All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015


You may not have known it but the Christmas Cracker was invented in Clerkenwell. A certain Thomas Smith, confectioner, based in Goswell Road developed it in the 1840s from a Parisian paper-wrapped bon-bon by adding a written message, a toy, a mild explosive and eventually a paper crown.

I had a very religious upbringing so sadly, I am less inclined towards belief these days but it was lovely to walk to Westminster on Christmas Eve for the carols in the abbey. As we stood and the choir sang, I noticed some of my fellow genius loci (and sometime antagonists) but, in honour of the occasion, and the place - elected to set aside centuries old rivalries - well, temporarily at least.

The abbey is always wonderful, not least because it contains 'Poets Corner' - a chapel or chamber which is the very epicentre of English Culture with its extraordinary array of tributes to the literary, musical, political and spiritual heroes of these islands.

Afterwards to Trafalgar Square to inspect the Christmas tree - an annual gift from our Norwegian friends in recognition of British efforts on their behalf in the war against "Hister of the crooked cross'. Very nice - but I thought the crib opposite to be rather feeble - perhaps it is a victim of the credit crunch. The bells of St Martin's-in-the-Field were pealing as we walked backwards home through the frost. Lovely

Anyway, here is that other tune I mentioned and briefly posted. It is rather perky - so watch out. Oh, and a very happy new year to you too.


Daria said...

How can all that compare to the sunny, palm tree'd land of San Diego?
An added bonus:
little huts in Balboa Park that depict the nativity.
Dad says that they are the same figurines used since i was little, but without any upkeep.
Heck, even i have switched to an expensive skin cream....
Happy New Year my dear.
Hope to see you soon.

clerkenwell kid said...

I suppose you're going to tell me there is 1950's Mariarchi playing as well right? - or that Elvis chritmsas album. I'll go green

Might as well give up here and move.

See you somewhere - here or there!

Martijn said...

And a happy new years to you and the fellow other bloggers Stephen.

spillyjane said...

Happy 2010 to you too, Mr Coates.

Sally said...

Hey, great song....and interesting stories too.
Hmmm... London feeds and fascinates me, but at home for the holidays the Cornish seascapes stun, calm and refresh.....I guess no place has everything.
Best wishes for 2010 all xxx

clerkenwell kid said...

Same to you guys.
Keep it coming.

jpka said...

Pity You are unable to accept that God is alive,.

widgetoc said...

Hello, Stephen!
I've been a fan for a long time.

I've recently taken up the ukulele to help get myself through these groggy winter months, and I can't get Kicking the Bucket out of my head. Is there any chance I could get my paws on the uke tabs or chords for that?

And, a bit late but I must join in the fun, Happy New Year :)

Anonymous said...

jpka - your argument in its current form is very unconvincing. [You surely know the form of an argument, not just an assertion- premise(s), conclusion, defense and defend, consider objections]. So is your grammar. And spelling.