Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas Pressies From Across The Water And Some Rural Christmas Memories.

I remember back in the late nineteen sixties.  My grandmother would send us a very big and lumpy brown parcel tied up with parcel string.  All the way from Ireland.  It was always so exciting and such a joy watching my mother cut the parcel strings.  My mum knew what was in it but me and my brother never guessed that it was a freshly killed Turkey, an headscarf for my mother, some socks ("the stockings" for my dad) and a pair of leather boots a piece for my brother and me.  There would also be a long handwritten letter of about four or more pages.  Telling us all about the happenings on the farm in West Cork and how she was looking so forward to seeing us all at 'hay making' time next July.  

One Christmas my dad decided to visit his parents at Christmas.  He would go down town and pick up some train and ferry tickets and come home and say to my mum:

"Come on pack the suitcases we are going home tonight."  

He always called Ireland "home" although he lived fifty five years in England.  

My mother would not be an happy bunny and we would hear her say:

"But I have not got any clothes ready."  

A couple of hours later and we were on the boat train to Holyhead in Angle-sea.  You could be pretty certain that the sea would be very rough and it would be packed full of people going "home" for Christmas.  Perhaps Chris Rea was on the journey?  Any road.  The sea got rougher and rougher and people were being thrown about and being sick and nuns started kneeling down and praying like mad...  There was black and white nuns and blue nuns but I didn't see any drinking bottles of German wine...  

We lived to tell the tale and we spent Christmas with no telly (just the wireless) for the news and my granddad bought a plastic baby bath and put a blanket in it and made me a cot.  Lovely memories of a time gone forever.


  1. Lovely memories Dave, isn't it funny I can remember Christmas memories with my Granny and she died in 1977, the special stuff alaways stays with us.
    Have you read the Pete McCarthy books about the projectile vomiting cows on the ferry, too funny.
    The very first time we caught the ferry over to Ireland, our initial ferry was cancelled and we had to travel the next day, ours was the only ferry that sailed that day. The captain said he'd 'give it a go', my goodness I've never seen so many sick people in one place. My hubby says he's never been so sick in his life. Didn't put us off though:)

    1. Thanks Twiggy. You should write down your memories of your garandparents, I have. My dad's parents died in 1971 and 1972.

      Yes I have read both of his books. He's the funniest writer I have ever read. I loved it when he says he used to try to catch leprechauns with a butterfly net on his grandparents farm in Drimoleague.

      We had many a rough journey over the Irish sea. Thanks for sharing your ferry journeys with us!

  2. Nothing like a rough crossing to make you appreciate dry land.

    Crossed the North Sea one night IJmuiden to North Shields, force 12, it was hairy, toilets awash with vomit just like a wave across the floor as the boat moved about. Such fun.

  3. Hi Cumbrian. You soon start crossing your fingers and praying when you get a rough sea. There is a lot to be said for jumping on a plane and hiring a car. The only thing is you can't buy anything big on your trip.

  4. Replies
    1. Aren't they just Frugal Queen. People's faces fade in our memories but our Christmas memories stay with us forever.

  5. Wonderful memories, I can't imagine anyone sending a turkey wrapped in brown paper through the post these days :)

    1. Thanks Chickpea. No they won't let you send meat through the post anymore - sadly. Thanks!

  6. Apologies to John at Going Gently. I attempted to reply to your comment saying you remember watching Jason and the Argonauts with your sister on Christmas Eve and I deleted your comment using my mobile phone. Sorry for that John. Yes I remember Jason in search of the Golden Fleece and Sinbad and the sea monsters.. Great adventure films!


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