Advent 14: Silly Jumpers

p1180679
Christmas jumper party at the Southampton Christmas Market © SOL

As children we wore our Christmas sweaters all winter – They were more like the tasteful Nordic ones then only not as good crafting.

bridet-jones-sweater
Scene from Bridget Jones Diary (2001) 
phillip-schofield-and-holly-willoughby
Presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield wearing Christmas jumpers

For anyone that has read or seen the Bridget Jones Diary (2001) movie, they will know that in the UK we wear silly pullovers at Christmas. Knitwear presents are popular and if your aunt has spent the year knitting that embarrassing sweater for you, then the least you can do is wear it to family gatherings over Christmas.

But since that film these jumpers have taken off in a big way. Sixteen years later, we now even import cheap acrylic ones from China. We have a Christmas jumper at work day to raise money for charity and Presenters even wear them on television! There are nights out and pub-crawls where it is compulsory to wear your Christmas jumper.

Here are more photos I took from the Christmas jumper night out at Southampton’s Christmas market – click on to enlarge:

Some of my favourites:

Take a look at these Cheesy Jumpers on WordPress

What do you wear at Christmas?

 

Advent 7: Skating

p1140819
Skating in Salzburg © Southampton Old Lady

p1180637Ice Skating is always associated with Christmas in Britain. Artificial rinks are put up in nearby towns as it is never usually the right temperature, especially where I live in the South, to have natural ones.

The winter of 1962–1963 (also known as the Big Freeze of 1963) was one of the coldest winters on record in the United Kingdom. Temperatures plummeted and lakes and rivers began to freeze over.

I had a pair of second-hand ice-skates given to me for Christmas then. I used to go to the Bannister Ice Rink, near The Common in Southampton with my sister. I remember that the pavements and roads were so iced up that I skated on them all the three miles home to the Newtown area.

Advent 4: Who is Santa Claus?

tony-xmas-grotto-version-2
Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Sanctus Nicolaus, St Nicholas, Papa Noel © Southampton Old Lady

Who is Santa Claus?    A Turkish Pope

Santa (Sanctus Nicolaus); (15 March 270 – 6 December 343)
Santa (Sanctus Nicolaus); (15 March 270 – 6 December 343)

green-father-christma blue-santaWhen the artist Haddon Sundblom, first depicted a red velvety Santa for Coca-Cola® ads in the USA between 1931 and 1965, the world copied the image and the world now pictures him in red. In England we call Santa, Father Christmas – he replaced an old god worshipped during the Winter Solstice – probably The Green Man who lived in an oak tree. So the slimmer Father Christmas used to wear green. Mostly Santus Nicolaus was pictured wearing blue so in The Netherlands it is not unusual to find blue Santas.

 

 

 

Advent 3: Home for Christmas

 

p1090639
Breakfast in bed © Southampton Old Lady

It is a great time to relax when you go home for Christmas. I love spoiling my daughter. However some people have no homes to go to…

Southampton homeless in doorway
It is estimated that 117,000 children will be homeless in the UK this Christmas. London, Manchester and other cities and especially warmer cities in the South also have high numbers of rough sleepers that are difficult to calculate.    Photo of homeless sleeping in the City of Southampton © Southampton Old Lady

It has been very frosty in the UK and weather forecasters are predicting a white Christmas this year, which is no fun for those who have nowhere to go and are sleeping rough. Why not make a gift of a night in a homeless shelter or buy a Christmas dinner for someone homeless this year?

It is estimated that 117,000 children will be homeless in the UK this Christmas

For homeless young people who have run away to London there is Centre Point’s Home For Christmas appeal – click here

In my area the Society of St James organises such for the homeless click here

Or there is Crisis at Christmas click here

There must be many organisations in your area that you can help: A home is where the heart is.

Also in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Relax

 

The Hobbits of my Shire

p1180483Here are the Tribes from which I hail

The Hobbits of my Shire

The re-users, repairers, recyclers

Savers from landfill that fields may flourish

Salts of the earth dwellers

Early birds who catch the worm

p1180477

Out in the cold

Fuelled by hunger to over-indulge

in all things merry

Dancers happy in simplicity

Comedians cut by teachers’ sarcasm

attended no classes –

they’re a class of their own

 

p1180481 The JAM tomorrows who live for today

True to themselves and trusting of none

Proud on their pins –

not scrounging welfare but scavenging bins

Disregarded regarders of the discarded

p1180484Magic menders of pre-loved dreams

Lorries full of broken treasures

Carpenters, seamsters and craft-sellers

musicians, poets and storytellers –

The talented that globalisation never minds

but we will sorely miss

p1180480

p1180476

Inspired by a village auction in the New Forest, Hampshire

November 2016 © Southampton Old Lady

The Shopping Lists Addict

p1170660
Shopping List found at Aldi, Southampton

Bread, milk eggs, meat for stew, steaks, double cream, blue eggs (trendy tinted ones?), cauliflower and/or broccoli, pointed peppers,  bottle of Merlot wine, 5-6 pots of heather (lovingly doodled).

Further to my Confessions of a yellow-sticker shopper (two posts back – or click here) – I have become addicted to a wonderful new blog called The Shopping Lists (click to visit if you dare – you may become addicted too!)

The site records scribbled, shopping lists, mostly those left behind in supermarket trolleys.

The Shopping Lists tries to piece together what these people are like via their eating habits and lifestyles. Comments are encouraged offering answers to clues about the shopper’s circumstance.  What’s the meal and how many are they cooking for?  What age, gender, time of year ? – Is it a party?

I have spent the last few evenings playing detective with every list posted. And before I send in this one – perhaps we can guess that this list is for a posh, romantic dinner at home for two, then a bit of gardening at the weekend. The ‘meat for stew’ has been crossed off – so perhaps at the last minute they have been informed that they will be on their own for the weekend and suddenly changed the menu?

You can also submit your own found shopping list by tweeting to @tshoppinglists or send an email to thelistcollector@gmail.com.

 

Confessions of a Yellow Sticker Shopper

p1170542
Sweet and Crunchy Stir Fry tonight, reduced from £1.27 to just 9 pence. © Southampton Old Lady
p1170544
Supermarket own brand essentials are cheap. Many products these days taste almost as good and sometimes even better than high-brand labelled foods.

I am a yellow sticker shopper. I haven’t always been. I have been almost rich; I have been almost poor. When I am on a limited budget, I become a strict Budgetarian, surviving on very little money, but eating quite well on a mixture of in-season vegetables and supermarket brand basics, coupled with reduced-price meal packs with yellow stickers because they are at the sell-by or best-before date.

When I was a student, I worked as a waitress for Southampton’s Top Rank Bannister Ballroom in the evenings which included a free burger each shift and weekly cinema tickets.

My College provided cheap lunches during the week; On Saturdays, I would take it turns with five other students to cook a meal for all six of us. I would always look for these yellow-stickerred food packs on the day to decide what we were having and shop late at the vegetable market (Kingsland Square), buying bruised fruit and veg. The menu each weekend was interesting.

p1170541
Chicken, chargrilled peppers with Moroccan Style Cous Cous. A healthy take-away Snack Pot reduced from £1.60 to 15 pence. And you don’t even need to do the washing up after.

 

One pot stews and curries were common because they were easy, and anything could be put it them. There was an Italian student who cooked delicious pasta sauces, and once someone made a pie using a tin of dog food (Pedigree Chum) as the filling – which was awful – but I could taste the beneficial added vitamins!

Those were very happy, memorable times and very different to today whereby students seem to live on expensive take-aways delivered to the door.

I hope that with these days of student loans, I can offer this article as advice – “Throw away those pizza delivery leaflets, that bombard your letter-boxes, immediately”.

Once I had a full-time job, I ate whatever I wanted and ate out at restaurants quite often, sometimes three times a week.

p1170627

A year after my chemo I went back to work, but after a year or two, chemo brain (which is slang for a cognitive problem following certain types of Cancer and its treatment) came knocking and I was forced to give up working. So I currently have no income. My husband is paying off a £12,000 debt due to a mistake made by the DWP (pensions department) in 2007. So we are currently back to living a thrifty lifestyle.

p1170628
My husband often makes our own bread, but we often take advantage of reduced priced bread when we need extra.
p1160395
One pint of beer each at The Cowherds pub on Southampton Common – a treat not taken for granted.

We are back to yellow stickers, shopping coupons and free entertainments other than television. By free entertainments, I mean free festivals and walks – local seniors were allowed in free to Southampton Boat Show.  So we went to that last week.

Because we are careful, we are able to treat ourselves to little luxuries, such one pint of beer in a pub or perhaps a discount meal at a restaurant once a month.

My husband was brought up on war rationing, which was really difficult, so he learned many budget cooking skills and how to grow our own vegetables.

Do you have any food shopping confessions?