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?

 

Advertisements

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

Fun Arcade

When I saw these vintage penny arcade machines at Portsmouth’s  Historical Dockyard, it brought back so many happy childhood memories of going to the Southsea funfair with my parents. I loved the puppets so much and could remember exactly what would happen before I put my coin in. I am so happy to find that they still exist in a museum.

In response to the Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge: Fun

P1160820
A coin in this machine has this “Laughing Sailor” belly-laughing so infectiously that the most grumpy person ends up chuckling to it.
P1160821
The machine reveals funny things that happen to “The Drunkard” (from erotic to nightmarish) in  his dream as he crashes out in the beer cellar
P1160818
Ghosts galore in “The Haunted Churchyard”
P1160819
An art nuevo machine with crane to attempt to catch sweets.
P1160817
“The Burglar” finds himself distracted by the fire cracking, the radio pipping, the victim snoring while he tries hard to listen to the clicks of the dial of the safe.

Summer Splash

P1150720

For two days an otherwise Cool Britannia has been basking in a Mediterranean heatwave.

Normality has stopped while bodies, the colour of uncooked pastry, have headed to the water’s edge to sacrifice themselves to the Sun. Baking and blistering in a desperate attempt to change colour.

DSCF0116
Breathing underwater © Southampton Old Lady

Happy Easter

chocolate factory in Austria © 2016 Southampton Old Lady
chocolate factory in Austria © 2016 Southampton Old Lady

Most Brits are such Pagans at heart. We look forward to our spring holiday. To us Easter is all about chocolate eggs, symbolising fertility. Birthing and the spring equinox, with images of lambs, chicks and rabbits. It has been a happy occasion since it was brought to us by the Germanic peoples and their worship of the Goddess Ēastre.

It was the same when I lived in Cyprus. Painted eggs decorated by children and happy picnics with lamb kleftiko and freshly baked flounes.

Flounes from a hot clay oven in Cyprus.
Flounes from a hot clay oven in Cyprus.

When I lived to Portugal though, I thought I was being clever when I said: “Feliz Pascoa” to some Portuguese friends. They were shocked!  I had said Happy Easter okay, but to most people in Roman Catholic Europe, Easter is certainly not a happy time.

“Our Lord died this day – what is happy about it?”  I was taken along to mass with a long dirge of a procession and realised that this was more like our Remembrance Sunday.

When I moved to Andalusia in Spain, it was even more sad, with religious brotherhoods in tall peak hoods carrying heavy statues of Christ in agony on the cross (this is where the Klux Klan got the idea for their brotherhood).

Spanish tourism photo
Spanish tourism photo

I follow a wordpress blog called “Wandering Wives”. The two British women explained that they went to a Remembrance Day service in a small French village and it was a happy occasion there – it was in honour of the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and that meant “Liberation!”

So it occurred to me, that there are certain times of the year, usually around equinox and solstices where we all get spiritual – sometimes in celebration and sometimes in commemoration, but that these vary according to climate, country and culture.

So Peace to all – and may your god or goddess go with you

Address to a Haggis – Robert Burns

P1150418I love Burns’ Nights – I have no Scottish ancestry whatsoever, but love the poet Robert Burns (since studying him for my ‘O’ level English Literature) – and the whole festive evening with toasts and Scottish country dancing in kilts. We also go to St Patricks, St Davids and St George’s events, thus celebrating all four countries that make up United Kingdom. My husband lived in Aberdeen for a while and can do such a good accent that many Scots who listen to his “Address to a Haggis” are convinced that he is the “Real McCoy.” I sometimes get asked to do the “toast to the laddies” at the last minute, as often this is the last thing people remember to ask someone to do. My husband goes over-board with the actions to go with the Ode and has so many pleas for this task that this year we will be attending six dinners throughout the week before and after January 25th – the official Burns Night.

Nowadays Haggis is available at nearly every butchers or supermarket in Britain around this time, there are even vegetarian versions. Served alongside tatties ‘n’ nipes (potatoes and turnips) it makes a wonderful winter meal. The Haggis has become a symbol of Scottish pride and Robert Burns address to it is worth attention, I have posted it beneath here with an all new English translation from an anonymous Scotsman which had to be toned down a little bit.

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ Sou
pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’a grace
As lang’s my arm.

[Fair and full is your honest plump face
Master of all non-specific sub-premium meat products!
No other non-specific sub-premium meat product compares to your tastiness
Regardless of which part of the digestive system it has been harvested from,
Therefore you are most worthy of this poem
Which is quite ridiculously long (given the subject matter).]

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

[You fill the serving-dish to the brim
And your buttocks looks like a hilltop in the distance,
That little wooden stick could be used for major structural repairs
If I were hallucinating and there was nothing else to hand,
While unidentifiable liquids ooze about you
Resembling the whisky that I’ve already drunk half a bottle of.]

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin’, rich!

[Watch and marvel as a man, so drunk he can barely stand up, attempts to clean a knife
And stabs at you wildly with the least of precision
Eventually making a gash in your nondescript innards
Like a makeshift latrine in the woods,
And then, O! what a glorious sight,
The only thing in this godforsaken country that isn’t absolutely baltic!]

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” hums.

[Then, gobful after gobful, they scoff it down,
Brawl over seconds, and continue scoffing,
Until all their clinically obese bellies
Become a gluttonous parody of human flesh,
Then the fattest of the lot, on the verge of puking
Mutters “Jesus that was good.”]

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

[Are there any people who, over their fine French food,
Or Italian cooking that would make a pig wretch
Or haute cuisine that would surely make it physically sick
In total and utter disgust,
Look down with a sneering and scornful attitude
On a dinner like this?]

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

[Unfortunate fools! See the eating cultured food that I would bin!
They are as feeble as withered stalks,
Their skinny legs as thin as rope,
Their hands are tiny and effeminate,
When it comes to travelling through peaty bogs and Bathgate
They’ve got no chance!]

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

[But look at the haggis-eating Scots,
So great that the earth literally shakes beneath them as they walk.
Give them knives,
They’ll stab pretty much any enemy!
They’ll chop off legs, arms, and heads,
Like the tops of the thistles they bizarrely revere.]

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer
Gie her a haggis!

[You powers-that-be, who watch over all humanity,
And determine its fates and appetites,
Give to Old Scotland no healthy and nutritious stuff
That gets stuck in the throat!
But remember, we are proudly the ‘sick man of Europe’
And give us more Haggis!]

Mayor Burns

 

Bye Bye Happy Hot Dog Man

Happy Hotdog Man © Southampton Old Lady 2015
Happy Hotdog Man © Southampton Old Lady 2015
Happy Hotdog Man © Southampton Old Lady 2015
Happy Hotdog Man © Southampton Old Lady 2015

Farewell to the Happy Hot Dog Man. Karl who has been a part of Southampton’s city centre for years, is an established Southampton character. His laugh brings a smile to customers and passers-by. Now he has been fined for not having a trading licence.

Council trading licence applications are complicated involving high insurance rates and are rarely granted. Other traders include those selling mobile phone accessories and jewellery, plus two taxi drivers. They have been going for so long now that everyone thought they were legit. It is difficult to believe that the council have only just noticed them.

James Franklin reported in today’s Daily Echo: ‘Southampton’s “Happy Hot Dog Man” is among four people fined for unlawful selling in the city centre. He as been told to pay £640 for breaching a council order.

‘City council licensing manager Phil Bates said: “We’re pleased with the result, it sends a clear message that unlicensed operations won’t be tolerated and can lead to prosecution.” A council spokesman added: “These are the traders in the precinct, some of whom we suspect are there daily.”

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