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Happy New Year – And Christmas Used To Start In September

Sorry for my prolonged absence from this blog and thank you to those of you that left the kind comments on earlier posts while I was away. Firstly I would like to wish all the readers here a…

happy 2013 bottom

Original image blatantly stolen from Spanking Blogg

And now something that is in reply to a request from Morningstar at The Journey. It is not spanking related, there are no illustrations and my literacy condition will make sure that the grammar and punctuation are terrible. So for the two or three of you who are now left here is a little recollection from times gone bye.

When Christmas used to start in September

It was back in the 1990’s that I needed to go to a friends house to drop off some camera equipment. It was a beautiful Sunday in the first weekend of September and I had decided to walk to my destination. I was happy and usually am during this weekend of the year as it holds fond memories from my childhood and youth.

Back in the 1970’s and 80’s, the first weekend in September or sometimes the last in August was when the family, young and old, descended on my parents house for the yearly ceremony of the making of the Christmas Cake. The largest mixing bowl and cake tin were dug out for their once a year use and all of the measuring and mixing was done by hand, with no mechanical help, as this might bring bad luck to the December celebrations. As the long winded mixing took place, any children in the house would be ushered into the front room, with my father, to help craft some handmade Christmas decorations (it took weeks to vacuum all of the glitter out of the carpet). Whilst all the adults sat in the kitchen topping, tailing and peeling a huge bag of small onions and throwing them into large jars ready for my mother’s special, spicy pickling mixture (that my brother in law blamed as the cause of his ulcers).  Enough onions would be pickled for the whole year but they had to sit until Christmas before they were deemed properly pickled. Nips of Whiskey and other drinks would compensate the peelers for their time and tears and the banter would be light hearted and fun. Eventually The Cake would be ready and all the house would gather to give the mixture three stirs each, for good luck, before it was put in the large cake tin and put in to bake. Between the baking and Christmas, the cake would be doused three times a week with three spoonfuls of Brandy so that it matured properly for the big day. The vinegar and spices would be put in the onion jars and they would be sealed for their maturation period. A tea of sandwiches and cakes would be enjoyed by young and old before people started to drift away home. It was a nice day and personal to our family, with no commercialism or outside pressures to determine how we enjoyed the day and is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Back to the 1990’s. I arrived at my friend’s house and when the door was opened found chaos and bedlam. His four, usually very well behaved, children were in very bad moods and determined to upset their parents in any way that they could. My friend looked decidedly unhappy and his poor wife looked like she was on the point of breakdown. Enquiring into the reason for the situation my friend informed me that the kids were always like this on the last weekend of the long Summer holidays, as were many children facing the return to school and then asked me. Wasn’t it like this, on this weekend, in my house when I was a child? I had to admit to him that it was not and I had to admit to myself that sometimes it can take decades to realize what good parents you have.


During a medical procedure that my mother had over the holidays, to clear fluids from her liver and pancreas, a large cancer was found in her pancreas. At 82 the treatments for such a cancer would be likely to kill my mother before the cancer could be cured and so her condition was pronounced terminal. It is unlikely that she will see the end of 2013 and so I will be travelling back to the UK as often as I can to spend time with her and help with her care ( I am going back on Sunday). This will effect the already limited time I have to spend on this blog and posting will be erratic at times. I apologize for this in advance.


11 responses »

  1. Okay, see if I can type through the tears in my eyes. Thanks for sharing such an awesome time in your life. What a great idea. More importantly, prayers for you and your mom and the rest of your family. I hope that the time remaining is filled with even more happy memories and time of happiness. My mom is 82 also and has not been in the best of health, so your post really hit me hard. Safe travels

    • Sorry to upset you. The memories of “The Christmas cake” was originally going to be one of my pre Christmas scheduled posts and is a happy memory but it seemed somehow relevant to the situation that is faced now. I think we can make the remaining time as good as is possible, thanks for your concern.


  2. Thanks for sharing. Lovely memories. I remember Christmas cake making with my grandmother.

    I was so sorry to read about your mother. You and your family will be in my thoughts and you shouldn’t be apologising Pref. Family more important.

    Love and big hugs to you my friend,

  3. This is a beautiful and touching post. I love those family traditions and the home crafting and baking elements of holidays like Christmas. I am so sorry to hear about your mother and hope you get the chance to share some of these precious memories with her and express to her how much you valued her impact on your childhood during 2013. Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

    I don’t know if we’ll be anywhere near each other, or if you’ll have time/energy for anything other than family, but if you fancy meeting up for a coffee during one of your UK visits, let me know.

    • That cake used to end up so full of alcohol 🙂 I don’t think that anyone makes the type of cake that has to mature any more. Thank you for the good thoughts.

      I would like to meet up for a coffee sometime but I don’t know if it could be possible. I will try to drop you an email during the next couple of weeks.


  4. My grandmother used to make fruitcake each year and I would “help” by picking out as many raisins as I could and eating them before she caught me.

    I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s illness. You are a good son to travel back and forth to spend time with her while you can.


  5. What a beautiful and moving childhood story, Prefectdt! I am very sorry to hear about your mother’s illness. I’ve gone through a similar situation with my mother. And although she was much younger then your mother, I don’t think this makes a big difference in such a situation. Our beloved mothers remain our beloved mothers, no matter how old they are. And we always remain their children, no matter how old we are. I hope that you will be able to share as much time together as possible in the upcoming year. And if you ever want to talk (write) to someone who has been in a similar situation, you are always welcome to send me an e-mail!

    • It was a special time of year for us Kaelah, and it was always surprising how many adults would sometimes turn up, just to peel onions.

      Thanks for the offer, it is good to know that someone is there if needed.


  6. Pingback: I Just Can’t Right Now « SPANKEDHORTIC II

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