The Lavender and Lovage Advent Patchwork Quilt of Photos & Recipes
with John Betjeman
Second Sunday in Advent – Day Nine on the Advent Calender:
~ 9th December ~
History of Christmas Pudding Charms:
In Victorian times, small silver charms were placed in Christmas Puddings prior to boiling or steaming them. Each charm signified either advice, luck, romance or good fortune. Traditionally, these charms were a boot for travel, a bell for good luck, a wish bone to make your wishes come true, a thimble denoting spinsterhood, a ring for an impending marriage or engagement, a horseshoe for luck and a bachelor’s button for luck as well. Silver sixpences and threepenny bits were also placed in the pudding for good fortune. Coins continued to be placed in puddings long after the little charms went out of favour, but after World War II, coins were made of copper and brass alloys which reacted during the cooking process, so the tradition of adding charms and coins to the Christmas Puddings became rare, although I am lucky enough to have a couple of silver sixpences which I use every Christmas.
The Advent wind begins to stir
With sea-like sounds in our Scotch fir,
It’s dark at breakfast, dark at tea,
And in between we only see
Clouds hurrying across the sky
And rain-wet roads the wind blows dry
And branches bending to the gale
Against great skies all silver pale
The world seems travelling into space,
And travelling at a faster pace
Than in the leisured summer weather
When we and it sit out together,
For now we feel the world spin round
On some momentous journey bound –
Journey to what? to whom? to where?
The Advent bells call out ‘Prepare,
Your world is journeying to the birth
Of God made Man for us on earth.’
And how, in fact, do we prepare
The great day that waits us there –
For the twenty-fifth day of December,
The birth of Christ? For some it means
An interchange of hunting scenes
On coloured cards, And I remember
Last year I sent out twenty yards,
Laid end to end, of Christmas cards
To people that I scarcely know –
They’d sent a card to me, and so
I had to send one back. Oh dear!
Is this a form of Christmas cheer?
Or is it, which is less surprising,
My pride gone in for advertising?
The only cards that really count
Are that extremely small amount
From real friends who keep in touch
And are not rich but love us much
Some ways indeed are very odd
By which we hail the birth of God.
We raise the price of things in shops,
We give plain boxes fancy tops
And lines which traders cannot sell
Thus parcell’d go extremely well
We dole out bribes we call a present
To those to whom we must be pleasant
For business reasons. Our defence is
These bribes are charged against expenses
And bring relief in Income Tax
Enough of these unworthy cracks!
‘The time draws near the birth of Christ’.
A present that cannot be priced
Given two thousand years ago
Yet if God had not given so
He still would be a distant stranger
And not the Baby in the manger.
The Lavender and Lovage Advent Patchwork Quilt of Photos & Recipes:
A Poem, some Victorian Christmas information, a Patchwork Quilt of Photos and Recipes and some Advent Candles – Have a wonderful Advent Sunday and see you tomorrow with more seasonal delights, news, chat and other stuff! Karen