Monday, 17 December 2018

Christmas post, Christmas entertainment and Christmas food.

I keep hearing that nobody sends letters any more and that few people send greetings cards. Most people, they say, use internet greetings. Personally I hate e-cards, flash in the pan, momentary greetings. Did anybody ever save an e-card, the way you might save a particularly personal paper greetings card? And you can’t put e-cards on the mantlepiece to make the place look festive. What are you supposed to do? Have all your e-cards playing on a continuous loop on your computer in a corner of the room near the tree?

Now, if it is true that people don’t use the postal service, why was there a problem with the postbox in the village this morning? I needed to post a birthday card, which needs to arrive at its destination by Wednesday. I popped it in the post box. It bounced right out again. On closer inspection, I could see that the box was stuffed to the gills, so crammed with mail that nothing else was going in. So I went back into the post office, reported the situation and asked the postmistress (delightful word) to pop my card into her indoor collection bag. Job done!

The box was overstuffed because the last collection on Saturday is at midday and there is no collection on Sunday. Consequently the postbox held all the cards and letters posted late on Saturday and all day Sunday. No room for today’s contribution!

While I was in the post office a host of small children was marched past in twos, all equipped with hi-vis vests. It crossed my mind that it was a good job this was Delph and not Paris, where the water canons might have come out to deal with the massed ranks of gilets jaunes. Of course, it was just about the whole of the local infant school, off on an outing somewhere.

Those of us in the queue reminisced about how we had been taken on “nature walks” on fine days like today, a stroll around looking at trees and plants, all at the whim of the teacher. No chance of such a thing nowadays. The curriculum is too tightly controlled.

One small boy left the group and dashed into the post office accompanied by a teacher. He wanted to say hullo to his mum, the postmistress. They were all off to the pantomime. The postmistress commented that the family had been to the pantomime yesterday. Someone in the queue said that the small boy would not be very excited in that case. On the contrary, his mum told us, he was really looking forward to seeing it again.

The queuer clearly underestimates the ability of small children to watch the same cartoon or film and to demand the same bedtime story over and over and over again.

Here’s a link to a thing about Christmas stuff: when is Jesus’ real birthday? why do we celebrate on December 5th? is it true that some people have tried to cancel Christmas? stuff like that.

Christmas food keeps popping up in all sorts of articles in the papers. Yesterday I read that in an article about fitness that you need to run for 21 minutes to use up the calories in the average mince pie. (Mince pies, by the way, are explained in the article link above.) I also read that on average we eat 27 mince pies each over Christmas, which means that some people eat a whole lot more as there are people like Phil who eat none at all.

Cheese is another food staple that gets some attention. Apparently we all traditionally eat Stilton and Wensleydale with cranberries at Christmas. What do they do with this cheese the rest of the year?

But the cheese which has been voted the best cheese of the year is in very short supply. It’s called fanoast and comes from Norway, but the farm that produces it only has twelve cows, so stocks are limited.

 I won’t miss it as I am not a fan of that Gouda-style cheese anyway!

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