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Showing posts from December, 2017

23rd December 2017

Nearly there! If you haven't done the shopping by now the queues at Waitrose will be all the round the car park. Today we're just chilling out with parties and the Last Jedi to look forward to. Here's a round-up of all the Christmas pics we haven't managed to fit in any other day. With the Crib Service coming up our church had a display of lots of different nativities people had lent. The Jellybean Jam Jar Nativity: and a stone nativity: It's not enough to have soup for cats and a chiller cabinet int he pet aisle. Now you have to buy: And finally, this is the church just an hour before the school Carol Concert. I think it shows just what a special thing it is to have to wait ... knowing that the joy is just around the corner. Advent's nearly over!

22nd December 2017

A trio of seasonal videos for your final Festive Friday! While Adam may turn his nose up at Pentatonix, they have a certain compelling quality, if only to work out who they are lookalikes for. There's Ryan Gosling, Katie Melua, Mickey from Dr Who, that Nordic baddy out of Die Hard, and Will from the Inbetweeners. Here they are singing three songs to get you in the Christmas mood. All together now ... bum bum ba ba aaaaaaah...

24th December 2017

We've made it! Another year, another Advent Calendar over. We hope you have enjoyed the pictures, stories and videos and have a wonderful Christmas yourself. This year we have a competition (NOW CLOSED) to win a very special Christmas tree surprise! All you have to do is work out what colour shirt Adam is wearing in the picture below. The catch is it was taken at the National Gallery 'Monochrome' exhibition in a room containing only yellow light ! With a merry Christmas from both of us!

21st December 2017

As well as today being the last day of term, it's also a chance for us to see one of our favourite films on the big screen. The BFI Southbank is showing A Matter Of Life And Death, by Powell and Pressburger. It's a beautiful and sentimental, but also comic, film about an airman who cheats death and may or may not be hallucinating a heavenly messenger tasked with taking him to the afterlife. So many of the actors are amazing, but my favourite is Roger Livesey as Dr Reeves, who rides a fast bike and tests David Niven's hallucinations. Do try and watch this film if you can.

20th December 2017

We were amused to see this photo on Twitter from Adam's old stamping ground, Jesmond Parish Church: (Thanks to Damien Hall at Newcastle Uni for the photo) He posted it because of the small asterisked note on the right, "Crèche at 4pm and 5pm services". In British English (BrE) we would understand that to mean a room for babies and children so they don't disturb the main service. But in American English (AmE) it literally means "a crib", or a representation of the Nativity scene. So every church ( or cathedral ) with a Nativity scene automatically has a crèche! We follow Lynne Murphy and her blog Separated by A Common Language , which is great for this sort of thing. In particular: AmE daycare center = BrE crèche AmE crèche = BrE crib AmE crib = BrE cot AmE cot = BrE camp-bed

18th December 2017

Nadolig Llawn to all of our Welsh friends! We have enjoyed a few trips to Wales recently and love the language (even if we can't pronounce it). Here are a few of our favourite signs:

19th December 2017

We've been waiting patiently for the annual video from the Swedish Royal family, because it'll show us the latest from Princess Estelle and her tiny brother Prince Oscar. Here they are being typically Swedish again. So sweet! And if your heart can bear to be warmed even more, here are all the great previous ones: 2016: 2015: 2014: 2013:

17th December 2017

Today we combine two of our favourite Advent Calendar themes, nativity and knitted things. From Bristol, here's a LIFE SIZE knitted nativity, or "Knitivity" if you will. The knitters all worked at the same primary school and made this to raise money for charity in memory of a friend. We also saw this lovely tea cosy at our friend Penny's house yesterday. Knit-tastic! Bonus beats! Here's a knitted tree dec we hadn't seen before, courtesy of our friend Gill. Don't blink!

16th December 2017

It's the season of Christmas Parties! Adam has had 2 and Sarah gets a total of 4 - her team, her division, her function and the whole of Head Office! It's so good to relax with colleagues, though in school we don't have a drinks trolley come round at 3pm...

14th December 2017

If you still haven't picked out what you are wearing for your Christmas lunch, and you think a onesie is a bit too casual ... you could get matching suits for your family!

15th December 2017

Friday beats, and here's a classic supergroup of the 80s - with members from New Order, The Smiths AND Pet Shop Boys. This was the first cassette single (or 'cassingle') I ever bought. An amazing track.

12th December 2017

Woking seemed to be the only place for miles around that didn't get any snow. So to cheer us up, here's a picture from 2010 of a Woking snowman. He's so happy sitting on the wall!

11th December 2017

Sorry this one is late. Old friends of the Advent Calendar know there's always one Monday morning that doesn't make it! We have done all our CHristmas shopping, but were a bit stuck on what to buy Sarah's dad John. We know he loves Suduko, but they can get a bit samey, so imagine our delight when we found a new version in the pages of Viz. We hope it'll keep him entertained!

13th December 2017

December 13th is the feast of St Lucy, or Santa Lucia as she is known in Europe. Her story involves her bringing light to the people hiding in the Roman catacombs, and especially in Scandinavia, she represents light in the long dark winters. A procession of maidens wearing wreaths with candles in proceeds through the church while the Santa Lucia song is sung. At our Christmas Party last year our friend Tim won the Santa quiz so had the prize of dressing up in a Santa Lucia costume. What a good sport!

10th December 2017

In an time of creeping secularisation, we mustn't forget the traditions of yesteryear. For example, I am shocked that Marks & Spencers no longer call these "Christmas Whips". Who can forget in the 1970s our parents hiding Christmas Whips all round the garden on the Second Sunday in Advent and then we had to go and hunt for them in the snow? No, of course not, just a bit of nonsense! Seeing this little fella on our shopping trip yesterday was a bit more nostalgic...

9th December 2017

Last night we made the mistake of watching For Your Eyes Only, possibly the worst Bond film ever. Apart from a stellar cheesy theme song, everything about the film is unlikeable. And Roger Moore is old, creepy, and definitely should have been moving on to his post-Bond "ironic guest star" phase by then. Which just goes to show that this piano book's title isn't necessarily true ... Another person who didn't find the role easy to play was Adam's favourite Bond, George Lazenby. Australian by birth, his performance in "On His Majesty's Secret Service" divided fans, and he never starred in a Hollywood movie again. After filming he said, "Bond is a brute ... I've already put him behind me. I will never play him again. Peace – that's the message now." Here's a fan art drawing of Lazenby by Jeff York, who has drawn all the Bonds at

8th December 2017

Hope this gives you a Friday feeling. "Merry Christmas ... I wrapped it up and sent it." And bonus beats, here's JB from JLS wishing you a Merry Christmas:

7th December 2017

Our neighbours seem to be getting caught up in one of those "Deck The Halls" competitions starring Matthew Broderick and Danny de Vito, trying to out-do each other with garish Christmas lights covering their houses. They pale into obscurity, however next to Tate Britain. The art gallery in London is embellishing its façade with a garish display of Christmas lights,  including a selection of LED Santas, reindeer, snowmen and Christmas trees, along with ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Santa Stop Here’ signs. The artist Alan Kane calls it "Home for Christmas" and it is instead of the Tate's usual Christmas tree. The neo-classical frontage of the building was designed by the architect Sidney RJ Smith 120 years ago, and has never looked better!

6th December 2017

You've had to put up with 2 photos of Adam so far, so here's one of Sarah holding her advent calendar - every day has a proper sized sweet, and there are 4 bags of M&Ms! So much better than those Malteser advent calendars that don't have any Maltesers in.

5th December 2017

Welcome back to Lou, an old friend of the Advent Calendar, who is today sharing one of her crafty crafts: " Ta da! Made by my own fair hand IN THE RAIN this afternoon. It’s not terribly artistic but hey, it was free! What they don’t mention in Country Living magazine is that you will impale yourself on brambles when you’re collecting bits of fir tree from the driveway which you share with your celebrity neighbour, and that you will spend 20 minutes trying to quietly extricate yourself." Lou has a gorgeous house in South Wales and all her decor is the creme de la creme. Thanks for sharing!

4th December 2017

This year was an exciting one at the Finnish Christmas Fair in London. It's 100 years since Finland gained independence and there are lots of celebrations. You could buy Finland-shaped cookie cutters that said "100", and special edition sweets (mainly liquorice, a Finnish favourite). It was also a great chance to meet a genuine Moomin, and buy some Doris biscuits. Bonus Advent Calendar of the day: For those of you who love The Box Of Delights, the Bodleian Library has devoted their calendar this year to a whole range of eclectic items linked with the book and series:

3rd December 2017

Advent begins properly today, and of course at church we will have the Advent Crown, the Christingle service, and some classic Advent Hymns. One of the big themes of Advent is light coming into the darkness, whether we can show this by putting a candle in an orange or in a wreath of holly and pine. For our friend Mike, here's over 3 hours of the best Advent music ever:

2nd December 2017

Great response to yesterday's post. That's one in the eye for those who say that Advent Calendars are going out of fashion and their days are numbered. (B'dum-tish!) Sorry for the vanity post today but this amazing jumper was sent to me by my dear Dad and it even has an openable window for 24th so you'll have to wait and see what's behind it! Bonus beats: here are some great Maths Advent Calendars you can try... Nrich Primary: Nrich Secondary: Nrich Plus: M Scroggs:

1st December 2017

Welcome to this year's Advent Calendar! It's lovely that so many people have been looking forward to it, and we welcome all new visitors. Each day is just a little something to get us all in the Christmas mood. We love to share your ideas too, so do send them to us at On Fridays we always have a music video, in the hope you'll open this in the office or the home, and crank up the volume, and get everyone around you feeling Christmassy. As well as doing a one-man version of In Dulci Jubilo, Mike Oldfield also covered the ABBA instrumental Arrival, and since this is day one and we're nearly in the actual season of Advent, it seems a good place to start!