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Showing posts from December, 2023

23rd December 2023

Nearly there! Here are some Christmassy songs for you. First up, it's tiny Irish popstrels B*Witched with "To You I Belong" The b-side was a novelty Christmas track called "B*Witched's Letter To Santa" The other band who did a fun Christmas b-side for their fans was the Spice Girls, who recorded "Sleigh Ride" with lots of extra "in character" chat

24th December 2023

We hope that wherever you are for Christmas, and whoever you might be spending it with, that you have a wonderful time full of surprises and good food. If you are on Twitter/X, don't forget to check out the hashtags #DuvetKnowItsChristmas to see photos of guest rooms that only ever surface in the holiday season, and #XmasAtTheInlaws for fun photos of our Christmas in Horsham. Here are some photos of what we wish Horsham looked like - maybe one day we'll have a snowy Christmas in the south! Happy Christmas and a blessed New Year! Adam & Sarah

22nd December 2023

For the last 11 years of the Advent Calendar, we have celebrated with the Swedish Royal Family, watching Princess Estelle (and more recently her brother Prince Oscar) growing up. The children of Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel, they are always photogenic and make marvellous Christmas videos.    They also dressed up for Lucia, a Swedish festival of lights. Estelle is now 11 and Oscar is 7. God Jul!

21st December 2023

Back up to date at last! Today we are looking at celebrations around the world. Lots of places have midwinter carnivals, and since today is the shortest day, when better to celebrate! It's going to get (gradually) sunnier from now on! Jason Gardner travelled across Europe, photographing dancing animals, pagan figures, and folkloric monsters. In the Austrial Tyrol, Winter is represented by a white bear. When he lies down and rolls over in the town square, it means that Spring is on its way.

20th December 2023

More tree decorations today, and the range of furry figures that you can get is unprecedented. Here are our favourite three: the Hippy Dog the Suffragette the Arnolfini Marriage The last of those based of course on the well-known Renaissance portrait of Santa and Mrs Claus:

19th December 2023

All this week and next week are the Christmas specials of University Challenge. Even though Jeremy Paxman has retired from the job, we are still faitfully watching Amol Rajan and his giant TV screen every week. For Christmas though, they have celebrities (or at least grown-up academics) and Amol's TV screen is much smaller. Sadly some of the Christmas traditions have gone - one year there was a little toy train going round a snowglobe in the middle of the studio. And the photos of the adults when they were tiny students have also been scrapped. We're missing Paxo, as he was the ultimate quizmaster, and yet wasn't averse to a bit of seasonal tomfoolery. Who can forget his untrendy Christmas jumper? Or the time he asked a question about Widow Twankey in full panto dame regalia?

18th December 2023

You'll be able to tell that Adam's school is one of the ones that are still going this week, as all the posts will be up late. Sorry! After yesterday's heartwarming trees, here are some more stories about Christmas windows. Of course you know all about the Fenwick window in Newcastle, a long tradition of entertaining Geordies, and this year they unveiled a series of Narnia windows: The other great thing about the window is that Greggs, who are on the other side of Northumberland Street, reverse their name above the shop, so it looks the right way round when you are looking in the Fenwick window. In Toronto, where we have holidaying plans, they also have a long tradition of Christmas windows. Simpsons and Eatons, two of the largest stores, have had windows dating back to the 1920s. Below, Simpsons 1920, and Eatons 1958. You can read more at: Finally, one village has had the enterprising idea o

17th December 2023

You probably need a palate cleanser after yesterday's political Christmas cards, so here are a few heartwarming stories about Christmas trees. 1) from 1969 in the Daily Mirror: 2) the country's possibly oldest Christmas tree from 1920 has just sold for £3,400 when it originally cost 6d. It belonged to Dorothy Grant who was 8 when it was bought, and lived with it to the age of 101. 3) A couple who planted a Christmas tree in their garden now need a cherry-picker to reach its highest branches. Planted in 1978, it's now 15 metres tall, and raises money for charity with an official Christmas lights switch-on. Avril and Chris Rowlands, of Inkberrow, started with just 6 lights, but now have more than 1000.

16th December 2023

We hope you have now received enough Christmas cards to make it worthwhile hanging up the card holder or stringing some seasonal clips across the lounge ready to display your haul (to be honest, we never took it down last year). With postal prices rising, some people are no longer sending cards, and those Charity Card displays in church halls have moved online, sadly. Looking at the cards we have, it seems that glitter has survived its supposed EU ban (thanks Terry for including bonus glitter in the envelope), and robins and country cottages are popular themes this year. No doubles yet! In the news we have seen pictures of politicians/celebrity Christmas cards: and for balance, from 2022: Here's a comic song about getting Christmas cards, from Cantabile. We sang this at our school Carol Concert this year!

14th December 2023

You've already seen some decorations by her friend, but now here's the main attraction. Lou and Joe who live in Cardiff, long-time buddies and Jon Ronson fans, have THE most vintage gorgeous 1950s Morecambe Bay flat cap gin bottle super house ever. And at Christmas it gets even better. Lou writes: "We bought the ‘The Drunk Parson and his Clerk’ at the weekend from a junk shop in Ingleton for £5" and look how Christmassy the whole affair is.

15th December 2023

Normally around this time of year we all enjoy the schadenfreude of people who paid £20 a head to visit a "Santa Wonderland", usually near Lymington, only to find muddy tracks, sparse strings of fairy lights in a tree, and a drunk Santa in his grotto that's really a shed. The best (or worst) of these was back in 2008, when "Lapland New Forest" so outraged punters that the owners were jailed for 13 months ( ). Charlie Brooker wrote lovingly about this (contains swears from the outset): Even when the event is big and successful, the papers can't help having a pop. Just look at "Winter Wonderland", the annual big-ticket event in Hyde Park. Daily Mail 2022: "Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is slammed for its 'rip-off' prices - including £8 for candyfloss and £7 for a potato on a STICK" Daily Mail 2023: &quo

13th December 2023

Comedy cake day - we were out and about and spotted one of those shops that makes bespoke cakes for children. We were particularly drawn to these as they had managed to create characters that looked almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the characters they were meant to be.* So here's the quiz: who do you think these cakes are meant to be? And a genuine prize for the first person to tell me who the "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike" is a quote from. I'll give you a clue - it was about TEA.

12th December 2023

Apologies for delays in getting these uploaded - school doesn't finish until 21st December so it's all hands on deck at the minute. Today we are thinking about pantomimes. Oh yes we are! The most unlikely panto star popped up in the news this week. At the Bristol Hippodrome, we have the unlikely pairing of David Suchet, star of Poirot and Bible-narrator beloved by Christians everywhere, and Faye Tozer, from Steps. Unrecognisable as Captain Hook, in JM Barrie's Peter Pan, Suchet looks like he is having a lot of fun. And possibly cosplaying Windsor Davies (ask your Dad).

11th December 2023

We often save videos for Fridays, but this one was so good we had to post it today. Sent by our goddaughter (and FRIEND) this is the Grace Point Baptist Church with a Nativity song like no other. Enjoy!

10th December 2023

Sunday afternoons in December are perfect for watching Hallmark Christmas movies. Next Sunday we'll tell you all about "The Christmas Exchange", one of the best in the genre. But today we celebrate Lacey Chabert, long-time friend of the advent calendar, who has appeared in so many Christmas movies, there's a montage of "If you enjoyed this, you might like..." on the Hallmark page: Yes, that is Mariah Carey co-starring in "A Christmas Melody". Yes, that is Cliff Clavin from Cheers in "Matchmaker Santa". Yes, she does marry a Prince from the European country of Cordinia in "A Royal Christmas". But her greatest moment is as a fledgling tour guide helping an American man to find business success (and love!!) in "Christmas In Rome". And if you recognise Sam Page from somewhere, you have probably been rewatching House of Cards, where he briefly plays Francis Underwood's press secretary. Bonus 2023 trivia: Chabert's n

9th December 2023

It's here! In all the shops in town you would see empty containers like this: But we have an in with our local newsagent, and they had only just arrived this morning! So the very first people in Old Woking to have in their hands ... So now Christmas is really here and we can start to plan our viewing with the Sharpie pen in hand. Adam is looking forward to the new version of The Famous Five, which could be this year's Worzel Gummidge or The Box Of Delights. What are you looking forward to in Christmas telly? Addendum: Don't forget to buy a really stylish faux-leather cover for your Christmas Radio Times. It's almost as good as the burgundy National Record of Achievement folders that teens were given in the 1990s to store their GCSE certificates in.

8th December 2023

Today is an exciting day as Adam is running a Super-Curricular Day for Year 13 students. As well as Rob Eastaway, author of Maths For Mums And Dads (very popular with some of our child-rearing friends) and Maths On The Back Of An Envelope, there are careers talks and a Team Maths Challenge. There are some lovely mathsy gifts out there for you to buy your nerdy friends, this one is available on Etsy, it's a Maths cross-stitch melange: Also part of the day is a quiz based around Elf On A Shelf, but with Maths! Can you guess this one?

7th December 2023

Some wacky must-have presents today: For the condiment lover in your life, a pair of Zara Home candles: And for the music lover/drinker in your family, Gary Barlow wine:

6th December 2023

We have so many creative and decorative friends. Lou in Wales is one of them, and she shared a picture of a wreath by her friend Beth that it themed around Bletchley Park. I've posted it as big as I can, but you should see some punched-hole tape, some Made In Britain ribbon, and even a little Enigma machine. Marvellous!  

5th December 2023

Every so often you come across a Christmas tree ornament that defies belief. This one from Louisa, who says she got it over 20 years ago from a great-aunt who was a nun. Do let us know about any terrible decorations you have but are forced to display because of nuns or whatever.