The Gathering

Southampton students on a themed party night out. © Southampton Old Lady
Southampton students on a themed party night out. © Southampton Old Lady
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun in my neighbourhood © Southampton Old Lady

Photo challenge: The Gathering https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/gathering/

You may be forgiven for thinking that these young people are out celebrating New Year’s Eve. Well, It is almost the opposite. Let me explain:

Southampton has a population of nearly 245,000. Of those 43,000 are higher education students (students 18 years-old and over, attending universities and colleges  – coincidentally, 18 is the legal age to drink alcohol in Britain). Seniors over the age of 65 years make up a mere 13% of the population. Southampton is a transient and vibrant city that caters well for young people.

I happen to live in a neighbourhood, favoured by students, who pass by my home, every night, seven days a week. If the weather is mild, they just gather outside and gossip until the early hours of the morning. It is often difficult to get a night’s rest. But I can hardly complain, because this is exactly what I did when I was a student, many, many years ago.

However, over the holidays, most of the students return to stay with their parents. Then the number of people in my area decreases, leaving mainly working residents.

Christmas can be a very quiet time and on New Year’s Eve people say it is boring – there is hardly a whisper.

Just sleep     … in heavenly peace…

Feliz fin de año

 

 

Hampshire Christmas Shopping

“The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick-maker…”

Christmas photos taken while shopping around Hampshire. I went to Ringwood in the New Forest (this is where my mother always shopped) and to Portswood in Southampton for most of my shop this year. I hate crowds and much prefer smaller places. The Victory Gospel Choir sang Carols with a live nativity scene in Portswood, but unfortunately I just caught the tale end of it (Oh! Dear – too many corny Christmas crackers!)

All the supermarkets reduced their Christmas food prices early this year, I bought mince pies (12 for 75p) so never bothered to make any of my own, cheese and vegetables with 30 – 70% off!  Excellent Brussels sprouts 29p for 1/2 a kilo.

Little donkey cast in the live nativity scene in Portswood, Southampton, Hampshire
Little donkey cast in the live nativity scene in Portswood, Southampton, Hampshire
Farm animals used in a live nativity scene by the Victory Gospel Choir in Portswood, Southampton.
Farm animals used in a live nativity scene by the Victory Gospel Choir in Portswood, Southampton.
Due to the mild temperatures this year, daffodils (associated with Spring) were being sold at the same time as Christmas Trees.
Due to the mild temperatures this year, daffodils (associated with Spring) were being sold at the same time as Christmas Trees in Portswood.
Pattersons Butcher's in Ringwood, Hampshire had orders for 375 turkeys and 325 turkey crowns when I popped in just before Christmas.
Pattersons the Butcher in Ringwood, had orders for 375 turkeys and 325 turkey crowns.
Mike Patterson the butcher. Pattersons has been in Ringwood for many generations and still considered one of the best butcher shops in Hampshire.
Mike Patterson the butcher. Pattersons has been in Ringwood for many generations and is still considered one of the best butcher shops in Hampshire.

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Patterson's Butchers', decorated for Christmas.
Patterson’s Butchers back room, decorated for Christmas.
Christmas fayre in the window of Reeves the Baker, Ringwood, Hampshire
Christmas fayre in the window of Reeve the Baker, Ringwood, Hampshire
Christmas biscuits at Reeves the Baker, Ringwood, Hampshire
Christmas biscuits at Reeve the Baker, Ringwood, Hampshire

 

Christmas lights on HMS Warrior, Portsmouth, Hampshire.
Christmas lights on HMS Warrior, Portsmouth, Hampshire.

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Dinner now eaten, presents opened, television on, feet up. Merry Christmas!

Southampton’s Christmas Festival

A few snaps taken at Southampton’s Christmas Festival. This year our Council hosted a big German Christmas market from a new company that Sponsored the Festival in the city’s centre.

Santa flies above the German Christmas market in Southampton
Santa flies above the German Christmas market in Southampton
Santa heads for Southampton Bargate on his sleigh
Santa heads for Southampton Bargate on his sleigh. “We march on” is our football team’s banner
Santa's sleigh pulled by reindeer heading for Southampton Bargate
Santa’s sleigh pulled by reindeer heading for Southampton Bargate

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German Christmas market stall in Southampton High Street.
German Christmas market stalls in Southampton High Street.

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Smoking salmon at the German Christmas Market, Southampton
Smoking salmon at the German Christmas Market, Southampton

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Broken-legged Bambi

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After seeing Walt Disney’s Bambi as a child, I spotted the Babycham deer behind the bar while at a working man’s club (not many clubs around like this these days, but they were open for the whole family at weekends). This Babycham deer jumped around on our black & white television sets to advertise its champagne perry just before Christmas. When Santa asked me what I wanted for Christmas – that was it. I never got one, though I did get lots of things, and will always remember the disappointment.

When our youngest daughter was a mere toddler, she saw a sparkly deer ornament on a Christmas tree at a theatre fundraising fete. Her eyes lit up and she pointed to it. The lady-in-charge picked it off the tree and gave it to her. I was filled with so much happiness living the excitement vicariously through her. She thought it was the best thing she had ever owned in the world and it took pride of place on our tree.

Through the years it has had a lot of handling, lots of moving house and drops on the floor. Consequently a leg broke off, as well as its feet. We had to stick it together a few times too and it has lost much of its sparkle, but it still favoured over other more elaborate ornaments.

My daughter showed her disappointed this year, when I informed her that our Christmas tree had grown too big to bring indoors. Then I found a small artificial tree in the loft and decorated it up in her old room where she is staying.

“Broken-legged Bambi!” She exclaimed with excitement. Then suddenly: It was Christmas.

Do any of you have any favourite ornaments that you look forward to seeing at Christmas?  If  you post them please send me a link to the photo. I would love to see them.

pingback (I think it is anyway) https://southamptonoldlady.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/broken-legged-bambi/

 

Victorian Festival of Christmas 2015

Oliver characters: Mrs Bedwin, Bill Sykes with his dog Bullseye and Nancy.
Oliver characters: Mrs Bedwin, Bill Sykes with his dog Bullseye and Nancy.

I took part in The Victorian Festival of Christmas at Portsmouth’s Historical Dockyard this year. If you have ever wandered why so many British actors get the best parts in Hollywood movies, then perhaps take a look at this year’s festival slide show on YouTube (by photographer Steve Spurgin)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mPDpbDtbO8

Most chimney sweeps were children.
Most chimney sweeps were children.
The prostitutes
The prostitutes
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Mr Darcy, Florence Nightingale, Prince George, Lady Pennywhistle.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Mr Darcy, Florence Nightingale, Prince George, Lady Pennywhistle.
Queen Victoria with John Brown
Queen Victoria with John Brown

With very little rehearsal, over 400 volunteers dressed in Victorian costume to bring this attraction to life, for thousands of tourists from all over the globe.

In the UK, we live and breath theatre from an early age, starting with making costumes to take part in the school’s nativity play. History is now taught by people dressing up and re-enacting the period they are learning about, be it Romans or WWII. To learn Shakespeare for exams we do not just read the play, we act it. More people belong to amateur drama groups in Britain than sports societies.

Portsmouth is the birthplace of Charles Dickens. The Historical Dockyard is where centuries-old ships, such as Nelson’s Flagship The Victory, HMS Warrior and The Mary Rose etc are moored.

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The dry dock is also where parts of Les Miserables was filmed. So all these scenes were brought to life by costumed actors, singers, school groups, historical and Victorian interest societies such as steam-punks or the Victorian Strollers.People from 5 to 80 years-of-age played famous Victorian or Dickensian characters for three full days and with very little breaks. It was in the open air while the tale-end of Hurricane Desmond was blowing a gale and in addition there were a few down-pours.

Suffragettes
Suffragettes

First visitors are greeted by carollers, then those in Victorian Uniforms, dockyard workers, stilt-walking-police, postal clerks, servicemen, sailors. Then by beggars, prostitutes and suffragettes – undertakers, a ruthless judge in a courtroom setting, prisoners, gliding angels, pearly kings & queens singing cockney musical hall ditties, workhouse children being enticed to steal by Fagin and the Artful Dodger, chimney sweeps, a green-gowned Father Christmas. There were snow machines, carousels, a Downton-Abbey type dinner table set with turkey and trimmings, various stage sets. There were three a pubs – one mock, one real with bands singing sea shanties and even an inflatable one. There was a market selling Christmas crafts and fayre from mulled cider to hog roasts.

Victorian Dinner Party
Victorian Dinner Party

I was part of Groundlings Theatre that organised around 200 of us. I played an aristocratic snob preaching Victorian manners. “It is the height of rudeness to have one’s elbows on the table.”  At the end of each sketch, Charles the Butler pushes a custard pie in my face. I endured around 40 of those!

Police with penny farthing bicycles.
Police with penny farthing bicycles.
Children learn about Victorian history by dressing up
Children learn about Victorian history by dressing up

The finale each year is a parade lead by a full pipe band in kilts and bear-skins and headed by Queen Victoria. We were not allowed to carry phones and cameras, so I could only took a few snap-shots in the Green Room. Most of these photos are from Portsmouth News.

Father Christmas at the helm.
Father Christmas at the helm.

For more info about Portsmouth Historical Dockyard visit: www.historicdockyard.co.uk

Photo Challenge: Oops!

Tightrope walking on Southampton Common 2
Tightrope walking on Southampton Common 2
Tightrope walking on Southampton Common
Tightrope walking on Southampton Common

The Common is a semi-wild green space in the middle of the City of Southampton. It was once used by anyone wanting to graze their farm-stock. Today it is used for all sorts of sport and leisure practice, picnics, festivals, cycling, model-boat sailing, orienteering etc. A group of young people were practicing the art of tightrope walking and doing quite well, when I took these photos.

In response to this weeks wordpress photo challege: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/oops/

CCTV & Phoenician Eye

Weekly photo challenge: eye-spy

2 for 1:

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Firstly: A winking ‘Smiley’ sign to let people know that they are being watched by close circuit television, and not to get up to mischief on Bognor Regis beach in England, UK

Phoenician eye

Secondly: A large sailing dinghy in Southampton, England. Still popular, especially in Europe, a Phoenician Eye on each side of the bow of a boat is believed to ensure safe guidance through the seas. The Phoenicians were the first that we know of to use eye symbols in this way. It was later adapted by the Egyptians who named it the Eye of Horus.

If you would like to take part the link is here: <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/eye-spy/”>Eye Spy</a>