Monday, December 24, 2012

And so this is Christmas

click photo to enlarge
Christmas has crept up on me this year. I noticed it coming on a few occasions, but deliberately put it out of my mind except when making and writing a few cards, buying some presents and doing the shopping. Then, suddenly, out of almost nowhere, it's Christmas Eve. My wife has done many of the necessaries required to make Christmas as it should be, and for that I am, once again, grateful. How she puts up living with Scrooge, I don't know!

The appeal of Christmas has declined for me over the years. It's the conspicuous consumption that it entails and the interruptions to my routine that it presents, but mostly because it rarely compares to the Christmases that I so enjoyed when our children were young. Perhaps - and I've just thought of this - Christmas makes me feel my age. Last year I quite enjoyed it and next year, well, who knows? Of course, I'm not alone in my ambivalence towards the festive season. Charles Dickens, whose books both celebrated and helped to define the modern Christmas also had this to say about it (through his character, Scrooge): "Every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart." If that sounds a touch too misanthropic (and I have to say I wouldn't endorse it!) let me make it even more so with Gore Vidal's Christmas greeting: "Meretricious and a Happy New Year", and Samuel Butler's prayer: "Forgive us our Christmases as we forgive those that Christmas against us."

Today's main photograph is the only shot I have from this year that has any connection with the festive season. The two Christmas trees with lights standing on the front of Inigo Jones' superlative building of 1616-19, Queen's House in Greenwich Park, London, are my excuse for posting this image today. However, when I think about it, this post could also be an example to support the thesis of my blog post of earlier this year, "Look behind you", because the shot of Christopher Wren's Old Royal Naval College (formerly the Royal Hospital for Seamen) of 1696-1712, were taken from precisely the same spot as the Queen's House photograph, but looking in the opposite direction

After the downbeat opening of this post perhaps a little uplift is required, so here, in conclusion, are four of my favourite Christmas jokes:

"I bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note attached saying, 'Toys not included'". Anon

"My mother in law has come round to our house at Christmas seven years running. This year we're having a change. We're going to let her in." Les Dawson

"Aren't we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas - the birth of Santa?" Bart Simpson

"It will be a traditional Christmas with presents, crackers, doors slamming and people bursting into tears, but without the dead thing in the middle. We're vegetarians." Victoria Wood

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 40mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/13
ISO: 3200
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On