of Bungay. We heard the record of Tchaikowsky’s Serenade for Strings followed by Mozart’s 29th symphony. I washed the car and checked the oil and water – a regular task in those days.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR MEMORIES OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE

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One response

  1. This was the first Christmas in my new life at Whitby. I think I spent the morning at the hospital and drove to Cheshire at midday. From then on I associate Christmas with long car journeys. This time 500 miles in 48 hours was very fatiguing – I won’t do it again I think. 1976 I was 40 years younger !
    Fred has had an accident and is still being played in the Show. He fell and the whole of the top bit cracked off – Noel may get the whole thing re polished but would buy your bass if it were still there !

    B.

    Like

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