We have finally reached the last of the Christmas parties first featured in 2018 and revisited this year with additions from 2020.. I would like to take this opportunity to thank more regular contributors over the last ten years, and someone who has helped me with the translation of one of my books. Paul Andruss, Olga Nunez Miret and Carol Taylor.
I know that for the second year running most of us will be spending a very different Christmas day to other years, and it is likely that many of you will still not be able to see your family and close friends in person. That alone will ensure that 2020 and 2021 remain in our thoughts and our memories for a long time.
Today we do at least have the technology to speak to and see those we love, and it whilst does not compare with the hugs and sense of belonging we would normally experience at this time of year, we do get to see their faces and smiles.
Hopefully (and we can but hope) by next Christmas, the vaccine and boosters and the precautions we need to continue to take, will enable us to embrace the season as we would wish to.
Here is Slade to kick the party off with Merry Christmas Everybody. Amazon
Over the last eleven parties I have shared my memories of Christmas past, and I have enjoyed stepping back in time. I am so pleased that so many of you have shared yours too, as it demonstrates that the best gift of all is the time spent with those we love.
I hope that you have an amazing few days, however you choose to spend it. There will be a few things posted over the next week should you be at a loose end.. There will also be some funnies and videos and I will be in from time to time to catch up on all of your festive posts.
Now time to get on with the party…..A favourite carol of mine as a child was “We Three Kings” original title “Three Kings of Orient”, also known as “We Three Kings of Orient Are” or “The Quest of the Magi”, is a Christmas carol that was written by John Henry Hopkins Jr. in 1857. At the time of composing the carol, Hopkins served as the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and he wrote the carol for a Christmas pageant in New York City.
Here is a wonderfully dramatic version with fabulous graphics by Clamavi De Profundis
Time to meet my first guest Paul Andruss, who was writer in residence for over two years…
About Paul Andruss
Paul Andruss was born and raised in Liverpool. The city’s legendary Scouse wit and dogged stoicism left its mark. Keen to get out into the world, Paul dropped out of college at 17. A year later he was taking exams at Night School, while working in the local Tax Office. On the grounds that anything was better than work, he applied to study Psychology at Liverpool University. Considering his grades (just plumb lazy) no one was more surprised than he when they accepted his application.
After graduation Paul worked near the romantic Lake District, so beloved of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. No, not Harry’s mum, Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-duck’s. He worked in Manchester and London before moving to Bodrum in Turkey.
To finance a passion for exploring the heartland of the Ancient Greek Empire, Paul wrote short travel articles focusing on the history and myths of ruined cities and temples. He began illustrating the pieces, using Photoshop to remove power lines and the odd Esso sign from his photographs of ancient sites.
Returning to the U.K. to focus on writing and illustration, he settled in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. Paul is the author of the Young Adult magical realism trilogy, the Jack Hughes Books, and the forthcoming (very adult) Finn Mac Cool – a gritty, raunchy mythological saga. He has also written a number of short stories and novellas. All scheduled for release with exciting new, independent Scottish publisher, Black Wolf Books.
I am very grateful for the amazing posts that Paul contributed over the two years covering such a broad spectrum of subjects, all meticulously researched and brilliantly written. The blog has definitely been enriched by their inclusion. And I can highly recommend that you read Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer, especially if you love Harry Potter.
Anyway, I was wondering what I could give Paul for his virtual gift and thought perhaps being a very keen gardener, I thought he might enjoy this tour of the Japanese Gardens here in Ireland.Vera Arev
Day 12 (5th January also known as Epiphany Eve): It is a celebration of the life and works of St. John Neumann (1811-1860). He was born in Bohemia but emigrated to the US and became a Catholic priest and later Bishop of Philadelphia. He was the first American bishop to be canonized due to his devotion and also for founding the first Catholic diocesan school system in the United States.
The Twelfth Day of Christmas
Twelve drummers drumming and all the rest of the verses that have gone before with both their alleged coded and spiritual meaning and the more modern acceptance of this cumulative song probably of French origin. There are many different versions that are sung around the world with local and national gifts replacing the originals. The spirit of the song however is still maintained from the Faroe Islands to Australia as children get excited about the upcoming holiday season.
In many countries Twelfth night is a huge celebration with parties to celebrate not just the Christmas season but also the official end of winter which began on October 31st on All Hallows Eve or Halloween. This practice goes all the way back to the Romans and their celebration of Saturnalia and different cultures celebrate in various ways. This would be the day that the Christmas cake would be eaten, or roles reversed between master and servant or King and Queen of the night with licence to behave disreputably!!
Having lived in Spain for 17 years we celebrated Christmas with our friends and also their festival on the 6th of January of Dia de Los Reyes. It is almost as important as Christmas itself in Spain, especially for children who have waited twelve days before getting their presents, although I suspect there are still plenty opened on Christmas Day. However the party starts on the 5th with parades in all the towns and villages with Three Kings leading the crowd and throwing sweets to the children.
The Spanish version of the Christmas cake is a Roscón, a sweet, donut-shaped bread covered in glacier cherries and sugar. A plastic toy rather than a sixpence is buried inside the mixture, so dentists do quite well in the days following! Although for those whose teeth remain intact they will get good luck for the remainder of the year!
This leads me very nicely into my next guest Olga Nunez Miret
Olga has been a wonderful friend and support for the blog and for so many others in the last eight years. She is an avid reader and writes in-depth reviews that delight their recipients some of the reviews are on behalf of the Rosie Amber Review Team.
About Olga Nunez Miret
Olga Núñez Miret is a doctor, a psychiatrist, a student (of American Literature, with a Doctorate and all to prove the point, of Criminology, and of books and people in general), she writes, translates (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and although born in Barcelona, Spain, has lived in the UK for many years. She’s always loved books and is thrilled at the prospect of helping good stories reach more readers all around the world. She publishes a bilingual blog (http://www.authortranslatorolga.com ) where she shares book reviews, advice, talks about books (hers and others) and about things she discovers and enjoys.
In 2018 Olga translated Tales from the Garden Volume 1 for me into Spanish. If you are looking to reach a new market for your books that I can highly recommend her services. She also asked if I might like to participate in an anthology in aid of victims of domestic violence and my story ‘Diana’ was included in ¡Que entre la luz! published in the summer of this year. Olga and I were interviewed on When Women Inspire on the anthology by Christy D. Birmingham.
A selection of books by Olga Nunez Miret
I wanted to find something beautiful for Olga as her virtual Christmas gift and found this.. which I hope she enjoys…Louie Schwartzberg
This brings me to the last guest in this Christmas series… Carol Taylor has been an amazing contributor over the last four years, with food columns such as Cook from Scratch, A-Z of the Culinary Alphabet and recently The Green Kitchen.. A a friend and contributor, Carol has added richness to the blog and to me personally.
Next year with some uncertainty about my own plans with house moves and hopefully travel, we are going to reshare the series… Cooking from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency.. from 2018.. we hope you will enjoy the second time around.. or if you are new to the blog.. for the first time.
About Carol Taylor
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: Amazon US
I asked Carol for her most special Christmas gift………
Years ago when I worked for the Halifax I had a love/hate relationship with my line manager he was a nice bloke but very straight laced at work and sometimes we clashed as to certain things I was not prepared to do come hell or high water…But had touches of being really funny in his lighter moments or at staff jollies.
One day after such one staff jolly and definitely too much to drink …When I got home I threw up…The next morning..I was missing a tooth the only tooth I had on a plate and it must have disappeared down into the system of no return…
So it was an emergency dental appointment and a call to work…
The dentist also thought it was highly funny as did Andrew at work…
Some months later at our staff Christmas Party when we pulled a name out of a hat and bought appropriate presents for the said person…I will say he must have thought about this for months…lol
He got my name …I received a 6 pack of Becks Beer and a bag of sweetie false teeth…He kept his distance as maybe he wasn’t sure whether I would see the funny side I did, and still do…as did everyone else but it was the best present and still makes me smile…
Unfortunately I couldn’t find a set of false sweet teeth, but I think that’s because the dog ate them….
And that is not as far fetched as you might think…….Merry Christmas Carol…
Thank you very much for dropping in today and I wish you a very Merry, Happy Christmas and Holidays… Look forward to hearing your plans in the comments… Sally.