GALLIMAUFRY The Spirit Of Christmas" We look at Christmas from an alternative viewpoint
‘The First Lie,’ ‘Oh Come Away Oh Human Child’" A selection of some page-turning original writing
Snowy Photographs "
The best festive " photographs around" "
Apple’s Christmas Line Up" What iPads has" Apple got to " offer?
Must Have Christmas Recipes" Some new recipes" for this festive " season
Top Carol Review" Alternative versions
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Issue 1 December 2013
Hello, and welcome to the first ever edition of The Gallimaufry. It has taken hard work and many hours but finally the team are proud to present what it has all been for. As you know the whole theme was on Christmas (although it it quite obvious from the cover) so we’ve packed this articles with a different view on Christmas; recipes; poems; photos and so much more. Although hard work it has been great fun collecting contributions, designing the magazine and them finally putting it all together. I hope you enjoy this magazine as much as we do and we look forward to seeing you next month!"
THE TEAM " "
" Adrian Sladdin Editor!
" Eddi Goodwin" Co-Editor!
Charles Sladdin Designer and IT CoOrdinator!
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COVER The Spirit of Christmas Adrian Sladdin gives us a look at Christmas from a different angle this year! COVER Come Away, O Human Child A short story written by Ian Thompson puts us in a world without children… “Poems…” Poems from a range of authors around the country but
Winter Wonderland A selection of snowy photographs contributed by Andrew Davies COVER Gadget Review Charles Sladdin takes a look at Apple’s iPad line-up for this year COVER Recipes" A few recipes to get your taste buds tingling for the holidays
COVER The First Lie A short story by Eddi Goodwin COVER Carol Review A Review on one of the most famous carols!" Snow A short story by Helen Harrison
Canada at Christmas A selection of snowy photos by Caroline Patterson The Great ‘Parvila’" A short story by Isobel Logan Christmas Literature Harold Pangbourne looks at the books you could read during the festive period ‘Oh Christmas Tree’" A selection of photos of some traditional Christmas decorations by Charles Sladdin
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INTRODUCTION Does the world need another magazine? Are the shelves of the local newsagents not already awash with them? Is it really appropriate to add to the list, especially in the shape of a Christmas issue? That would be yes, yes and yes, if the Gallimaufry is to succeed, so no pressure then. If you hadn’t grasped the concept already, then we should explain that the Gallimaufry is free online, is a not-for profit organization and allows you to read a variety of articles which, we promise, will avoid comment on any talent shows, television soaps, cookery competitions, celebrity snaps and gossip, diets and the other subjects we choose to avoid. What then, you cry, will be in there? What is there left to read?
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ADRIAN SLADDIN Ediitor
This issue will contain current affairs, new writing, reviews of books, films and more, real recipes (which people actually cook), fantastic photographs from around the globe, reviews on music, global comment and more. The best part of this is that anyone can send in an article and anyone can share the Gallimaufry through Facebook or e-mail. If you like what you see, invite your friends to like the page and share the magazine with your friends around the world. As an editorial team, we’ll always try to include quality material, innovative ideas and engaging articles; at this stage the magazine may well create itself through what comes through from you will be at the heart of that. Oh, and Christmas? Yes, we’ll cover that throughout the magazine in a series of articles to c e l e b ra t e t h e d ay i t s e l f a s w e l l a s t h e preparations for it. So, read, enjoy and spread the word!
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“THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS” WE LOOK AT CHRISTMAS FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE As a family we like to gather round a hot television set at Christmas time and witness the myriad delights flicker on the screen, reminding us of why this festival is so important in our lives, swapping from channel to channel to catch as many Christmas specials as we can before midnight. The artificial Christmas tree, leaning slightly, is covered by a generous splash of baubles but is sadly let down by the paucity of lights which we fail to update every year, with one set flickering and the other as constant as the star which the Wise Men followed. On our laps some plates filled with Aldi sausage rolls, this year’s winner in the most succulent, bite-size Christmas lapsnack competition, with a generous eight stars in the Daily Mail (though only seven in The Sun) and by our sides rich Rioja in bumper glasses as a sign of our commitment to lavish celebration. In South Norwood a gentle South London drizzle falls throughout the day, the closest we will get to a white Christmas for another year, though the house is cold enough to suggest the Wintry scenes which fill the majority of Christmas cards strung across the room on refugee washing lines each year which criss-cross the air. Some friends send us religious cards, though we try to hide these from view, preferring the
symbolism of robins, deer and golden retrievers in Christmas hats. This year we also introduced the children to our new-style Advent calendars which we sourced empty from IKEA. Each day was then filled with a token for a burger and chips, chicken nugget or kebab at a local fast food restaurant which they thought was really great and so much better than a picture of a lamb, a donkey or baby Jesus in his manger behind the door. That’s what I call a real surprise and certainly more in the spirit of Christmas! I suppose that’s part of the trouble with Christmas these days and that is people always harking back to the good old days. We’ve been to recreations of the Nativity, mediaeval markets with a hog roast and men in tights and Victorian evenings with ladies in bonnets singing ‘God rest ye merry gentlemen’ ad nauseam and they are universally awful. Give me Cliff Richard, The Pogues and Boney M any day of the week and a few re-runs of Top of the Po p s C h r i s t m a s s h o w s f r o m t h e seventies as well as a bit of Miley Cyrus and One Direction for the younger generation; that’s what makes you feel all ‘Christmassy’. The other key to Christmas happiness is spending. The more you spend, the happier you are, is how I see it, so it’s nice to reward the kids by having a few stocking-fillers like iPhones and iPods so they don’t feel too disappointed if the main present is only a car or a horse. It’s very hard to judge, isn’t it? For our wider family we try just to give money as it’s easier not be obliged to find something, particularly if you don’t know what they like. We tend to exchange amazon vouchers these days as well which, as my wife says, is nice. 4 of 32
The Gallimaufry It’s also important to keep your strength and stamina up over the ‘festive season’, as I believe it is now called or ‘Whitemas’ – very clever indeed, that. So, as I was saying, food and drink in large amounts is ‘de rigeur’ and we try to roast beef on Christmas Eve, turkey on Christmas Day and ham on Boxing Day, all washed down with a few tins of lager and some vodka. Inbetween we’ll just snack by getting a pizza delivered for each of us to save on the cooking. It can be that simple! And why do you need to be strong? Well, it’s not easy getting up and out the door for the B ox i n g D ay s a l e s , scoping for 50% off a mattress, £60 off a handbag or getting a b a r g a i n f l a t- s c r e e n television with only a small scratch for less than you’d pay at Tesco. What a great day out; it really lifts the spirit to know that on this most special day of the year, the more you spend, the more you save.
Christmas lights; this year we’ve added two Rudolphs which looks like it’s running over the roof. Due to the costs, we can’t afford to have it on most evenings but that doesn’t stop mothers with pushchairs stopping outside and pointing out that this is the “Christmas House” in South Norwood. It does make me proud and I shall continue this tradition until my dying day.
Of course, we’ve got some friends next door who spend all their time down at the church with Carol Services, ‘Christingle’ Services, Midnight Mass and much much more. We can’ t understand how they find time to do any of the enjoyable stuff, if they are always hanging round singing carols and saying prayers. Still, each to his or her own, I say, and as long as they don’t offend others with their religion, that’s fine with me.
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I could go on but it’s time for a Christmas t a l e n t show; it might be that we f i n d someone very special indeed which I believe is what Christmas has always been about.
“OH COME ALL YE FAITHLESS!”
One of the other annual treats for me is loading the outside of our house with
" By Adrian Sladdin Editor
Photo: Rachael A K, Flickr
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“COME AWAY, O HUMAN CHILD” A SHORT STORY
The first child disappeared in Lincoln, just outside M&S. He was about six. Sporting trainers with flashing lights at the heels, he had spiky black hair and a button nose. Without a word of warning, he let go of his mother’s hand, swivelled as if he had been turned around by an invisible touch on the shoulder, became twodimensional like a playing card, and slipped, like a posted letter, into a crack between the paving stones. During the course of that morning, over four hundred boys and girls, all under ten, vanished in the same manner, slipping into cracks in the pavement as if they’d been filed away. A colourful group of laughing, babbling, primary schoolchildren, walking in pairs alongside the Brayford Pool with their beaming teachers, suddenly vapourised into a thin mist, were wafted over the water, and were t h e n ra p i d l y s w e p t u p i n t o t h e slipstream of a flight of swans. In the afternoon, a baby girl, being baptised in the cathedral, turned into a sparkling golden liquid, which poured out of the christening robe of ivory lace that had been in the family for eleven generations into the ancient black font. There she promptly evaporated and was never seen again. At evensong, the younger choristers were lifted by their surplices, like tufts of thistledown, into the air under the vaulting. Then, with the softest of detonations, they were all extinguished, except for two trebles, a boy and a girl. These two soared in a glorious kyrie above the nave, spiralled and shivered into a multi-coloured
The Gallimaufry and shivered into a multi-coloured glitter, which floated up into the high tower at the crossing, and then, growing ever fainter, was breathed out through the grotesques on the south side of the Minster, there to dissolve in the hot tremulous air of the city’s traffic. Over the next few days, the disappearances spread throughout the county. In Louth, babies in buggies turned into fluorescent, soapy bubbles, which swirled around for a few moments, reflecting all the colours of the High Street. Then they burst, leaving only a little dampness on the plastic seats. In Skegness, all the children of the town atomised at once, and the mist swirled unnoticed around the legs of the tourists and the phlegmatic donkeys, to be whisked by the bracing wind, out over the North Sea. In Cleethorpes and in Mablethorpe, they just dissolved into the warm sea fog, like sugar in tea. At about the same time, all the children of Boston sublimated into a rushing cloud of steam which rushed just above the surface of the ground to Boston Stump, where they were sucked up the spiral stone staircases and exhaled invisibly into the air. Within a month, all the children of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland had vanished, sliding into the pavement, melting and leaking into lawns, sucked up into great public monuments, or swept along the surface of the Severn, the Tyne and the Thames in a coruscating, chromatic haze. Within a year, all but one of the children of the world were gone. They were hoovered up by twisters in the American Midwest; they dried out in the Australian Outback and fell to the 6 of 32
The Gallimaufry the Australian Outback and fell to the ground in a dust so fine that it was invisible; in India they were simply washed away by the monsoon, and in China, the whole child population swelled the mighty torrents of the Yellow River as it rushed through the Nine Provinces and emptied the children’s mingled atoms to dissipate in the Bohai Sea.
servants seemed to understand what was happening only in terms of balance sheets and cost-benefit analysis, began to phase out child allowances and family tax credit, along with maternity and paternity payments. People were still having sex, of course, with even greater enthusiasm and inventiveness, but no new children were born. A kind of global amnesia ensured that this loss of fertility went unremarked. Divorces The remarkable thing was that rates tumbled in the West. In China and nobody noticed, or seemed to mind. India, and in Africa, the population explosion was halted, steadied, and For a long time, things carried on went into reverse. In the United much as they had before. Young Kingdom, for several successive years, mothers still wheeled their pushchairs the Chancellor of the Exchequer, up and down the High Street, blocked beaming from ear to ear, was able to the narrow aisles of HMV, and parked hold up the battered red box outside them in clusters outside Starbucks, but Number 11 on budget day and they were quite empty. Some residual announce fabulous increases in the maternal instinct still had them state pension. Older people were not plumping pillows and adjusting covers, only granted bus passes for life but free but there was no one there. People still and unlimited rail travel too. From bought Pampers and November to baby oil and jars of b a b y f o o d i n a n “COME AWAY, O HUMAN CHILD! F e b r u a r y , t h e state would now automatic sort of TO THE WATERS AND THE pay all fuel bills to way and then just people over fiftys t o r e d i t a w a y . WILD Schools still opened WITH A FAERY, HAND IN HAND, five years of age. As people began and teachers taught FOR THE WORLD’S MORE FULL to retire earlier classes to empty OF WEEPING THAN YOU CAN and e a r l i e r, classrooms, while t e e n a g e m a n a g e m e n t UNDERSTAND” unemployment continued to create was unlocked. ways of occupying Expensive salaries their time, with no longer paid out to ageing employees surveys, training, questionnaires, turned into comfortable job briefings, inspections, scrutiny and opportunities for the young. Youth crime meetings. Whether the lessons figures plummeted. It felt like a golden improved in quality in the absence of age. the children was a moot point. It was certainly quieter. Paediatric wards were quiet too. The beds were immaculate, their hospital corners crisp and razor sharp, but there was no-one in them. All the toys were tidied away and the nurses had time to work on creative displays and to gossip at the nurses’
There were unexpected consequences as there always are in a change of the weather, of demography, or diet. There were no children to zoom around pubs unreproved by indulgent 7 of 32
The Gallimaufry parents, who had been used to treating licensed premises like a crĂ¨che. No longer would they bribe their offspring with sugary drinks and crisps to go and bother others and get under the feet of beleaguered waitresses. In fact, women began to forget about pubs altogether. Gastropubs died. The day of the Slug and Lettuce was over. The Rose and Crown, the Royal George, the William IV, and the Eagle and Child returned as the proper preserve and refuge of men. True, the breweries became less interested in decor and soft furnishings and bars quickly reacquired a certain dinginess. Menus dwindled again to cheese and ham rolls, pie and peas, and, inexplicably, pickled eggs made a reappearance. Teenagers still had their noisy clubs, of course, with their sticky carpets and vomit-splashed toilets, but eventually there were no more teenagers.
Rail travel became infinitely less stressful.
During these years, many people noticed that a strange and compelling figure was putting in appearances around the globe. He was first seen in the Arboretum in Lincoln leaning against the ornate bandstand. He wore a straw hat stuffed with feathers and fresh flowers which never seemed to fade, a white shirt with voluminous sleeves, over which were two sashes, one green and one red, black breeches with a blue cummerbund, white stockings and black, dusty brogues. Around his upper arms there were bands with many silver bells and on his braided gaiters there were many more. His face was blackened with boot polish. He carried a tabor, on which he tapped a mesmeric beat, and on a little silver pipe, he played a warbling
melody somewhere between the song of a blackbird and the gargling of water as a bath empties. He would be seen talking to the winos in the green metal shelter under the monkey puzzle tree and then he would dance for them, the bells jingling madly. All the while, he wore a fixed, thin-lipped smile. â€¨ In no time at all, it seemed, social websites reported sightings of an identical man, sometimes in widely separated places, simultaneously. Photographs were posted of him dancing outside the High School in Morristown, New Jersey; in the public g a r d e n s i n H a m e l i n , We s t e r n Australia; outside City Hall in Lincoln, Nebraska; at the University campus in P i p e r t o w n , S a l i n e C o u n t y, Missouri; outside Le Petit Tambour Hotel near Calais; and outside the Maison de Champagne PuperHeidsieck in Rheims. He was seen in Poland and Lithuania, Mexico and Lesotho, and always with the same thin-lipped smile. He never spoke except to vagrants and to the inebriated, who, later, could never remember anything about the conversation. No-one could discover anything about his identity.
Now, round about the time the last teenager turned twenty, people began at last to miss the missing children. It may have been because they had become bored with themselves or it may have been because colour began to leach from the world. This happened infinitesimally slowly so that no-one quite believed the evidence of their own eyes. It was as imperceptible as the slowest imaginable fade to black in a theatre. For two months it went 8 of 32
The Gallimaufry unremarked, just like the disappearance of the children. The sky took on the colour of dirty linen and the disc of the sun, when it was seen at all, became white. All depth of colour seep ed from the fi el ds, and the crocuses, when they bloomed, were the palest of pastels, and the trumpets of the daffodils were grey, not gold. Colour drained from the faces of people too, and before long, there were no more blue and green eyes, no flaxen hair, no cherry lips, no blushes. Not even cosmetics prevented the leaking of colour from the world, because the lipsticks, and powders and lotions all turned to variegated shades of grey. In the end, the whole planet became like an over-exposed black and white photograph from long ago.
Then it began to rain. It began to rain in April, and it hasnâ€™t stopped since. Some blamed the bankers, many blamed the politicians. Some Christians blamed gay marriage, an epidemic of fornication and the ordination of women bishops. Other evangelicals muttered that the iniquity of the fathers was being visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generations. The Daily Mail blamed wind farms; The BBC and the press blamed climate change. The elderly would have blamed the young, had there been any young left.
The only splash of colour, a dazzle of red and blue, and yellow and green, in the whole ghostly monochrome world, was the man with the thin, obstinate smile and the jingling silver bells. The flowers in his hat were still fresh and vibrant and the feathers as bright as ever but he was seen less often, and no longer danced or played his pipe and drum. Instead, he was seen pushing a little boy in a wheelchair, whose wasted legs were in callipers. The
little boy never aged or grew, but in his eyes was the heartache of the world for the loss of colour and the absence of children. And then one day, as drab as any other, just outside M & S in Lincoln, England, the man went off. He went off like a Roman candle, sending out four coloured balls of fire pursued by white streaks of flame. One ball was crimson, one cobalt blue, one electric green, and one a dazzling white. These in turn burst into stars of golden sparks fretted with red ones like rubies or p o m e g ra n a t e s e e d s . T h e s p a r k s showered towards the earth but faded and vanished in wreathes of smoke long before they could land. Instead, a couple of handfuls of tiny bells, suddenly struck the ground and bounced on the pavement, jingling as they rolled apart, and shortly afterwards, a bright blue cummerbund fluttered down and collapsed on the flags. The smell of burning lingered in the air. The boy in the wheelchair wept softly in the rain, amid the astonished crowd. He wept for the playmates he had never had and would never have. And he wept for the man with the pipe and the tabor, and the flowers in his hat, who had left him behind and alone for ever.
By Ian Thompson
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Now on iPad
See p21 for more details 10 of 32 App Store is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.
“POEMS…” The Pages’ Story"
“I tread obediently in your soft footprints in the snow which thread deeper and deeper through the Winter forest. It is so cold, so cold this Christmas, and yet where you lead I follow. Is it love or duty? Devotion? Or the beauty which surrounds us? No, none of these. You have led my desires, my intentions, my mind. For all these years now, through each of God’s seasons, through the changing climates of life. By choosing always to press on, to go forward without hesitation, to look at the distant horizon, to look at the distant horizon. Even as the sun bears down its fiery soul upon it. And to see a destination, a hope fixed in the future and to step out. I follow you, My King.”"
By Adrian Sladdin
Now, winter Feathered mornings prowl stealthily into burrows, I too have followed, joined them in their caliginous abyss And to the harrowing ices Slip; sharp, an inundation of time physically bound, wound rigidly in those crystalline shards. A friendly dagger hangs indiﬀerently above a nightingale Skirting, skipping over the sly grandeur of ice Her song swimming gently over the yawning expanse of its mouth, performing its beauteous ballet over the marble lands Through, in, under now Oh winter, you dog, your arsenic tricks! Her song a screaming beating now, clawing at the cage of January Bellowing to stillness The sparrows could not quite see her there, A broken façade fragmented to abstraction, her screams introverted pieces of her own body. And how you held her, picturesque through January, February, March Crippled in a hungry cavern of absence The moon would hover nearby, proﬀer wilting light sometimes A single glistening ream upon her forehead Until, even she, gathered her reams of silk and fled. And It was vacuous, devoid, paralyzed Her brittle song muted, gone A plethora of tears crawled stagnantly across the gibbering skies. But from an honest dawn, a faraway country of health, came the slow embrace of thaw And brought with it the burning stench of ripe sunsets, caressing the alabaster country, Grasping now her darkened song rising laboriously up from the mire, aged, vehement, scorched by marble hands And with irascible and infantile limbs, Emerging with wings a zealous red Excoriated winter with her breath
By Eleanor Perry 11 of 32
Photo: Libby Dorazione, Flickr
WINTER WONDERLAND BY ANDREW DAVIES
A selection of snowy photographs from the Highlands Scotland
‘A SNOWY PAIR’
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‘THE RIVER DEE’
‘NORTHERN CRAINGORM’ 13 of 32
A LOOK AT APPLE’S iPAD LINE-UP
AS CHRISTMAS FAST APPROACHES WE TAKE A LOOK AT ALL THE iPADS APPLE HAS TO OFFER If you follow Apple closely, like I do, you will know that at the end of October they released two new iPads. The all-new iPad Air and the upgrade of the iPad Mini with Retina display. The iPad Air, named after the well known MacBook Air is as Johnny Ive said “only 7.5mm thick and weighs in at only 1 pound” compared to the iPad 2 which weighs 1.33 pound. Although not a significant difference on paper in real life the difference is significant when holding it and doing work. Dan Riccio commented that the basis of the iPad Air was to “redefine mobile computing”. The iPad Air has been a long time in the making, Apple have spent years working on this project perfecting it but only now releasing it. Although the size of the battery got smaller, to make the iPad lighter, it still boasts a whopping 10 hour battery life which is the same as the iPad 2. Johnny Ive described how their was a certain any iPad is “defined by the way you use it” from composing songs to writing articles. The Display on the iPad Air is fantastic, with a 9.7 inch Retina display everything you do on your iPad look so much better. It also has upgraded Wi-Fi systems, with dual channel 802.11n Wi-Fi and MIMO meaning 300 Mbps. The camera has also been upgraded with 5MP, Autofocus, Face detection and so much more. If your filming you have and 1080p HD video recorder to it on with 3x zoom! The FaceTime camera now has 1.2MP photo capabilities and 720p HD video so you can see your friends and family so much clearer.
clearer. All in all the new iPad Air is incredible and Apple have really shown that in their advert. You see a pencil, the classic American voice says “it has been everywhere, classroom, outer space, the jungle and is used by so many people, scientists, teachers, doctors”. You think ‘what, a pencil’ then the iPad Air lifts up behind it. The first thing is that their is a new iPad but when you think about, you realise that the new iPad is as thin as a pencil. "
One main feature that comes with the iPad Air is of course iOS 7, with its sleek, minimalistic look and brand new app icons. Apple took a massive leap from iOS 6 to the all-new iOS 7. There is so much to say about the new software from its design all the way to its new features. Johnny Ive, who lead the design of the new system, described how the basis of his ideas was “profound and enduring beauty of simplicity”. He says how the “design is so much more than how something looks” and describes how he shows this throughout the software. Their is a whole new structure which is applied throughout the whole system; Apple has not just remodelled and redesigned the main features of iOS but they go all the way to the tiniest details such as changing the fonts which is not even noticed by many people. Now I could do what every review does talk about the new features how good they are; what lets the down but no, I want to make this more about the design. "
" So here we go…" "
The new app icons for iOS 7 were designed via a new “grid structure to allow more harmonious relationship” and they introduced a whole new palette of colours to give the system a more modern feel. When watching the official video of iOS 7 it is like they are personifying their new system. Apple talk about the introduction of “layers to create hierarchy and order” to give their new system more “depth and vitality”. This is not surprising due to the level and secrecy and perfection they put into every single new product, system and upgrade to make sure 14 of 32
The Gallimaufry nothing has been overlooked. They also let you play a part in designing iOS 7, this comes in the form of changing wallpapers. When you change them, the layers of your lock screen; brand new control centre and notifications change to blend in with it. This is, to quote Apple, “to make iPhone, your phone”. What Apple also hoped to achieve with iOS 7 was to “take something old, to make it more familiar”. We all know the layout of an iPhone with iOS 6 with the messages app; maps; photos…and then to make it new and more modern but keeping that vital sense of familiarity. The best way to summarise this is by what Johnny Ive said “it is all about defining an important new direction and beginning”."
Usually when you see ‘Mini’ added to a product you think ”what substitution have they made” but not this time. Apple have put everything into their new iPad Mini. Now, the one thing every Apple fan was asking for was upgrade for the iPad Mini and more specifically Retina Display. So Apple gave in to ‘peer pressure’ and they released the iPad Mini with Retina Display to a very happy audience at their October Special Event. On their website, Apple describes the new iPad Mini as “Any way you look at it, iPad mini is just incredible. And the stunning Retina display is only the beginning. With a new A7 chip, advanced wireless and powerful apps — all beautifully integrated with iOS 7 — iPad mini with Retina display lets you do more than you ever imagined.” This is indeed true. I was lucky enough to try out the new iPad Mini the day it came out in Britain at my local Apple Store. The Retina Display with 3.1 million pixels (1 million more than an HDTV) gives your photos the display they deserve. It has a 2048 x 1536 display which is the same as the iPad Air but this iPad is 1.8 inches smaller thus meaning a better display. Now the iPad mini comes in at 7.5mm thin but this is the
amazing part weighs in at 331g (or 0.73 pounds). Inside this wonderful piece of design is the new A7 chip which makes everything you do on an iPad faster and more responsive which is because it is faster, 4x faster! Now this iPad is smaller and lighter than the iPad 2,3,4 and Air but it still has an impressive 10 hour battery life. This isn’t because the A7 chip is more powerful but more efficient meaning you do things for longer. Another thing that comes with the new iPad Mini with Retina is the improved Wi-FI. It has twice the Wi-Fi performance due to the two antennas imbedded inside but also thanks to Apple’s new MIMO technology (multiple-input multiple-output). It has dualband (2.4GHz and 5GHZ) 802.11n Wi-Fi meaning it can reach an impressive 300 Mbps, which is double the rate of the previous iPad Mini. These features are exactly the same as the iPad Air with Wi-Fi, Display and more. This means there is no substitution when picking an iPad. The only decision you have to make is which display you prefer the 7.9 inch or the 9.7 inch"
“TO MAKE " new that Apple iPHONE, YOUR Something have started to include in all new iOS devices (eg iPad Air) is the inclusion of the iLife, PHONE” iPhoto, GarageBand and iMovie, apps and the iWork, Pages, Keynote and Numbers, apps. This means the £6.99 you could’ve spent on the iWork apps or the £2.99 on the iLife apps can now be saved. This was quite irritating for everyone who had already bought them, for example me! But this does mean that you can do more with your iPad editing photos, making cool movies or making others presentation look like cave paintings compared to yours!"
Now back in April 2010 I remember reading on our families computer about a revolutionary new product that would change the world of computers and laptops, the iPad. The new ‘tablet computer’ that could everything a computer could (apart from Java and Flash etc). Writing documents, looking at 15 of 32
The Gallimaufry photos, watch films. I was 11 at the time and priced at some large price I couldn’t even bear to look at I never thought I’d own anything like that and an MP3 player was the closest I ever got at that age. But my point is that over 3 years the line up of iPads has got larger and so much more advanced. The original iPad weighed in at 1.5 pounds which compared to a laptop was extraordinary. It was 13mm thick which compared to the new 7.5mm iPads is strange to think of, but at that time the iPad was brand new technology. It didn’t even have a camera was my first thought! Then came the iPad 2, slightly thinner, slightly lighter but it had a camera. Then the new iPad 3 with advanced displays. The iPad 4 (which had Retina display) was briefly announced at an event in 2012. No one knew it existed for months! Today looking at the line up on the Apple website you see the iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Mini with Retina Display and still standing strong, iPad 2. Why the iPad 2? Why keep them going? The answer was that Apple wanted to continue selling a full size iPad at an affordable price. "
Original iPad Wi-Fi and 3G
What still amazes me is how Apple can think of new ideas. The breakthrough of the iPad changed the world of technology forever. Thinking up new ideas for upgrades, new models, better designs is so difficult but when they come out you think, ‘why didn’t I realise that?’. That is why Johnny Ive has been awarded not only a CBE but a KBE. He still astonishes me with his new ideas and long may they continue."
iPad 3 and iPad 4
By Charles Sladdin" Designer and IT Co-Ordinator"
PRICES iPad Air - £399+ (Wi-Fi) £499+ (Cellular) iPad 2 - £329 (Wi-Fi) £429 (Cellular) iPad Mini - £249 (Wi-Fi) £349 (Cellular)" iPad Mini - £319+ (Wi-Fi) £419+ (Cellular) Photos: Janitors; Sidduz; inUse Consulting; Yutaka Tsutano; Closari and Tim RT, Flickr
iPad Mini 16 of 32
MARZIPAN FRUITS LITTLE MARZIPAN FRUITS THAT MAKE GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFTS YOU WILL NEED:" Packet of yellow/golden marzipan cut into small balls 1 inch in diameter.! Food colouring –orange, green and pink - gel ones are the best! Tablespoon of cocoa powder! Caster sugar in a bowl! Cocktail stick! Cloves – small round heads for citrus fruits! Petits fours cases! Cheese grater and knife!
RECIPES A SELECTION OF RECIPES TO GET YOUR TASTE BUDS TINGLING FOR THIS FESTIVE SEASON!
This traditional Scottish dessert of oats, cream, whisky and raspberries is a delicious alternative to trifle.
"Grapefruits and Lemons -"
Roll the marzipan into a ball " For lemons – form into lemon shape." Roll gently across the small section of the cheese garter to achieve the rough peel effect." Stick a clove head into one end."
Roll the marzipan into a ball then stretch it out to make a banana." Dip the ends in cocoa and use a cocktail stick covered in cocoa to mark streaks along the sides."
"Oranges and Peaches"
Using a small amount of orange food colouring, dip the marzipan ball into it and roll it round in your hand. For the oranges roll across the grater and add a clove head. For the peaches roll them in caster sugar only."
"Strawberries and Cherries"
For the strawberries, roll the marzipan in the pink colouring and form into a strawberry shape. Cover in sugar and then make a small hole with the cocktail stick in the top. Add a tiny piece of greencoloured marzipan and marks crosses on the end for the leaf. For the cherries, divide a piece of marzipan into three smaller pieces and make as per the peaches. Roll a small piece of marzipan in cocoa and put between the three cherries to form a stem."
570ml/1 pint double cream" 85g/3oz porridge oats" 7 tbsp whisky" 3 tbsp honey" 450g/1lb raspberries" fresh mint, to garnish"
" Preparation method" "
Toast the oats in a frying pan, being careful not to burn them."
Lightly whip the cream until it reaches the soft peak stage, then fold in the whisky, honey, oatmeal and raspberries."
Serve in dessert glasses garnished with a few raspberries and mint."
From Katie Davies"
"Apples and Pears"
Roll the balls in green colouring. For the pears, form into a pear shape. Dip your finger into the pink colouring to add red blushes. Make a small hole at the top and add a stem made from a small piece of marzipan rolled in cocoa." Put each fruit into a petit four case and arrange them into a box mixing up the fruits."
From Jane Sladdin
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“THE FIRST LIE”
match. On the tube I concentrate on not asking him anything about the sisters. This is so hard that I find myself virtually mute by the time we get to the restaurant. My hand is sweaty in his."
‘They’re just my sisters,’ he says."
One of the sisters waves a plump arm at us, bracelets jangling, fringed shawl dragging. She is wearing a huge pair of flashing reindeer antlers."
A SHORT STORY
‘I know, but why do there have to be so many of them? And why do I have to meet them all in one go?’ I wave the mascara wand at him in the mirror." ‘God, Chloe, you’re making such a big deal out of this.’ Gil rolls over, reaches for the newspaper. Tears spring to my eyes and the carefully applied shadow blurs. It’s a new colour for me; lilac or pale purple, although its name is much fancier than that. Apparently it suits everyone. It probably would look nice if I could get it to stay on. My eyes are brown and wide and prone to a kind of tragic sadness which people respond to with alarm or annoyance, depending on .....well, all kinds of things. Right now I am annoying him. I narrow my eyes in the mirror, aiming for a sophisticated smoulder, but I just look sly." ‘I want them to like me.’ " ‘I like you,’ he replies" I smile. But what I really want from his sisters is much more complicated than mere liking. What I need is an acknowledgement of my superior and more compelling claim on their brother." ‘We’re going to be late.’ He stands up, stretches his arms up high, arches his back. He’s small, but well-muscled, compact. " I apply lip gloss quickly, lips so much easier than eyes." ‘Is this top OK?’ I adjust the neck. It’s a pretty blouse, white with tiny blue flowers and a scalloped collar. New for the occasion. I had my hair done too. " He’s gathering his keys and wallet. ‘Yes, fine,’ he responds without looking at me." I won’t push it. Now isn’t the time. We need to present a united front, a happy couple, a perfect
As we approach the table a whole pile of ‘b’ words assault me; busty, buxom, big, blonde, bubbly – the sisters are all of those. And noisy! Their shrieks and laughter travel across the restaurant."
I want to turn, run, drag Gil with me. I slow right down. ‘C’mon, Chlo,’ he says. ‘Be brave. They don’t bite. Well ....not any more. They used to take chunks out of me when we were little.’" It takes forever to get to them. With each step I feel my confidence leaching out through the soles of my feet. My height becomes a stoop; suddenly I’m not slim but bony, not brunette but mousey, not pale but sickly, more angular, sharper. My carefully chosen, neat clothes become frumpy and dull. My leather boots are just sensible. My bobbed hair is like a helmet under the neat beanie." The sisters quieten down slowly and bend their heads together, whispering. By the time we finally reach the table there is silence. Then one jumps up and flings herself at Gil, a bear hug which wrenches his hand from mine." ‘Oh my darling little brother,’ she gasps. ‘My heart is breaking with missing you. I’m practically wasting away with distress.’ She rocks him from side to side and they bang into another table. The shawl falls to the floor. Huge fluffy Christmas trees hang from her ears. Christmas……the time when all accepted norms of behaviour, taste and restraint are inexplicably suspended. " Gil laughs. He actually laughs and even goes along with the rocking for a while, before shoving her away." ‘Yeah,’ he says, poking his sister’s belly. ‘I can see how very distressed you’ve been, you great fat porker.’ I suck in my breath and my arms wrap instinctively over my own flat stomach. I work hard at the gym to keep myself toned. But the sister just giggles.
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The Gallimaufry Lissy just laughs. Lissy obviously laughs a lot. The other sister pats the bench beside her. ‘Sit down, Chloe,’ she says. ‘Ignore Lissy. She’s just a brat. I’m George. For Georgina of course.’ I squeeze into the space. George is even larger, enormous breasts, her flesh overflowing her jeans in an impressive muffin top, barely disguised by the huge woolly cardigan draped over her. Her hair is messy and greasy. I try not to let any part of me touch her. ‘Nella’s late,’ Gil says. It’s a statement, not a question. Nella is his younger sister. Georgina, Melissa and Penelope. Ridiculous names. Overblown, in-your-face. Even Gilbert is hardly a common name. He’s the only Gilbert I’ve ever met. Chloe seems like a mean, tight little name.
that you don’t have to do anything about it.’ ‘Yeah, but look.’ George opens her cardigan to reveal two spreading wet patches over her nipples. ‘I can’t ignore it. My rampant hormones make me produce milk when a baby cries.’ She dabs at her chest with the edge of the cardigan. They start to shake with laughter. Their voices become shrieks. ‘I smell like a dairy. Humph asked if we had some old cheese rotting in the fridge the other day.’ Lissy rocks back and forth. ‘I had to make this big performance of clearing out the fridge, then shower quick!’ They are crying now, swiping at their red faces with cardigans and shawls. The smile on my face is frozen. Where the hell is Gil? ‘How old is your baby?’ I manage to ask when George calms down a bit. ‘Three months. He’s just the most gorgeous, yummy thing. But a total pain of course.’
‘Drinks?’ he asks. George and Lissy order f a n c y, e x p e n s i v e , c o c k t a i l s w i t h complicated instructions about umbrellas and olives.
‘What’s his name?’
‘Dry white wine,’ I say. ‘A large one.’
‘Yeah, but we call him Pongo now. calls him Pongo.’
I want to leap up and follow him to the bar but that would be cowardly. I am not a coward. A baby at a nearby table lets out a wail. ‘Oh bloody hell,’ George mutters. ‘I go to all this trouble to leave my sprog behind so I can have a bit of grown-up time and what happens? Some cow insists on bringing her brat along and I have to listen to it scream. I might as well be at home.’ ‘Ignore it,’ Lissy says. ‘Just enjoy the fact that you don’t have to do anything about it.’ ‘Yeah, but look.’ George opens her cardigan to reveal two spreading wet patches over her nipples. ‘I can’t ignore it. My rampant hormones make me produce milk when a
‘Sam.’ ‘That’s nice.’ And relatively normal. Everyone
‘Because he pongs,’ Lissy points out. ‘Of poo, mostly. Sometimes of sick.’ Oh, where is Gil? ‘What do you do?’ I ask Lissy. job.’
‘I mean, your
‘I’m a glorified secretary at Bexter Cloverfield.’ She sounds bored. ‘How long have you been there?’ ‘Two years,’ she snaps. ‘But I don’t want to talk about work. I mean work is work and it’s so dull.’ ‘Shut up, Lissy,’ George says. ‘Your work is crap but maybe Chloe likes hers. What do you do Chloe?’ I sit up straight. ‘I’m an estate agent at....’
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The Gallimaufry ‘Shut up, Lissy,’ George says. ‘Your work is crap but maybe Chloe likes hers. What do you do Chloe?’ I sit up straight. ‘I’m an estate agent at....’ ‘No you’re not,’ Lissy interrupts. ‘Excuse me?’ ‘Not enough hair gel,’ Lissy says, ‘And your boots aren’t pointy enough.’ I watch her laughing. Gil returns with drinks and I take a few big gulps of my wine. ‘I hope you girls have been playing nicely,’ he says, pulling up a stool. The focus switches to Gil. George and Lissy tease him, pull his hair, criticise his clothes and shoes, his three-day stubble which I love so much. He doesn’t seem bothered. He smiles and laughs and occasionally teases back, but his comments are much gentler than theirs. I just keep drinking. I notice that they call him Goll, not Gil and decide to remind everyone of my presence by asking why this is. ‘When he was a kid he was kind of doublejointed,’ George answers. ‘He used to squat over his toys with his knees up round his ears. It was so creepy. So we called him Gollum, you know, from the Lord of the Rings.’ ‘But that’s so ....cruel!’ I blurt out. was a horrible creature.’
‘Cruel! That’s nothing! You should hear what they called me,’ Lissy said. They start listing names. Horrible, personal, mean names apparently inspired by any physical imperfection or personality weakness. ‘I bet you’re an only child, Chloe,’ Lissy suddenly interjects. ‘A treasured, only child.’ ‘She’s not, actually,’ Gil answers. little sister.’
They all stare at me. I don’t want to talk about my family to this crowd. What would I say? That we were ...normal? That we did occasionally disagree but we didn’t tease or torture or bite each other? That my parents always wanted a quiet and civilised home? It would sound dull and lacking in warmth in comparison to their stories. So I just nod. ‘And here’s our little sister,’ Gil comments,
jumping up. He crosses the restaurant to greet Nella. She’s like her sisters but slimmer, more stylish. Her eyes are pale blue and her blonde hair hangs in wet tails around her face. She’s pretty in a sort of babyish undefined way. ‘Sorry, sorry,’ she mutters, taking Gil’s place. She ignores me completely. ‘I couldn’t find my oyster card, and then when I got to the station I didn’t have any cash and had to go back to the cashpoint. And then I had to get change because the machine wasn’t taking notes so I had to go to this shop and the horrible man made me buy something, he wouldn’t just change my ten pounds.’ She shakes her hair and drops hit my face. ‘And then when I got out the station it was snowing and I’ve forgotten my hat.’ She seems to take the snow personally. The explanation goes on, the tale becoming more complicated; there’s a problem with a landlord, a lack of heating, money worries. I know that Nella is twenty three but she looks and acts much younger. A bit clueless, like a teenager. Gil rubs her hair with his scarf – the cashmere scarf I bought him for his birthday - and offers to lend her some money. She doesn’t even thank him, just nods and starts to complain about a neighbour. Gil goes to get her a drink. He hasn’t noticed that I need one too so I wriggle out of my place and follow him to the bar. ‘They’re great, aren’t they?’ he asks. He’s not looking at me.‘Lively,’ I say, forcing a laugh. ‘I can barely keep up.’ ‘They’re fun though,’ he insists, handing a twenty over the bar. ‘Especially Lissy. She was always my soul-mate when we were growing up.’ It’s a pivotal moment. I have never lied to Gil. I value my integrity, and that’s not always easy to do in my line of business. ‘Yes, fun. Absolutely. And Lissy’s great.’ The words come so easily, a smile plasters itself across my face.‘You’re great, Chlo,’ he says. ‘I knew you’d love them.’ He turns back to the sisters with Nella’s drink. I take my own, down it and ask the barman for another, counting out pound coins from the change on the bar. ‘Yeah,’ I say to myself. ‘I’m just great. Really great.’ I head back to the shrieks and laughter.
By Eddi Goodwin Co-Editor
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‘WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED THEIR FLOCKS BY NIGHT’ A review of one of the most popular Christmas hymns Despite there being about 300 different tunes to the above well-known text, the dull and pedestrian 'Winchester Old' is still churned out as a hardy annual regularly at Yuletide."
after being ousted out of the churches and chapels - albeit many of the items being often performed in a modified form. form. A
notable example from South Yorkshire is given here in its original form, composed by John Foster (aka Old Foster). a musical coroner based near Sheffield, in c. 1820. The tune is known as 'Old Foster' in the Sheffield traditions, scored for typical orchestral resources of the time." One could say that it is a musical equivalent of those Dickensian Christmas Cards which portray coaching scenes in the snow, and is both uplifting and splendidly bucolic."
By Chris Gardner
Up to the mid-19th century, many localities in England had their own lively tunes which became traditionally associated with Nahum Tate's verses, until Victorian sobriety and the need to have plain four-square tunes demanded otherwise. Many of the older tunes belonged to the West Gallery tradition (a term coined by Thomas Hardy), wherein the singing was often led by an instrumental band and choir situated in a loft at the back of the church. Such ensembles were graphically described by Hardy in 'Under the Greenwood Tree', being a familiar example of this genre, in the days when organs were relatively rare in country and small town churches."
Many manuscripts and printed sources contain seasonal pieces, often by provincial non-mainstream composers, but which were phased out and even banned as the 19th cent. progressed. However, some of the carols survive today in the Sheffield and Derbyshire area in the pubs over the Festive Season,
While shepherds watched Their flocks by night All seated on the ground The angel of the Lord came down And glory shone around 22 of 32
‘SNOW’ A SHORT STORY
The little girl, a blue triangle on white in her woollen hooded coat, looked about her at the silent immensity of the world. Where had everything gone? Where had the grey, hard yard, the silver dustbins, the plant pots, the drain covers, gone? Everything was white and lumpy and strange. All the way to her Great Aunt’s flat, everything had been like it. It had all disappeared, the familiar. Daddy had even brought her to Auntie’s in a different way, pulling her along behind him on a big wooden thing - a sledge. He had left his bicycle in the garage. He had talked to her on the way, telling her about the snow, about how it had all fallen during the night when she was asleep and covered everything up, but she hadn’t really been listening. It was funny, the way he was so high above her as she sat on the sledge; so far away at the end of a rope. Not funny haha, but funny peculiar. She liked it better when she sat on her special little bicycle seat between his arms and they whizzed through the wind, the wheels swishing below them. She felt safe like that. On this sledge thing she wobbled and teetered and felt very strange as the snow slooshed past on either side of her. She had not liked to be sitting so near to this wet, white covering.
“Here we are,” said her father. He stopped. “Off you get.”
They were in the yard now, at the back of the small block of flats where Auntie lived. The sky was the colour of stones. A nylon washing line stretched a yellow streak above her head, punctuated by colourful plastic pegs. Mummy has wooden pegs at home, she thought. She remembered finding a dropped one amongst the garden flowers months before and picking it up. It was old - smooth
as a pebble, worn by the years, by the hands of her mother and her mother’s mother. She had held it for a long time. It had been hot and sunny, that day. Her mother had put the picnic blanket out on the lawn for her, with books and toys. The memory was filled with the strange, sharp odour of dahlias, the warm, clean smell of flapping sheets, the humming of bees. Auntie’s plastic pegs were not like that, she thought. Auntie’s pegs were bright and hard. Hard plastic pegs. Hard plastic Auntie.
The father, standing at his aunt’s door, was watching his daughter. She was so still. So small and vulnerable, a tiny figure in red wellies and blue coat, staring up into the air. Thinking again. He sighed. She was always thinking. He called her name for the second time. “I think Auntie would like a snowman by her window. Shall we make Auntie a snowman before we go in?”
Hard plastic Auntie would like a snow-man. What’s a snow-man like? Is a snow-man plastic, hard and bright too? Auntie would like it if it was. A sudden worry hit her as she remembered the last time she saw Auntie, last week, at home. Mummy had got all dressed up in her pretty things and Daddy had gone round to fetch Auntie in the car and she had known that her parents were going to go out without her. After they left, Auntie stoked up the fire and said would she like to listen to a story. But she had been cross, had shouted that she didn’t want a story and had thrown her fish, her little red plastic fish, into the fire in a temper. Auntie had cried out and groped for the poker – too late. She remembered the shock of the melting; the hard plastic fish a sudden red pool on the black coals. An irreversible change. Auntie, guilty herself for having left off the fireguard, had scolded and grumbled all evening and sent her to bed early. Perhaps the snow-man would make Auntie happy again.
“A snow-man?” She looked up at her father and smiled. Relieved, the father began 23 of 32
The Gallimaufry showing her what to do. First, take a handful of snow. Make a snowball in your hands. Put it on the ground. Roll it around. It gets bigger, see? He was competent, methodical, practical. “You do it too, you have a go.” He put the snowball into her hands. She gasped, dropped it. “Cold!” “Course it’s cold, silly. Put your mittens back on. Now, let’s start again.”
but had ended up outside and coatless herself, helping the boys make a row of little snowmen all along the parapet of the railway embankment beside the house. Passengers waved from the passing trains; one driver even blew the whistle and winked at her as they slowed on the approach to the station. She had been young and pretty then, and her sister had scolded her as much as the boys for their lack of common sense.
In the end he did it himself, first the body then the head, while she followed; skipping behind him along the ever-widening tracks, winding back and forth across the open yard. “Daddy’s made a maze!” she cried delightedly. “It’s a maze!” He stopped and looked at her, astonished. They had visited Ely Cathedral last year – she had been less than two years old then – and he had shown her the maze marked out in tiles on the floor. To his knowledge she had not experienced a maze before or since. “You are a clever girl! Now, he needs some buttons and some eyes. Come and help me get some coal.”
The clock chimed a quarter to eleven and she was jerked back to the present. The sun had come out and the snowman outside was nearly finished. She could see her nephew heaving an improbably large snow-head up on to the completed body, her great-niece dancing excitedly around him. Fancy bringing the girl out without a proper hat on, she grumbled, heaving herself out of her chair. Shuffling through to the kitchen, she rubbed the small of her back irritably with the back of her hand. It was troubling her again today. Recently it had been troubling her more and more. Where she rubbed, where she always needed to rub, she had noticed her woollen cardigans were wearing thin. Slowly she bent for a carrot from the vegetable rack, took her oldest scarf from a hook and, as an afterthought, picked up a red plastic bucket from behind the door on her way out. Her nephew crossed the yard towards her.
Through the clutter of garish vases and dusty plastic flowers on her kitchen windowsill, the aunt watched them. That girl will get soot all over her, she thought, as they rummaged in the coal bunker. What her poor mother will say when he takes her home with black all down her coat, I don’t like to think. He’s still a little boy himself, he’s enjoying it more than she is. Suddenly she was back in the past, looking out of a different window, early on different snowy day, on to a huge garden. Winter cabbages transformed into white lumps; the bluegreen spears of leeks buried to their waists. Tw o b o y s , b e s i d e t h e m s e l v e s w i t h excitement, haring round the ancient apple trees, shaking the branches to bring down little avalanches on to each others’ heads. S h e h a d o p e n e d t h e w i n d o w, s h e remembered, intending to scold her nephews for going out without their coats,
“Auntie, you read my mind!” he chuckled as she came out. “Go back inside, you’ll freeze. Look at him out of the window. I wish I’d brought the camera; he’s turned out rather well, don’t you think?” “Go on with you,” she grumbled, pushing the things into his hands. “Hurry up and get that girl inside before she freezes. I’ve had it a lot colder than this in my time, young man.”
The little girl stared up at the finished snowman in wonder. My daddy can do anything, she thought. He can even make a man. He’s a giant man, even daddy had to reach up high to put his head on. Then 24 of 32
The Gallimaufry Auntie found him a nose and a scarf, and a bucket for a hat. A red bucket, a hard red plastic bucket. Auntie came out in funny black wellies, but she didn’t put her coat on. Auntie likes our snow-man, she thought. He’s hard and bright, and plastic too, now.
"“Don’t think he’ll last long,” said her father
cheerfully. “It’s all due to melt in a day or two.” She suddenly imagined the red bucket hat melting; melting irreversibly; bright plastic blood running down the poor snow-man’s cheeks. Her face crumpled, as her father bent down and hugged her. She felt the scratchy tweed of his coat against her cheek. “Don’t be sad, lovey. Snowmen can’t last forever. Let’s go in and get warm now, and Auntie’ll do you some hot milk. “Auntie’ll do you some hot milk,” grumbled his aunt, shuffling back towards the door, awkward in her wellington boots. “That’s of course assuming Auntie’s got any milk left. Daddy always assumes, but he hasn’t brought her any, has he? No doubt daddy will want a cup of tea, too. There aren’t any biscuits, you know.” The little girl followed the adult voices, the adult footprints, into the flat. Her father lifted her up to sit on the table (“What would her mother say? She would never let you put her up on the table like that if she were here. Why hasn’t she come with you, anyway? She never comes with you any more.”) and began taking off her coat, easing off her boots. She wriggled her toes comfortably in the warm air of the kitchen and looked around her. The snowman gazed in at them through the window, over an untidy pile of mismatched Tupperware ranged inexplicably along the sill. His red bucket hat was already beginning to slide slightly.
“Daddy, can mummy see our snow-man?” “No, darling. Mummy’s at home making mincemeat. He’ll be melted in a day or two, like I said.” An irreversible change. Tomorrow, or the day after, the snowman would not be there. Maybe the bins, the drain covers, the plant pots would all come back again and it would all be like it was before. She swung her legs contentedly. Her aunt placed a beaker of warm milk – hard, bright, plastic – into her hands. Her eyes strayed away from the snowman, along the teetering pile of Tupperware. A half-open one on the end caught her eye. She laughed excitedly.
"“Auntie, look! Look in the box!” She pointed gleefully. “Biscuits!” " By Helen Harrison
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CANADA AT CHRISTMAS BY CAROLINE PATTERSON A selection of Winter photographs from the Niagra Falls and more!
‘NIAGRA IN DECEMBER’
‘CANDY CANE NIAGRA’ 26 of 32
‘DECORATE THE TREE’
‘WHEN THE LAKES BEGIN TO FREEZE’
‘CHRISTMAS ISN’T JUST A WORD’
" 27 of 32
THE GREAT ‘PARVILA’ A short story The drum roll was underway. ”Ladies and gentleman, presenting to you, all the way from Budapest,” announced Estella de la Croix, waving her graceful arms like a swan. “The only magician who can take us into the unknown, The Great Parvila.” The tent was hot, humid and filled with the sweet smell of candy floss and popcorn. The crowd of three hundred people shuffled on the edge of their seats in anticipation of an act of a lifetime. Mr Parvila leapt onto the stage like a stag, his silky raven-black cloak glittering like a blanket of stars behind him. Slowly pointing his diamond-tipped staff at the audience, with a deep booming voice he asked. “Is there anyone in this a-cursed tent that is brave enough to venture into the unknown?” Estella slipped back into the gloom of the back of the stage, and like in all the other shows before, checked the time machine was unlocked. Suspense hung in the air. A black-haired lady stood up confidently and stared into the depths of the magician’s soul. She had emerald green eyes and her hair was entwined into an intricate plait. Mr Parvila stumbled back, the colour drained from his face, as the beautiful young woman strode onto the stage. Estella led her to the time machine, blindfolded her and helped her inside the box, locking the door behind the mysterious woman.
Catherine wheel on stage. When the smoke cleared the audience let out a collective gasp…Mr Pavila had vanished. Estella frantically gestured to the stage manager, to close the curtains. Jerkily the material connected and the rumours began. According to some they had been abducted by aliens. Others said that the trick had gone wrong and they were lost in time and space. Backstage was worse. Chaos spread faster than lightening. Estella searched everywhere but there was no sign of them. She feared the worst. Mr Parvila was feeling even more panicked. He’d been knocked out and dragged into a waiting van which sped off like the wind. The road was bumpy and full of potholes, and he couldn’t struggle against the mass of ropes confining him like a boa-constrictor. It jerked to a halt and he was shoved out into the billowing rain by two men. The rain pelted down, bombing the ground. It seeped through the roof of the warehouse as if it wasn’t there at all. In the only dry corner of the room was Mr Parvila, tied to a chair. In front of him was the black haired lady known to him as the daughter he’d abandoned once upon a time. Her face was filled with pure hatred as she stepped forwards and raised a dagger above her head…
By Isobel Logan
A flash and a bang. Rainbow confetti of sparks covered the audience in a glittering cloud of smoke like a blanket. There were a few coughs in the tent, followed by silence as the great Pavila spun like a black and white 28 of 32
A look into what literature you can read at Christmas Every year I make a conscious effort to re-read Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and, depending on what else is happening, I generally succeed. I’m not quite sure when this all started but for me it’s one way of ensuring that I have some kind of focus on the season apart from reading about the Nativity itself. Curiously, although many schools spend almost the whole of the Michaelmas term training their pupils in the story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, wise men and shepherds, there does not seem to be a strong proclivity either in our house or many others for opening The Bible and following the verses in question! All of which, however, moves away from the question of why I love my slice of Victorian Christmas. What is it about Scrooge, Marley and the three spirits which captivates so many people as well as me? It’s dark in tone at times and, like much of Dickens, you need to be patient in working your way through the rather heavy and pedantic prose at the beginning, to enjoy fully the narrative and message of the story. It is, perhaps, that it most closely resembles the view we have of Christmas now or would like it to be. Snow, naturally, but so many other factors such as a sense of family, companionship, the special nature of one day in the calendar, roaring fires, good wholesome food, childhood innocence and even a sense of the secularism through the four spirits which appear. However, it is the figure of Ebenezer Scrooge which is most interesting for the modern reader as well as for Dickens’s original readership, embodying as he does the cynicism of adult experience, albeit taken to its logical extreme. As adults we are cursed by a loss of innocence and Christmas is our annual reminder of believing in something more wholesome than materialism and money. Scrooge shows us that even the most hardened opponent of the Christmas feeling is capable of change; ergo, so must we!
All of which started me thinking about what else we read in a similar way to get us into the Christmas feeling. I’m sure there are a few who open their leather-backed copy of The Bible but I would doubt that it is the majority of the country nowadays. Therefore I made enquiries about other Christmas books or even literature that people enjoyed. To my surprise, there were incredibly few to be found. Perhaps like me, you enjoyed the wonderful 1980s BBC production of The Box of Delights with Kay Harker, fresh back from boarding school, taking on the evil of the Reverend Abner Brown and triumphing on Christmas Eve to keep the 1000th Christmas service on for the cathedral at Tatchester. Fabulous stuff with a cast of other characters including a Punch & Judy man, Herne, the Hunter, piratical rats and more. Oh, and did I mention there was lots of snow? As ever, the original Masefield book of The Box of Delights is more of an acquired taste but does leave you with the rosy glow of the season! What else can I recommend to you to read? Very little, it seems. You might try The Chronicles of Narnia for a slice of Christmas, though of course it deals with many other aspects than that. Others speak warmly of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Match Girl and The Snow Queen, though I suspect that may not do for most of us! Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons and Christmas at Thompson Hall by Anthony Trollope are also available, though neither is known for their excellence by me personally; I did, however, once read Hercule Poirot’s Christmas and can vouch for that. Personally, though, I’d stick with Dickens!
By Harold Pangbourne
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‘OH CHRISTMAS TREE’ BY CHARLES SLADDIN
A selection of photographs showing some of the more traditional Christmas decorations
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