Friday, December 19, 2008

7 Quick Takes Friday

-- 1 --

I just re-read Bill Bryson's Notes From a Small Island in which he takes a quirky and affectionate look at the UK and its inhabitants. I then had a Bryson-ish moment of my own last weekend. While on a break from playing Christmas music in a local shopping centre I took a turn holding a collecting tin, and was approached by a man whose small daughter had put in some loose change a few minutes earlier. He lent over to me and muttered confidentially, and with the embarrassed air of someone not naturally given to paying public compliments, "I don't know if anyone has told you ... but the music is quite nice." British understatement?

-- 2 --

More brass banding last night - this time a cheerfully chaotic Scouts' Christmas event at a village a few miles away, held in the medieval parish Church. Great fun, with lots of singing along, clapping and cheering, an eccentric version of the Nativity story written and performed by Scouts with sock puppets, Beavers singing about a red nosed reindeer, and Cubs reciting 'Twas The Night Before Christmas. Unlike many old churches, this one had the luxury of both reasonably effective heating and indoor plumbing (new since last year!). And to round off an enjoyable festive evening I won a hamper in a raffle. The girls had fun unpacking it this morning - various boxes and bars of chocolate, a little Christmas cake and a small pudding, a bottle of wine, shortbread, mince pies, chocolate crispie cakes - all sorts of goodies!

-- 3 --

Little Cherub was distressed this week by the discovery of a "wood mouse" in the sitting room. No, not a little furry rodent, but a small and harmless bug. Cherub has problems with the letter "L". (Translation for American readers: wood louse = pillbug. I think.)

-- 4 --

Star spent weeks refusing to wear a coat outdoors on the grounds that she wasn't cold, even in near freezing temperatures. Why, then, is she now insisting she needs to wear her coat indoors to keep warm?

-- 5 --

Nearly time to light four candles on the Advent wreath. Whenever I think of four candles the Two Ronnies sketch jumps unbidden into my mind and they turn into "fork 'andles". Please tell me I am not the only person in the UK (or the world?) to have this problem.

-- 6 --

I watched a documentary about steam trains last week. (Why? I like trains!) As I am not old enough to remember steam trains running on commercial services I had vaguely imagined that they were phased out in the 1930s or 40s. Apparently not. Converting the British railways to electric or diesel was considered too expensive after the War, and hundreds of new steam trains were built during the late 40s and 50s. The last were built in 1960 and expected to have a life well into the 1980s. Then the decision was taken to switch to diesel and they were all withdrawn in 1968. Hundreds of serviceable trains were sent to scrapyards to rust. Eat your heart out, Thomas the Tank Engine. I had no idea I missed the age of steam by so little. In fact, technically I didn't miss it ... I just don't remember it.

-- 7 --

Last day of school today, then two whole weeks of everyone home (almost - Tevye has to work Monday and Tuesday next week and then is off until January 5th). Yay!

For more quick takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary.


Heather said...

I don't have a comment about a particular "take," but I loved the overall tone of your post! I desperately want to visit (if not live) in England at some point.

Dorothy said...

Oooh, I remember steam trains AND the fork handles sketch! LOL!

How nice to win the hamper!