Wednesday, December 25, 2013
The Christmas that was
My Christmas celebrations began last Sunday with a visit to a Christmas carols service at Wynnum Presbyterian church, where Anne's sister Merle goes.
The selection of carols was excellent and they were well performed. My only beef was that the minister inserted a long and boring sermon into the middle of it. The sermon was about trust in God and may in fact have been well-tailored to the young people in the congregation but was too repetitious and old-hat for me. Anne didn't like the sermon much either.
They also however put on a supper afterward which had quite good food -- including some Sushi. I was going to say something clever to the minister about his narthex but, being old, I couldn't quite remember such a hard word. So I made a comment about his transept which he didn't reply to at all. Maybe he was wise.
And today, Christmas day, was a big gathering of the clan at Paul's place. Anne and I arrived in my 50-year-old Humber Super Snipe at about noon. Susan did a great job glazing the big ham and there was all sorts of other food. Somebody forgot the bread, though. I was sitting opposite Tracy's Simon at table which was lucky as he always has interesting things to say.
Being a bit crass, I said at one stage: "Simon is being very well mannered, eating his drumstick with a knife and fork". Simon shot straight back with a smile "British officer". And indeed he is, though he is in the Australian armed forces these days.
He started out in the Royal Navy at age 16. Transfers from the Australian armed forces to the British ones and vice versa don't seem to be much trouble. The similarities in practice are large.
As evidence of that look at the two pix below. One is the redoubtable Capt. Mainwaring from "Dad's Army" set in WWII and the other is of me in Australia back in the 60's. We are wearing the same uniform, now superseded I believe. It was called "Battle Dress" and was nice and cosy for the cool English climate.
And Simon is no chocolate soldier. Australia deployed him to Afghanistan 2 or 3 times. There was some comment about it being bad to wear uniforms but since both Simon and I have worn our country's uniform we didn't agree with that at all.
Simon, Ken and I talked quite a bit about ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Simon sees a lot of continuity between those times and now.
We didn't talk much about modern times, though I mentioned the tragic sinking of the Royal Oak at Scapa Flow during WWII. So many drowned children! The commander of the base at Scapa Flow had made the most urgent representations to navy HQ about the harbour not being safe against submarine penetration and urging more barriers. The navy ignored him. So when a sub got in and sank the Royal Oak, who did the navy blame for the loss? If you know anything about the British armed forces, the answer is obvious: The commander of the base at Scapa Flow
We discussed various religions for a while and we all agreed that Warmism is a religious cult.
Paul has recently revived his swimming pool and all the kids had a good time in it. The kids got heaps of presents.
Anne and I were both pretty tired by about 4pm so we left at that stage. After I took Anne home I went home and had a big nap but I was back up again in time for the Queen's Christmas message. I actually missed a couple of minutes of it as someone had switched off the power switch at the side of the TV. It took me a while to figure that out. There have been some little fiddle fingers in that room recently.
I took some nice big slices of ham home from the party (I bought the ham in the first place) so next morning I made up some big ham & mustard sandwiches, picked up Anne and went to North Wynnum to have breakfast by the sea. Anne bought a thermos for the tea. It was very quiet and we had great breezes so we really enjoyed it.
It was a bit of a drama buying fresh bread for the sandwiches as most of the bakeries were closed. I finally got a very fresh loaf from a Chinese bakery at Tingalpa.