Nov 28th

Who are you sharing Christmas with?

By Mary B

Who are you sharing Christmas with?

The Diocese of Guildford have compiled this directory of support available over the Christmas period in Surrey and North East Hampshire. Thank you to all those groups who have shared information about how they are helping to support people at this time of year. Christmas is a busy time of year, celebrating and spending time with family and friends. However, we know that this time of year can be difficult for some people. They may be lonely – separated from family and friends, or vulnerable for other reasons. 

 

Note for Organisers: We have been advised by one lunch organiser that your local Waitrose may be able to  provide support generally for groups who are providing lunch for those who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. 

Other sources of information is  http://communitychristmas.org.uk/                       tel 0800 0639285  and www.premier.org.uk/christmasalone  which both have a good listing of community events across the UK 

Please share the information provided with those who may be on their own at Christmas and with those who may be looking for volunteering opportunities. If you know of another event, or are needing volunteers please do get in touch with the:

Communities Engagement Team,
Diocese of Guildford,  The Church of England
tel: 01483 790 324    email: cet@cofeguildford.org.uk  

 

Waverley

The Haslemere Pre- Christmas Lunch is being held at Haslewey Community Centre, Weyhill, Haslemere.  A traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings or Nut Roast and dessert.  Tickets £12 and all are welcome, pre-booking is essential 

tel: 01428 648716  email: info@haslewey.org

 

Churches Together in Farnham's, Christmas Day Lunch starts at 1.00pm at The Gostrey Centre, East Street, Farnham GU9 7SB. The lunch is for people who live locally and who would otherwise spend Christmas Day on their own.

Booking essential.

To book a place please ring before 9th December;

Mariola Boyd 01252 716785 or Michael McDonnell 01252 712600

Transport provided if required.

There is no charge for lunch or transport.

Volunteer helpers welcome (especially drivers). To volunteer please ring:

Jo Rendall 01252 737162 

 

Alfold and Loxwood Parish are performing a  Live Nativity at Alfold Sports & Social Club, from 3:30 - 6:00pm on Saturday 16th December

Followed by Carol Singing, Mulled Wine and Mince Pies

For further details from Church Office 

tel: 01403 753821 email alflox.parish.off@btinternet.com 

 

The Baptist Church in Ewhurst following their morning service at 10:30am they will be hosting the Village Christmas Day Lunch,  12.15 for 12.30. 

For more details please contact: Cherry Matthews on 01483 277895 or matthewscherry@btonternet.com

The Street, Ewhurst, Surrey,GU6 7QA

 

Churches Together in Godalming for many years has organised a Christmas Day Lunch at the Baptist Church for people who would otherwise spend the day on their own and it has proved very popular. Transport assistance may be possible for Godalming residents. After lunch there is entertainment and everyone is given a small gift. Volunteers are needed for a variety of roles, preparing food and setting tables on Christmas Eve, providing transport on Christmas Day, helping in the kitchen with serving and washing up, hosting on the day, providing entertainment and to clear away afterwards.

email: gwenwheatman@hotmail.co.uk

Godalming Baptist Church, Queen Street, Godalming, GU7 1BA

 

Mole Valley

St Nicolas Church, Great Bookham, run a friendship lunch to be held at 12 noon on Sunday 26th November in St Nicolas Church Pastoral Centre (KT23 3PW).  This lunch is a chance for those who would normally eat lunch alone to gather together, and these are held at various points in the year.  There is a £5 per head fee which is payable on the door.

Also they hold a coffee morning every Tuesday 10am-12noon (Tuesday coffee will run until December 19th this side of Christmas and then pick up again in the new year) in the Pastoral Centre which is open to all.

All are welcome, more info from our parish office.

tel: 01372 450709    email: office@stnicolasbookham.org.uk 

Christmas family fun Saturday 2nd December 2pm-4pm Christmas crafts, activities & fun for all ages including a baby play area.  There’ll be a story time with carol singing and a Café serving seasonal treats.  EVERYTHING IS FREE  but all children must be accompanied by an adult responsible for their care.

 

St. George’s Christian Centre, Barnett Wood Lane, Ashtead, KT21 2DA

members of St George’s congregation are again opening a place at their Christmas table over the festivities.  They have their café open on 20th, 21st, 22nd December for light lunches tea & coffee’s 

Also are also running Evergreen our Social club for the over 75’s on the 13th December 2.30-4.15

To find out more please contact Jacqui Kershaw (Outreach for the elderly)

01372 813200    Jacqueline.Kershaw@ashteadparish.org

 

Elmbridge

 

St Paul’s East Molesey, Church Road, KT8 9DR are welcoming people to their Christmas lunch for all in the Parish room (next to the church) on Tuesday 5th December at 12:30pm.  The lunch will be preceded by a service of Holy Communion if you wish to attend. The meal of 2 courses followed by tea or coffee costs £5.

Please ring Judy Lanaway to book on 020 8979 0014.

 

St Andrew’ Cobham warmly invite you to their Christmas Day lunch from 1pm – 4:30pm at church Gate House.  Please reserve your place by contacting the Parish Office: tel: 01932 867883  or email:parishoffice@standrewscobham.org.uk

 

St Christopher’s, Hinchley Wood, are holding a Christmas Lunch Together on Saturday 10th December at 12.30pm – 3pm.  Please ring the parish office on 020 8398 9095 to book a place (there may be a small charge)

 

St. Mary's Church Long Ditton are holding a Christmas Buffet Lunch (cost £8.00), 12.30pm on Monday 11th December in the community hall adjacent to the church. Children from the local Infant School will be singing carols and there will be a raffle for a Christmas Hamper. Booking is essential through Diana Jemmett.

tel: 020 8398 1184  email: diana.e.jemmett@btinternet.com

St. Mary's Church Community Hall, Church Road, Long Ditton, KT6 5HH

 

Holy Trinity Church, Claygate are hosting several events over the Christmas period, including Connections which is their weekly event for Seniors, running from 10am -11am every Tuesday in the Church.  There is a constantly changing range of activities with everything from mini hand massages to craft activities and games as well as special interest tables put together by local guests. All are welcome for home-made cakes and fresh coffee and there is no charge!

Please contact the church office if you know of anyone who will be on their own this Christmas and wherever possible we would arrange for them to be invited to a church members’ home for Christmas lunch.

Enquiries to Janet Watkins churchoffice@holytrinityclaygate.org.uk 

Holy Trinity Church, Church Road, Claygate KT10 0JP   tel: 01372 463603 

 

Woking

Christmas Day Community Lunch at St John's Church, West Byfleet

Alone on Christmas Day? Come and join us for lunch.

Plan for the day: Welcome drinks from midday, Traditional Christmas lunch served at 1pm, Time for chatting, with optional quizzes & carols, Tea and mince pies, Depart by 4pm

To book your place or for further information, please email christmaslunch@stjohnswestbyfleet.org.uk or contact the Parish Office on 01932 342263. They hope to be able to help with transport where it is most needed; please contact us them to discuss.

 

Open every day of the year, the Woking Safe Haven is a cafe-style drop-in centre.

Offering out of hours mental health support to people who may be experiencing or approaching crisis. The informal and friendly venue offers a safe and comfortable space to find help and is open to carers as well. Visitors to the Safe Haven Woking will receive a warm welcome and can talk to professional wellbeing staff, including a Community Psychiatric Nurse who can provide mental health assessments.  There is also the support of others with lived experience of mental health crisis.  The Safe Haven team will ensure your privacy and dignity at all times.  They can support you through your mental health crisis and link you with other services to provide further help.

Seven days a week.  365 days a year.

The Prop, 30 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6JT

Opening times:  Monday - Friday, 6 pm - 11pm

Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, 3pm - 8pm

 

The Moorcroft Day Centre in Woking GU22 9LY, are hosting a free traditional Christmas lunch, for older people who are on their own. Christmas Guest booking is required.  Transport may be possible. No volunteers are needed.

For bookings and further enquiries please contact :

 anneroberts3@ntlworld.com   Tel: 01932 403292

 

Guildford

FOOTSTEPS drop-in centre is open on Christmas Day in Guildford town centre at Beverley Hall in Haydon Place. Their aim is to help homeless and needy people in and around Guildford. They open for coffee and mince pies from 10.30 am and serve a meal at 12.30pm, closing at 3pm.  There is no need to pre-book.

FOOTSTEPS is run solely with the help of volunteers who all give their time free of charge and do not claim any expenses.  New volunteers and gifts of food and funding are always welcome. Beverley Hall Community Centre, 71 Haydon Place

Guildford, GU1 4ND

email:  info@footsteps.org.uk

 

 

St John's Church, Stoke Road, Guildford, GU1 1HB have their monthly Outlook Lunch on Weds 6th Dec, for senior citizens.  There is a hearty lunch & a short service in the church.  It starts at 12.30pm & costs £3.50 per person and lifts may be possible.  For further information please contact Janet Durrant via 

email: office@stjohnstoke.com   or    tel:  01483 574562

 

 

St Nicolas' Church, Guildford  on Friday 29th December are having Coffee & Cake from 10:30am which will be followed by a Festive Feast in their Community Centre, Bury Street, GU2 4AW from 11:30 – 1:30pm. There is a small charge (£7) and booking would be appreciated.  They hold a lunch on this basis, all in aid of USPG, on the last Friday of every month, no booking required. 

Please contact them via email: parishoffice@saintnics.com  or

tel:  01483 564526

 

 

Dray Court, Guildford: All Saints church, Guildford will be hosting a 'Christmas Carol Service' on Wednesday 20th December, 2.30 pm, at Dray Court (Sheltered Housing for the Elderly), Guildford GU2 7UW.  Anyone from the local community is welcome to come along, the service will be led by Revd Beverly Watson, Vicar of All Saints Guildford

 

Emmanuel Church, Stoughton

Have two regular events which will continue over the Christmas period.  A club for retired people every Wednesday from 11am-12.30pm. £1 to cover refreshments etc. You can choose from a variety of activities, like table tennis, crafts, bowls, scrabble pool and triominoes (triangular dominoes) – and even have some armchair exercise! If you’d rather just sit and chat you are welcome to do that too. 

Also a Pensioners’ Lunch - On the second Monday each month (except August) from 12.30-2.30pm they invite those who are retired to come along for a two course lunch for £4.50. You’ll find plenty of people to chat with, good food and a nice relaxing atmosphere to enjoy. Please ring the Parish Office for more details.

tel: 01483 561603

Email: parish.office@emmanuelchurch.co.uk

Emmanuel Church, Emmanuel Church,1 Shepherds Lane, Guildford, GU2 9SJ

 

St Lawrence Church, Effingham regularly conduct activities and these will continue over the festive period.  These will include:

Chatterbox will be on Tuesdays from 10.30am-12pm on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays in St Lawrence & on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays at All Saints. Catherine Hall: 453183 for further info. (Last session on 19th December & resumes on 9th January 2018)

Tuesday 28th Nov: Parish Pint (for the chaps): 4th Tuesday monthly at the Sir Douglas Haig, Effingham, 12pm. (No Parish Pint in December). Contact Robert Hall: 453183 or Robert@whestons.co.uk if coming (for catering).

Sunday Breakfast 10th Dec: Monthly on 2nd Sunday in the Bowdler Room, All Saints’ Church, Little Bookham awhiter 8am Communion. Catherine Hall 453183.

Tuesday 21st Nov: Tuesday Tea, alternate Tuesdays, in the Catholic Church Hall, Lower Rd, Effingham. From 2.30pm-4pm. A donation of £1 is all that is required. Contact either Gill or Keith Walker on 457987.  

Thursday 23rd Nov: Christian Meditation Group: Meets fortnightly, 2pm in the Methodist Church, Effingham. Info - Mrs Sylvia Lindsay 457383. 

Thursday 23rd Nov: “Connect” Group for carers & partners living with dementia meets fortnightly at 10am-12pm, St Lawrence Church Hall.

Wednesday 13th Dec: Messy Church, St Lawrence Church Hall 3.30-5.30pm. 2nd Wednesday of each month.

Advent Carols is on Sunday 3rd December at All Saints Church, Little Bookham, 6pm

Christingle Making is on Saturday 9th December at All Saints Church, Little Bookham, 10am

Christingle Service is Sunday 10th December at St Lawrence Church, 3.30pm

Village Carol Service is Sunday 17th December at St Lawrence, 6pm

Effingham Living Nativity is Thursday 21st December at 6pm starting at The Douglas Haig Pub

 

 

The Canterbury Care Centre (mental health drop in centre)  are looking forward to welcoming friends old and new over the Christmas period.  No booking required - all welcome

Their Christmas opening is as follows: 

Carol Service at Christ Church, Waterden Road, GU1 2AZ, 1 pm on Monday the 11th December.

The only days they are closed over the Christmas period are Christmas Day, Monday the 25th, New Years day and Monday the 1st January.

The Canterbury Care Centre is in Church House, 23 Waterden Road, Guildford GU1 2AZ.  tel: 01483 577020   email: canterburycarecentre@yahoo.co.uk   www.canterburycarecentre.com

 

 

St Michael and All Angels Church, Pirbright have a number of events happening over the Christmas period including their Annual Christmas Lunch on Saturday 9th December in the Church Room at 12:30pm Tickets at £12 each are available from Barbara Douglas rbdouguk@aol.com and Helen Whitworth helenwelliewhitworth@btinternet.com, also in the church on Sunday mornings. Space is limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

 

 

Salvation Army Will have their normal drop in on Friday 22nd December but not at any other time. They will be closed, apart from this Friday, over the Christmas period. 

Woodbridge Road, Guildford GU1 4QQ 

email: guildford@salvationarmy.org.uk 

tel: 01483 506763  or  01483 575 128 

 

 

Vaughan House in Guildford often have a Christmas meal when they could use some volunteers to help with serving lunch and doing games with residents.

Vaughan House, Supported Housing, 5-7 Chertsey Street, Guildford, GU1 4HD

tel: 01483 504704   email:  guildford.hostel@riverside.org.uk

 

Christmas at the North Guildford Food Bank

As Christmas Day falls on a Monday there will be no alteration to our normal opening days and times at any of our branches thoroughout the festive season.  From Wednesday 6th Dec all branches will be offering clients a fresh chicken, potatoes, carrots and parsnips for them to make a Christmas meal plus of course mince pies, Christmas puddings and cake. We shall also have a selection of toys and Christmas decorations available.  

 

 

On Christmas Day between 10am and 12pm, Bills Restaurant will be opening for free coffee and cake for people over 60.  Transport may be possible but needs to be discussed with them.  Tel: 01483 455187

1 Angel Gate, Guildford Town Centre, GU1 4AE

 

St Michael and All Angels Church, Pirbright have a number of events happening over the Christmas period:

6th Dec. 10.15am Holy Communion service followed by Café Club. 

9th Dec. Christmas lunch - to book a place contact Barbara Douglas, rbdouguk@aol.  com (places are limited) 

9th Dec. 4pm - Remembering Loved Ones at Christmas service, followed by tea. 

10th Dec. 3pm – Christingle service, followed by village children’s Christmas party provided free of charge by the Church.

13th Dec. 6.30pm Carol singing around the village, raising money for Crisis, everyone welcome, mulled wine & mince pies at The Vicarage afterwards.

15th Dec. 2.15pm - Carol service for elderly residents, followed by tea.

16th Dec. 3.30-5.30pm – Messy Church everyone welcome.  

16th Dec. - delivering Christmas goodies to local people in need. 

If anyone would like transport to any Christmas services or events, or would like more information please contact one of their churchwardens Catherine Cobley 01483 481234 or Pauline Cannon 01252 326534

 

Epsom & Ewell

Churches together in Ewell are hosting a Christmas Day lunch at 

Stoneleigh Baptist Church.  

'Together at Christmas' will run from 12.30 – 4.15pm for local residents who might otherwise be on their own on Christmas Day. There is no charge for this lunch, If you are interested or know of anyone who may be, please contact them at Christmas.dinner@dsl.pipex.com or tel:)   020 8397 7307 or 0208 393 3011 

This event is Kindly supported by Ewell Rotary Club

 

Epsom Methodist Church will be hosting Christmas Day Lunch which is via invitation only to those in the borough (and couples) who would otherwise be on their own on Christmas Day).  They rely on local business support for donations of food etc but otherwise the Church fund this event.  Transport may be possible, depending on needs but only within the borough of Epsom. We have a limited number of drivers so transport cannot always be guaranteed but they’ll do their level best.

Lunch is from 12.30  until 4.00 p.m. With a little light entertainment in the afternoon and possibly a visit from Father Christmas!

To book a place please contact Tony Blakeburn tony.blakeburn@ntlworld.com

Epsom Methodist church tel: 01372 728535 

 

Reigate and Banstead

 

Alone at Christmas?  Banstead Methodist Church together with The United Church of St Mark (Tattenham Corner) will be hosting a Christmas Day lunch for anyone who finds themselves alone. Our day begins in the morning, when our guests are picked up from your home and transported to Banstead Methodist Church for the Christmas Day service. Afterwards there is some light entertainment before enjoying an excellent Christmas lunch when there is an opportunity to chat to the many other people. After watching the Queen’s speech, we will transport them home with a packed tea and present. There will be no charge.

Contacts: Janet Willock, The United Church of St. Mark, St Marks Road,                  Tel (01737) 353138 or Sara Watkins, Banstead Methodist Church, The Drive,         Tel (01737) 359056

 

Hartley Witney

 

Victoria Hall, Hartley Witney RG27 8RE is hosting a  Traditional Christmas lunch for all ages in the Community hall.  To find out more or to book a place please call the number below.  Please note the Closing date 18 December 2016

For more information please contact:

Chris Cornwell    tel: 01252 843251    email: over55forum@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

Churches Together in Fleet, supported by Fleet Town Council, are organising a lunch for 40 people from Fleet or Church Crookham on Christmas Day for those who are lonely and would otherwise be spending Christmas alone. The lunch will be held at The Harlington. If you would like to attend/know someone who would benefit from attending, then please contact: Charlotte Benham (Fleet Town Council) tel: 01252 625246

 

 

East Hampshire

 

Petersfield Area Churches Together  are again hosting a Christmas Day Lunch will take place from 12:30 to 3:30 pm at the Petersfield Community Centre, Love Lane. GU32 3EB.  Transport to and from the Community Centre may be possible 

Guest booking is required and Volunteers are needed

For further information, please call Katie Wigley   tel: 01730 260213 pactchristmaslunch@gmail.com 

 

Runnymede

 

Egham St John's Church "The St John's Christmas Kitchen will again be open this year at the new Easter Centre, Manor Farm Lane, Egham (located behind the Church) They will be open from 11am to 2pm on Wednesday 20th December with hot drinks and a hot meal  being served. They will also be open for a traditional Christmas lunch on Christmas Day between 12 noon and 3pm and can arrange a lift for guests who wish to join them and who rely on public transport. May this ministry continue to show God's love to our community

Please contact Lesley Pocock if you wish to join them for lunch on Christmas Day.mob 07833307629  email: lesleypocock@aol.com

 

Addlestone – The Salvation Army will be hosting their annual Christmas day meal.  Coffee, a Service, Lunch and Entertainment will be provided and the event is free to attend.  Please contact Penny for more information and timings , transport may be possible.  tel:01932 829678.

 

Rushmoor

 

On Christmas Day St Peter’s Church, Farnborough will be holding a traditional Christmas lunch for anyone who would otherwise be on their own at 12.30pm in the Parish Centre.  Transport can be provided if needed and there is no charge.  

To book a place contact Elizabeth Lowden on 01252 543081.

 

St John's Church, Cove are having a Christmas lunch at St John's Hall for those who would otherwise be on their own.  The lunch will be served at 1.30 on Christmas Day but people are welcome to meet at 12.00pm. For further information or to book a place please contact Sally Brett on 07555 691218.

 

 

The Vine Centre, Aldershot is a Christian charity for homeless and vulnerable people.  They welcome visits so do get in touch.

Wednesday 20th December - 11am to 3pm - Christmas Dinner - all ages

Thursday 21st December - 11am to 3pm - Christmas Buffet - over 55's 

Friday 22nd December - 10am to 11.30am - Christmas brunch - all ages

Thursday 28th December - 11am to 3.00pm - Christmas Dinner - over 55's

The Vine Centre is a charity serving the community.

Further enquiries: Client Services Team - 01252 400196

 

Jan 6th

Epiphany 10 facts.

By LJ E

 

Ten facts about the Feast of the Epiphany

  1. 1.The three Kings (Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar) represented Europe, Arabia and Africa respectively.
  2. 2.Hundreds of years ago, roast lamb was traditionally served at Epiphany in honour of Christ and the three Kings' visit.
  3. 3.Whoever finds the small statue of a baby Jesus hidden inside their slice of the Rosca de reyes throws a party on Candlemas in February.
  4. 4.In some European countries, children leave their shoes out the night before to be filled with gifts, while others leave straw for the three Kings' horses.
  5. 5.According to Greek Orthodox Church's traditions, a priest will bless the waters by throwing a cross into it as worshippers try to retrieve it.
  6. 6.In Bulgaria too, Eastern Orthodox priests throw a cross in the sea and the men dive in - competing to get to it first.
  7. 7.In Venice a traditional regatta that started as a joke in the late 1970s has been incorporated in the celebrations of Epiphany Day.
  8. 8.In Prague, there is a traditional Three Kings swim to commemorate Epiphany Day at the Vltava River.
  9. 9.In New York, El Museo del Barrio has celebrated and promoted the Three Kings' Day tradition with an annual parade for more than three decades. Thousands take part in the procession featuring camels, colorful puppets and floats.
  10. 10.The day's activities involve singing holiday carols called aguinaldos.

 

Epiphany also means.....'A moment of sudden great revelation or realisation'.

Dec 26th

BC : AD by U.A. Fanthorpe

By Mary B

BC : AD by U.A. Fanthorpe

 

This was the moment when Before

Turned into After, and the future's

Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

 

This was the moment when nothing

Happened. Only dull peace

Sprawled boringly over the earth.

 

This was the moment when even energetic Romans

Could find nothing better to do

Than counting heads in remote provinces.

 

And this was the moment

When a few farm workers and three

Members of an obscure Persian sect.

Walked haphazard by starlight straight

Into the kingdom of heaven.

  

Dec 25th

LITTLE PICCOLA

By Mary B

LITTLE PICCOLA

 

Piccola lived in Italy, where the oranges grow, and where all the year the sun shines warm and bright. I suppose you think Piccola a very strange name for a little girl; but in her country it was not strange at all, and her mother thought it the sweetest name a little girl ever had.

Piccola had no kind father, no big brother or sister, and no sweet baby to play with and love. She and her mother lived all alone in an old stone house that looked on a dark, narrow street. They were very poor, and the mother was away from home almost every day, washing clothes and scrubbing floors, and working hard to earn money for her little girl and herself. So you see Piccola was alone a great deal of the time; and if she had not been a very happy, contented little child, I hardly know what she would have done. She had no playthings except a heap of stones in the back yard that she used for building houses and a very old, very ragged doll that her mother had found in the street one day.

But there was a small round hole in the stone wall at the back of her yard, and her greatest pleasure was to look through that into her neighbor's garden. When she stood on a stone, and put her eyes close to the hole, she could see the green grass in the garden, and smell the sweet flowers, and even hear the water splashing into the fountain. She had never seen anyone walking in the garden, for it belonged to an old gentleman who did not care about grass and flowers.

One day in the autumn her mother told her that the old gentleman had gone away, and had rented his house to a family of little American children, who had come with their sick mother to spend the winter in Italy. After this, Piccola was never lonely, for all day long the children ran and played and danced and sang in the garden. It was several weeks before they saw her at all, and I am not sure they ever would have done so but one day the kitten ran away, and in chasing her they came close to the wall and saw Piccola's black eyes looking through the hole in the stones.

They were a little frightened at first, and did not speak to her; but the next day she was there again, and Rose, the oldest girl, went up to the wall and talked to her a little while. When the children found that she had no one to play with and was very lonely, they talked to her every day, and often brought her fruits and candies, and passed them through the hole in the wall.

One day they even pushed the kitten through; but the hole was hardly large enough for her, and she mewed and scratched and was very much frightened. After that the little boy said he would ask his father if the hole might not be made larger, and then Piccola could come in and play with them. The father had found out that Piccola's mother was a good woman, and that the little girl herself was sweet and kind, so that he was very glad to have some of the stones broken away and an opening made for Piccola to come in.

How excited she was, and how glad the children were when she first stepped into the garden! She wore her best dress, a long, bright-colored woolen skirt and a white waist. Round her neck was a string of beads, and on her feet were little wooden shoes. It would seem very strange to us—would it not?—to wear wooden shoes; but Piccola and her mother had never worn anything else, and never had any money to buy stockings. Piccola almost always ran about barefooted, like the kittens and the chickens and the little ducks. What a good time they had that day, and how glad Piccola's mother was that her little girl could have such a pleasant, safe place to play in, while she was away at work!

By and by December came, and the little Americans began to talk about Christmas. One day, when Piccola's curly head and bright eyes came peeping through the hole in the wall, and they ran to her and helped her in; and as they did so, they all asked her at once what she thought she would have for a Christmas present. "A Christmas present!" said Piccola. "Why, what is that?"

All the children looked surprised at this, and Rose said, rather gravely, "Dear Piccola, don't you know what Christmas is?"

Oh, yes, Piccola knew it was the happy day when the baby Christ was born, and she had been to church on that day and heard the beautiful singing, and had seen the picture of the Babe lying in the manger, with cattle and sheep sleeping round about. Oh, yes, she knew all that very well, but what was a Christmas present?

Then the children began to laugh and to answer her all together. There was such a clatter of tongues that she could hear only a few of the words now and then, such as "chimney," "Santa Claus," "stockings," "reindeer," "Christmas Eve," "candies and toys." Piccola put her hands over her ears and said, "Oh, I can't understand one word. You tell me, Rose." Then Rose told her all about jolly Santa Claus, with his red cheeks and white beard and fur coat, and about his reindeer and sleigh full of toys. "Every Christmas Eve," said Rose, "he comes down the chimney, and fills the stockings of all the good children; so, Piccola, you hang up your stocking, and who knows what a beautiful Christmas present you will find when morning comes!" Of course Piccola thought this was a delightful plan, and was very pleased to hear about it. Then all the children told her of every Christmas Eve they could remember, and of the presents they had had; so that she went home thinking of nothing but dolls and hoops and balls and ribbons and marbles and wagons and kites.

She told her mother about Santa Claus, and her mother seemed to think that perhaps he did not know there was any little girl in that house, and very likely he would not come at all. But Piccola felt very sure Santa Claus would remember her, for her little friends had promised to send a letter up the chimney to remind him.

Christmas Eve came at last. Piccola's mother hurried home from her work; they had their little supper of soup and bread, and soon it was bedtime,—time to get ready for Santa Claus. But oh! Piccola remembered then for the first time that the children had told her she must hang up her stocking, and she hadn't any, and neither had her mother.

How sad, how sad it was! Now Santa Claus would come, and perhaps be angry because he couldn't find any place to put the present.

The poor little girl stood by the fireplace, and the big tears began to run down her cheeks. Just then her mother called to her, "Hurry, Piccola; come to bed." What should she do? But she stopped crying, and tried to think; and in a moment she remembered her wooden shoes, and ran off to get one of them. She put it close to the chimney, and said to herself, "Surely Santa Claus will know what it's there for. He will know I haven't any stockings, so I gave him the shoe instead."

Then she went off happily to her bed, and was asleep almost as soon as she had nestled close to her mother's side.

The sun had only just begun to shine, next morning, when Piccola awoke. With one jump she was out on the floor and running toward the chimney. The wooden shoe was lying where she had left it, but you could never, never guess what was in it.

Piccola had not meant to wake her mother, but this surprise was more than any little girl could bear and yet be quiet; so she danced to the bed with the shoe in her hand, calling, "Mother, mother! look, look! see the present Santa Claus brought me!"

Her mother raised her head and looked into the shoe. "Why, Piccola," she said, "a little chimney swallow nestling in your shoe? What a good Santa Claus to bring you a bird!"

"Good Santa Claus, dear Santa Claus!" cried Piccola; and she kissed her mother and kissed the bird and kissed the shoe, and even threw kisses up the chimney, she was so happy.

When the birdling was taken out of the shoe, they found that he did not try to fly, only to hop about the room; and as they looked closer, they could see that one of his wings was hurt a little.

But the mother bound it up carefully, so that it did not seem to pain him, and he was so gentle that he took a drink of water from a cup, and even ate crumbs and seeds out of Piccola's hands.

She was a proud little girl when she took her Christmas present to show the children in the garden. They had had a great many gifts,—dolls that could say "mamma," bright picture books, trains of cars, toy pianos; but not one of their playthings was alive, like Piccola's birdling. They were as pleased as she, and Rose hunted about the house until she found a large wicker cage that belonged to a blackbird she once had. She gave the cage to Piccola, and the swallow seemed to make himself quite at home in it at once, and sat on the perch winking his bright eyes at the children. Rose had saved a bag of candies for Piccola, and when she went home at last, with the cage and her dear swallow safely inside it, I am sure there was not a happier little girl in the whole country of Italy.

 

* From "The Story Hour," by Wiggins and Smith. Published by consent of the authors and also the publishers—Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

 

Dec 25th

A Visit from St. Nicholas

By Mary B

A Visit from St. Nicholas 

BY CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE

 

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; 

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; 

The children were nestled all snug in their beds; 

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; 

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, 

Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap, 

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, 

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. 

Away to the window I flew like a flash, 

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. 

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, 

Gave a lustre of midday to objects below, 

When what to my wondering eyes did appear, 

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer, 

With a little old driver so lively and quick, 

I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick. 

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, 

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: 

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen! 

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen! 

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! 

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" 

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, 

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; 

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew 

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too— 

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof 

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. 

As I drew in my head, and was turning around, 

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. 

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, 

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; 

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, 

And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. 

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry! 

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! 

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, 

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; 

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, 

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath; 

He had a broad face and a little round belly 

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. 

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, 

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; 

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head 

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; 

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, 

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, 

And laying his finger aside of his nose, 

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; 

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, 

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. 

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight— 

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

May 30th

Common Sense.

By Bill W

I heard this poem many years ago on a radio station and I recorded it onto a cassette tape, I recently played the tape and heard the poem again, so I contacted the radio station asking if they had a copy in print, they duly obliged. Not only is it a very good poem, but the message conveyed is so very true as well. Perhaps our schools should add 'Common Sense' to the curriculum.

 

 

 

 

Common Sense

 

When trouble looms around you and danger lies ahead;

When your faith is almost shattered and your hopes are nearly dead,

There is always something left you - and it's not a mere pretence,

View your difficulties calmly - and use your common sense.

 

When there's talk of strife and danger and rumours fill the air,

When the facts are so distorted, that your views become unfair,

When mere trifles get so magnified until they seem immense,

Just forget your party politics - and use your common sense.

 

Other folks have got their troubles and they've got their point of view;

And it's not in human nature - all to think the same as you,

Try to see things from their angle - "Listen in" to their defence,

And you'll come to some agreement - if you use your common sense.

 

Though we're given brains and judgement - quite a few of us I guess;

Let others do our thinking - with borrowed views impress,

Many other thoughtless people - in this consequence,

Believe the things they wouldn't - if they'd use their common sense.

 

The world was in a turmoil, tempers frayed and feeling sore;

Because a difference of opinion had been pushed right to the fore,

And had grown with each repeating - till it seemed a great offence,

When it would hardly have been noticed - if we'd used our common sense.

 

Now the clouds have all departed - and there's brightness in the air,

And once again instead of strife - there's gladness everywhere,

Now the gloom of yesterday has gone - the feeling of suspense,

It's because when things looked hopeless - SOMEONE USED HIS COMMON SENSE

 

And if we don't see eye to eye, that's really no excuse;

To sacrifice our dignity and indulge in cheap abuse,

That's never very clever and is merely a pretence,

To camouflage our smallness and our lack of common sense.

 

 

Oh yes......I do like that.

  

 

 

 

 

 

May 13th

From: The Daily Mash

By Colin L

breakfast425

BREAKFAST is the least important meal of the day, it has been confirmed.

The morning meal has enjoyed artificially elevated status due to efficient PR spin, but can be easily skipped because it is largely pointless.

Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, said: “The most important meals of the day are, funnily enough, lunch and dinner. You know, actual meals

“Not a piece of hot bread or some bits of wheat with milk inexplicably poured onto them.”

Until the early 1990s, breakfast was widely accepted to be just something to do while reading the paper in the morning.

It was considered inferior to elevenses, a mid-afternoon snack and a midnight feast, which prompted a radical re-think of its marketing strategy.

PR executive Julian Cook said: “My company came up with the slogan: ‘the most important meal of the day’ but it was based on absolutely no solid facts, so we never thought anyone would buy it.

“We were staggered when people started parroting the phrase idiotically as if it were some kind of divine wisdom. It’s a piece of toast, for heaven’s sake.”

May 2nd

Bring back our Lav's and I'll vote for you.

By Bill W

I must have one of those faces that political canvassers and survey people hone-in on. I've just got back from the shops, where I was accosted by two groups of people with colourful rossettes, wanting to know which way I would vote in the local elections and the coming referendum. I asked them, "If I vote for you, will you promise to restore 'Public Toilets' to all towns and villages, as I've had some very traumatic times trying to find them on my travels?" Needless to say, I never got any such assurances. Us blokes (though it's wrong, but needs must) can nip into a shrubery for an urgent wee, but it must be more of a nightmare for the ladies. We get all the usual excuses that the toilets are too expensive to maintain, and vandalism is another problem, I don't accept these glib responses, after all, in the 1940s and 1950s when Britain was up to it's eyes in debt paying off War Loans to America, we had public toilets galore, and kept clean and tidy, so if we are to believe that Britain is the 6th richest nation in the world, why then can we not afford basic facilities for our people. Politicians should bow their heads in shame. Rant over....going for a pee. Ha ha.

Feb 22nd

Cheese triggers the same part of the brain as hard drugs, say scientists

By Colin L

 

Cheese triggers the same part of the brain as hard drugs, say scientists

 

Hooked on cheese? There’s science behind your addiction

 

 

Wedges of cheddar cheese Getty

 

If you regularly find yourself hovering around the cheese board at the Christmas dinner table, helping yourself to seconds or thirds, there may be a scientific explanation as to why you’re unable to tear yourself away. 

 

Researchers from the University of Michigan have revealed that cheese contains a chemical found in addictive drugs.

 

Using the Yale Food Addiction Scale, designed to measure a person’s cravings, the study found that cheese is particularly moreish because it contains casein. 

 

The chemical, which is found in all dairy products, can trigger the brain’s opioid receptors, producing a feeling of euphoria linked to those of hard drug addiction. 

 

500 students were asked to complete a questionnaire to identify food cravings, as part of the study, with pizza topping the list as the most addictive food of all.

 

In addition, they found that the top-ranking foods on the addiction scale were those containing cheese. 

 

Scientists studying dairy products found that in milk, casein has a minuscule dosage. But producing a pound of cheese requires about 10 pounds of milk — with addictive casein coagulating the solid milk fats and separating them from the liquids.

 

As a result the super-strength chemical becomes concentrated when in solid dairy form, so you’ll get a higher hit of addictive casein by tucking into a cheese sandwich than you will in your morning bowl of cereal.

Dec 29th

So Quiet.

By phillip J W

Incredibly quiet round here this week.  I just can't imagen where everyone is. Surely I'm not the only one bored with the Razamataz of modern Christmas, who is looking forward to plain ordinery every day Early Spring?

Once the carols have been sung, the gifts have been given & a celibratery meal has been shared, what more is there?

Surelly not "Winter Sales?"  

Anyway, what ever the reason for the desided hush, I thought I should pop-in to show the flag, stoke-up the fire a bit & fill the kettle, just incase people are around but not wanting to make a first move, like!

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