Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas gamble

My favourite Christmas fairy

Every year, the same question looms over thoughts of Christmas – where to be? In Ireland, on the Isle of Man, up north, at a sister or brother’s house, or at home – with whoever comes our way.

The gamble is – will we get there? Snow… strikes… the rough old Irish Sea… Or will they get here?

I just had a feeling about the weather earlier this year, and the disruption it would cause – so I opted to avoid travelling.

So far two sisters have been turned away from crossing to Ireland – flights cancelled, then cancelled again. Over to you bro, see if you can make it.

Their knock backs make my choice to stay put seem prescient. To not spend Christmas in Belfast isn’t ideal. But I’m happy to skip interminable sojourns in soulless airports.

And the tally of those coming here is looking good. Two collected from their flight. Altogether five arrived and fed. Two en route – allegedly. They should get here before Santa (according to the latest Norad coordinates).

The food is in. The barrel is cracked open.

Which means it’s time for me to wish you all a Happy Christmas (and a mellow new year – in case things get so out of hand I’m incommunicado till then) and thank you for your support and interest over the past year. Thank you.

Here are some seasonal goodies for you:

30 Christmas songs in 60 seconds:

The nativity told via social networking:

The perils of going over the top with nativity play authenticity. Just stick to tea towels and dressing gown, alright? No need to get carried away. I mean, a real camel? Sheesh.

By the time you read this, you may be sick of Christmas songs. Even – sharp intake of breath – my favourite, A Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and the late Kirsty MacColl. So here’s one you may not know – Elvis Costello and the Chieftans – St Stephen’s Day Murders. (St Stephen, you know, the fella with the Green in Dublin… ach, alright – better known as Boxing Day.)

I knew of two sisters whose name it was Christmas,
And one was named Dawn of course, the other one was named Eve.
I wonder if they grew up hating the season,
The good will that lasts til the Feast of St. Stephen

And here’s the song. (He does look a bit like an elf or Christmas troll.)

Happy Christmas.


Filed under life

The biggest snowball in the world, ever.

She's contemplating the snow, he's admiring my taste in music. (Anyone know the artist?)

The snow began as I wandered along and around Portobello Road, past stalls selling printers type, old maps, bananas, crepes or cheese or “antique” candlesticks.

I was chewing the fat with the bloke who sells world music as we listened to The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia in 1970s Nigeria. Continue reading


Filed under In the village, life

How to come back from being burned at the stake

This isn’t about the furious row, nor the racism (real or imagined) that preceded it, nor the burning at the stake that followed it. It’s about the unexpected good thing that happened next. Continue reading


Filed under language, politics