Friday, 26 December 2008

On the Home Straight now

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Well, that is about it. All over for another year so some peace before we have to read again about how the word Ch*is*ma* has been removed from polite society lest it offend ‘them’. I served in most countries of the world over a period of more than 22 years. Many of these were Muslim areas. In a few, we were there because of some dusty old Agreement or colonial situation and were not TOTP amongst all the locals. I cannot remember any where we were denied our own traditional observance of our Christian heritage. We may have kept what we did a bit low-key but the streets were still decorated, trees and lights were erected and restaurants sported strange menus. They let us get on with it. So, I now find it strange that some do-gooders – self appointed at that – tell us we may offend the people who have come to live amongst us. This, I am sure, creates far more ill-feeling than it is thought the bunting, songs and parties would arouse. Mr Britain assumes that it is those of another belief system who are to blame.

Still, enough of that.
Did you have a good Christmas? One of the drawbacks about being a senior rank in the Army was that the 25th December was devoted to observing traditions long passed out of importance. One required that we serve the single soldiers in barracks with what was referred to as ‘gunfire’ This was tea or coffee laced with rum or whiskey and was delivered to those still a’bed. A more noxious drink is difficult to imagine at that hour to those doubtless still suffering from the over-indulgencies of the previous night.
We then hung about until the dinner was ready and we waited on the troops. We got into the booze and feeding frenzy act so that when I finally got home that day I was over-fed, slightly pished and ready for bed.
We had a break from tradition this year in that we dined out. As it worked out – a good idea. Norma was unchained from the kitchen and we had a choice far better than our larder or wine cellar could have provided. We were very well served by young and cheerful staff who showed no problems with Christmas duty. So, back to the past – I arrived home over-fed, slightly pished and ready for bed! Keith’s wife is a vegetarian so she was able to have exactly what she wanted and not be left to the ideas of a family that is very carnivore-oriented. I was still able to indulge my creaky joke though.

Actually, Christmas has never meant a great deal to me. The religious side not at all and the fun and games bit only marginally. The admonition that “Its Christmas and you have to enjoy yourself” leaves me cold as it encourages that sort of false pretence that tends to arise. When I was a worker, we were lucky that I could always afford to buy anything I wanted when I wanted it. I did not have to wait until the once a year opportunity to restock the sock drawer. Now, my desires are less but I still get what I want as and when which complicated the “What does he want for Christmas?” question. Finding and getting things for others is still a pleasure though so that was nice.
All that is left of the routine is to wish you all a good end-of-year night and the wish that next year brings you all you ever wanted. Even here, I have to intrude with a bit of humbug mentality; given the rubbish that makes up our present Government – including the so-called Opposition – I cannot see a greatly enjoyable 365 days ahead.

Note - I've no idea what I have done that has buggered up the blog at the end of this. If I had the slightest idea of this htlm or whatever, I'd be able to sort it but as my lovely guru says - I'm rubbish at it so I hope it does not totally spoil your day. It has not spoiled mine I assure you! It is the message that counts isn't it? Just like that observation seen around at these times - it isn't the gift. it is the thought that counts

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