‘Twas the night before Christmas…

And how exactly does old Saint Nick get down the chimbely, especially if you’ve no chimbley to be seen. The curse of modern living for Father Christmas is the old central heating. But not to worry, if you don’t have a fireplace with chimbely (or even if you do!) here is a magical build your own version for Santa to use. Just remember to go to bed in good time, and leave him a mince pie and some whiskey. That’s what we always do in the Professor Llusern’s house.


With thanks to www.vintagefangirl.com

Five Gold Rings

Altogether now!

Fiiiive Gooo-ooold Riiiiings!

Today five rings or links to five sites I think you should know about!

  1. Hedgespoken! – What a project this is! A modern re-imagining of the old wondering players of Europe performing off the back of a cart! Instead of cart, read big green lorry. And in more good news, it’s fully funding and is happening. Come to North Wales soon!
  2. Effervescent – Doing some wonderful work down in the South West (You should have seen the Christmas Grotto!) I can’t pretent to understand what “Social Alchemy” means, it’s probably to do with the Youth and I am now too old. But all I know is it translates into some fantastic and and visually stunning theatrical events.
  3. Pilgrims and Posies is the name for a a living historian and musician and storyteller and polymath! Tom Hughes (and often his wife) do all sorts for all periods including organising the Minstrels Court in Chester every year, Wassailing and Guising and heaven knows what else. In a few days time, on the 3rd of January will be the Apple Tree Wassail, if you’re in the area why not call by for stories, songs and random acts of bird feeding.
  4. Punch and Judy online – is a wonderful resource for anyone on the great couple and also includes some colouring sheets for the children, information on the Big Grin as well as a potted history and background for you.

And finally

5. Portable North Pole – Here’s one for next year, get a free personalised video message from Father Christmas for your little ones. Available in English or French (if you’re that way inclined).  Have they made the naughty or nice list? You can pay extra for more options (I do) but the basic package is still free, so make the most of it.

 Crikey this was a long one, a shorter one tomorrow methinks.

Three French Hens

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas. A chicken on the other hand can last a week if you’re thrifty! I jest of course but if you were so inclined why not go with the best Victorian stuffing, courtesy of Mrs Beeton herself. (and the BBC Food Website).

Sage and onion stuffing

Sage and onion stuffing

Homemade stuffing is easy to make from everyday ingredients and makes Christmas dinner that much more special.


Preparation method

  1. Peel the onions, put them into boiling water, let them simmer for 5 minutes or rather longer, and just before they are taken out, put in the sage-leaves for a minute or two to take off their rawness.
  2. Chop both these very fine, add the bread, seasoning and butter, and work the whole lot together with the yolk of an egg, when the stuffing will be ready for use.
  3. It should be rather highly seasoned, and the sage-leaves should be very finely chopped.
  4. Many cooks do not parboil the onions in the manner just stated, but merely use them raw. The stuffing then, however is not nearly so mild, and to many tastes, its strong flavour would be very objectionable.
  5. When made for goose, a portion of the liver of the bird, simmered for a few minutes and very finely minced, is frequently added to this stuffing; and where economy is studied, the egg and butter may be dispensed with.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree…

Magic Lantern Slide of a Partridge or Ruffed Grouse

Below you will see the image of a magic lantern slide of a partridge or ruffed grouse drumming. This is unfortunately one instance to which the magic lantern image alone cannot do justice and to see and hear this in action I have to refer you all to all to this fascinating video below. Unfortuately before anyone gets airated the ruffed grouse is not actually a partridge, but is referred to as one frequently as the North American Bison is often referred to as a Buffalo. But this video was so beautiful I had to include it anyway. Happy Holidays

Oh and if anyone is still unhappy here is an English Partridge.

Obvious Sight Gag
English Partridge. Please Support Wikipedia

Which incidentally belongs to the sam family Phasianidae as your dinner today the Turkey, probably the original intent of the one in the pear tree. Enjoy.

The New Roster, part 5

Pwy sy’n dwad dros y bryn yn ddistaw, distaw bach;
Ei farf yn llaes a’i wallt yn wyn,
A rywbeth yn ei sach?
A phwy sy’n eistedd ar y to, ar bwys y simne fawr?
Siôn Corn? Siôn Corn?
Helo! Helo!
Tyrd yma! Tyrd i lawr!

Ho-ho-ho, merry Chrimbo. And as we are now properly into advent, which does not begin in August despite what Tesco seems to believe, I think I can safely say that!

The lines above are an introduction to the latest in our lineup, the big beardy man himself, Father Christmas, Siôn Corn.

He began life in this incarnation as a wizard from the Kasperletheater.

You shall not pass!

As ever the process began by removing the wizard outfit.

We ain't got no body!

Siôn is a rum cove and being that I am emphasising the Victorian of Mr Punch I wanted to avoid an overtly Coca cola coloured Santa. So with an eye towards the Scandinavian tradition and Dickens’ Ghost of Christmas Present I decided to be in with an earthy green coloured base. To go over this I found a nice deep ruby coloured cloth, I think it may have been an offcut from some theatre curtains. I made a long waistcoat from this and trimmed it with some white fur culled from a cheap Santa hat. This is bound in memory of Edward Woodward as the Ghost with a thick black belt, felt rather than leather in this case and a cardboard buckle.

Come forth and know me better, man.

His hat I have taken fewer liberties with as I need him still to be recognisable to the younger generation as Father Christmas (or you end up with the story that accompanied The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, where it was said that when that man appeared in that story many children, especially in America for some reason, didn’t know who he was!) Consequently I used a bit more of the cheap Santa hat to make, well a Santa Hat.
And so Siôn was almost there, but as I said he owes more of a tribute to Dickens than Coca cola so I wanted him to have one last tricksie addition. How can he deliver presents without his sack? But not just any old sack, this is a sack with a secret! But what that is and how it works I shall be keeping close to my chest for now!
So until I see you next, be good boys and girls because you know who’s watching, don’t you?

You'd better watch out