Reflections on Christmas 2012



CHRISTMAS IN ENGLAND
    
ADVENT

The Season of Advent, which begins on a Sunday about four weeks before Christmas Day, is celebrated by the Catholic and Anglican Churches, as well as some others. It is a time for people to prepare themselves for two different things: for the coming of the baby Jesus and Christmas, and for the second coming of Jesus, when he shall rule over all the Earth in peace. Not all Christian people remember Advent. Some people use it as a time of fasting, study, meditation and prayer. Special Advent Calendars are made for children, with pictures or treats for each day of Advent.
Generally, Advent is a time when many people are very busy in preparation for Christmas Day, cleaning and decorating, buying food and presents, writing cards and letters, and cooking the Christmas feast.



Charles Dickens - 'A Christmas Carol'




Charles Dickens - 'A Christmas Carol'

A Christmas Carol is a famous book by the English writer Charles Dickens.
It was first published on December 17, 1843.
The pictures inside were drawn by John Leech.
The story has a strong moral message against greed, among other things.
It is usually read at Christmas time and has been adapted to theatre, movies, radio, and television many times.
The story is about Ebenezer Scrooge.
At the beginning of the book he is a mean old man who runs a business lending people money.
These people are poor and often cannot pay him back.
He pays his clerk Bob Cratchit badly.
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge refuses an invitation to his nephew's house for Christmas dinner, telling him he hates it (he calls it a "Humbug").
He then refuses to give money to two men who are collecting for charity.
Later that evening, he is visited by the ghost of his dead business partner Jacob Marley, who went to Hell because of his bad life.
He tells Scrooge that the same future will happen to him unless he changes and that during the night he will be visited by three more ghosts.
These will show him where he went wrong in his life, and how to be a better person in the future.
The first ghost is the Ghost of Christmas Past.
This ghost shows him where he went wrong in the past, showing him his unhappy childhood and how he did not get married.
The second ghost is the Ghost of Christmas Present. This ghost shows him things which are happening now, such as how his clerk, Bob Cratchit, is having a nice Christmas despite not having much money. He also shows him Bob's youngest son, Tiny Tim, who is crippled. Later, the ghost shows him how his nephew is having a good Christmas, and how Scrooge is missing out.
The third ghost is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
This ghost shows Scrooge what Christmas will be like in the future if he does not change.
Firstly, people are shown celebrating a man's death and robbing from his house.
The ghost also shows him that Tiny Tim has died.
Scrooge is then shown his own grave, and realizes that the celebrations were for his death.
On Christmas morning, Scrooge wakes up and realizes that he has to change.
He decides to celebrate Christmas, and help Tiny Tim get better.
Through the ghosts' help he becomes a better man.




Christma in the Trenches - 1914

The Christmas truce was a series of widespread, unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western Front around Christmas 1914, during World War I.
Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides – as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units – independently ventured into "no man's land", where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing. Troops from both sides were also friendly enough to play games of football with one another.


CELEBRATIONS

Before the 4th century AD, Christians could only worship and celebrate in secret.
The feast of Christmas probably began while Constantine was the Emperor of Rome, because it was he who made Christianity a legal religion and built some of Rome's oldest churches.
Some old stone coffins or sarcophagi from this time are carved with pictures of Mary and baby Jesus and the Wise Men.
Through the Middle Ages Christmas was celebrated with feasting, singing and plays.
The plays were held in churches, and also in castles and in market places, where a big hay wagon was sometimes used as a stage.
Because Advent was a time of prayer and preparation, most parties were held after Christmas, rather than before it.
The main pre-Christmas celebration was the Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6.



THE CHRISTMAS TREE

A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, ideally an evergreen conifer such as pine or fir, traditionally associated with the celebration of Christmas.
The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts or dates. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles, which with electrification could also be replaced by Christmas lights. Today, there are a wide variety of traditional ornaments, such as garland, tinsel, and candy canes. An angel or star may be placed at the top of the tree, to represent the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.
The custom of the Christmas tree developed in early modern Germany with predecessors that can be traced to the 16th and possibly the 15th century, in which "devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes.". It acquired popularity beyond Germany during the second half of the 19th century. The Christmas tree has also been known as the "Yule-tree", especially in discussions of its folk-loristic origins.
Both setting up and taking down a Christmas tree are associated with specific dates.
Traditionally, Christmas trees were not brought in and decorated until Christmas Eve (24 December) or, in the traditions celebrating Christmas Eve rather than on the first of day of Christmas, 23 December, and then removed the day after Twelfth Night (5 January); to have a tree up before or after these dates was even considered bad luck.
Tinsel and several types of garland or ribbon are commonly used to decorate a Christmas tree. Silvered saran-based tinsel was introduced later. Delicate mold-blown and painted colored glass Christmas ornaments were a speciality of the glass factories in the Thuringian Forest especially in Lauscha in the late 19th century, and have since become a large industry, complete with famous-name designers. Baubles are another common decoration, consisting of small hollow glass or plastic spheres coated with a thin metallic layer to make them reflective, with a further coating of a thin pigmented polymer in order to provide coloration. Lighting with electric lights (fairy lights) is commonly done. A tree topper, traditionally either an angel or a star, completes the ensemble.




1950s Christmas Baubles


CELEBRATIONS

For many centuries, the celebration of Christmas often began with a church service or mass, which lasted from late at night to after midnight on Christmas morning.
Christmas Day was a time of feasting. On the following day, the Feast of St Stephen, people from rich households would carry boxes of food out to the street for the poor and hungry.
Many people would go back to work but employers would give gifts of money to their workers.
The Holy Days continued with the feast of St John and Holy Innocents' Day.
The feasting and parties ended on the Feast of the Epiphany, the day of the Three Wise Men, often called the "Three Kings".
The season is nowadays remembered by the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas". William Shakespeare wrote a play to be performed as part of the celebration, called "Twelfth Night".



1950s Christmas Baubles

Christmas Decorations

In most homes when Christmas is celebrated, people set up a Christmas tree in the house.
This old Yuletide custom began in Germany as the "Tannenbaum" (German for Fir Tree).
These are traditionally evergreens, the best type being the Fir Tree which does not shed its needles or lose its fragrance.
The tree may be a cut tree that is bought from a plantation or taken from the forest.
Artificial trees are sometimes preferred to real trees.
The Christmas tree is decorated with lights, shiny coloured balls, sparkly tinsel and other ornaments.
A wreath of leaves or pine is often put on the front door of a house as a sign of welcome.
Other plants that have special significance at Christmas are holly which is used as decoration and mistletoe which is hung in the centre of a room.
The tradition is that people who meet under the mistletoe must kiss.
Many people decorate their homes at Christmas time.
These decorations and the Christmas tree are generally inside, but may be put where they can also be seen through a window by people passing by.
In the mid 20th century there grew up a custom for decorating the outside of houses as well.
These decorations may be just a few lights around the porch, or hundreds of lights and colourful Christmas figures decorating the whole house and garden.





1950s Christmas Baubles


CELEBRATIONS

For many, Christmas has become a time when having parties, sending messages to family and friends and giving presents has become more important than the celebration of Jesus' birth.
Manufacturers and stores have responded to the feasting and present-giving with lots of advertising, decorations and displays.
Given that Jesus himself called people making money in the Jewish Temple 'robbers' (Matthew 21:13) many Christians are uneasy about profit instead of prophets at Christmas.
Town councils celebrate by decorating streets and squares, and providing Christmas entertainment for shoppers.
Many Christians celebrate Christmas by attending church, and with prayers and singing.
Many people are worried that the "true meaning of Christmas" has been lost, because of the emphasis on presents.
However, for many, talk about the "true meaning of Christmas", means they are thinking of the words that the angels spoke to the shepherds: "Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all people!" 




Westminster Bridge - London


CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

The Crib

It is the custom in many churches to set up a Crib scene of the Nativity or birth of Jesus.
The first scene of this type was set up by St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century.
They have been very popular in Italy ever since then, and the custom has spread to other countries.
Nativity scenes can be large with life-sized statues, or they can be tiny enough to fit in a matchbox.
They are made of many different things including carved and painted wood, brightly coloured ceramics (pottery), painted paper glued to boards, and mixtures of material with clay, wood, cloth, straw and metal used for different parts.




Christmas in Trafalgar Square - London


Advent Wreaths

The Advent wreath is a circle of leaves, usually pine boughs, ivy and holly, with five candles in it which is hung up in a church.
The candles are lit on each Sunday in Advent, and the central candle is lit on Christmas morning.
Churches are often decked with green branches and leaves, and many churches also have a Christmas tree.



Advent Wreath


Bible Readings

Each year at Christmas there are a series of Bible readings from the Gospels that tell the story of the birth of Jesus.
These are combined with other readings that tell about the sinfulness of humans, and how God promised to send the Messiah.
On Christmas morning the main Bible reading that is usually used in churches is not part of the story of Jesus' birth.
It is the part of the Gospel of John that says that Jesus is the "Word of God" (God's communication with people) who was with God before the world began, and who came to earth to teach all people to become the children of God.





Regents Street in the Snow - London

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CAROLS BY CANDLE-LIGHT

A popular tradition in many churches is the Carol Service which is often lit only by candles.
The carol service generally has lots of singing and Bible readings.
There is a tradition in England which began in the Temple Church in London and has now spread to many other places for a service of Nine Lessons and Carols.
The lessons are Bible readings. Some carols are sung by a choir and others by the choir and people (the congregation).
Every year one of these services is recorded in a large English Church, often King's College Chapel, Cambridge, and is broadcast on radio and television to be enjoyed by people who love good music and carol singing, but particularly for people who cannot go to a Christmas service.




Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols - King's College - Cambridge





Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols - King's College - Cambridge





Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols - Choir Boys
King's College - Cambridge




Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols - Choir Boys
King's College - Cambridge


The first Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College, Cambridge, was held on Christmas Eve in 1918. It was conceived by Eric Milner-White, the Dean of the College, whose experience as an army chaplain had led him to believe that more imaginative worship was needed by the Church of England.
The music at the first service at King's was directed by Arthur Henry Mann, who was the organist from 1876 to 1929.
The choir had 16 trebles as specified in statutes laid down by Henry VI, and until 1927 the men's voices were provided by choral scholars and lay clerks.
Today, 14 undergraduates from the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, sing the men's parts.


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City of London in the Snow


Family Get-Togethers

Most families think of Christmas as a time to get together with other members of the family.
People often travel from far away to be with other family members at Christmas.
Those people who cannot travel often make long-distance phone calls on Christmas Day.
Many people also see Christmas as a time to reach out to others that they know might be lonely, and invite them to dinner on Christmas Day.
Christmas is seen as a time for people of all ages to have fun together, for cousins to get to know each other, for grandparents to see their grandchildren and for the family to admire the babies that have been born during the year.
Big family parties are usually a time of joy, but some families often talk about their disagreements and have big fights at Christmas time.
Family traditions are very different.
Some families might all go off to church together, to a Carol Service, a Midnight Mass, or a Christmas Morning service.
Some families are pulled out of bed very early by children who want to open their presents.
In other families, presents are given on St. Nicholas Day, on Christmas Eve or not until after church on Christmas morning.
The Christmas feast might start on Christmas Eve, with a special breakfast on Christmas morning, or at midday on Christmas Day.
Some families have a tradition of carol singing, and might go around the streets, to hospitals and other such places singing with members of their church.
Other families like to watch certain television programs together, which might include carol services and the Queen's Message.
Some families use Christmas as a time to play music and sing together, or to read a favourite book such as "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.




Thames Embankment in the Snow


Cards and Presents

The giving of gifts at Christmas comes from several different ideas.
One is that God gave his son, Jesus, to the world at Christmas.
There is also the story of the Wise Men who came to the baby Jesus with three gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh.
For many centuries it has been the custom for people to give small gifts at Christmas, and also to give generously to the poor and needy to help them through the winter.
Another tradition has become linked to this one, and the result is the tradition of Santa Claus, or Father Christmas as he is sometimes called, and who is nowadays thought by many children to be the bringer of presents.
In the 4th century, in a Greek village that is now part of Turkey, there was a good man who would secretly given presents to the poor to help them.
He became a bishop and is called Saint Nicholas.
His name was often shortened to Sante Claus, or Santa Claus in English.
Santa Claus, (or Father Christmas) is usually thought of as coming on Christmas Night, when his magic sleigh is pulled across the sky by reindeer, and he comes into houses through the chimney.
The English tradition is to hang up stockings (or long socks) in front of the fireplace.
Santa Claus would traditionally fill the socks or shoes with nuts, raisins, chocolates and an orange. Nowadays children usually get much more expensive presents, and hang up pillow cases or have the presents in a big pile under the Christmas tree.
Another Christmas tradition is the sending of cards to friends and relatives.
These contain warm greetings and may also have a letter telling all the things that have happened to the person or family during the year





Albert Memorial in the Snow
Kensington Gardens - London

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner, usually eaten in the middle of the day, is an important part of the family celebration.
The food differs from country to country and also from family to family.
Roasted meat and vegetables is generally the main course of the meal.
Often several types of meat are served, which may include turkey, ham, roast beef or lamb.
There are often several courses, with special treats that are usually only eaten at Christmas.
The traditional dessert is Christmas plum pudding.
Nowadays these are often bought from bakers, but many people make their own to a family recipe.
The tradition came from the Middle Ages when the pudding was used to preserve some of the fruit from the Autumn until the mid-winter.
A traditional pudding is baked six weeks before Christmas and is left tied up in a cloth, in a cool place. Stirring the pudding is sometimes a family tradition, with everyone making a wish as they stir.
Traditionally a silver coin would be stirred into the pudding, to bring luck to the person who found it. Nowadays most coins cannot be used because they taste horrible and may be poisonous.
Some families use old coins or silver charms.
On Christmas Day the pudding must be boiled in a pot for several hours.
When it is served, the cloth is cut off, brandy is poured onto the pudding, and is set on fire before it is carried to the table.
Many families have a Christmas Cake or a special bread instead of a pudding (or as well as a pudding). . Other Christmas food includes raisins, sultanas, ginger, Turkish delight, almonds, chocolates, caramel toffee, candy canes and oranges.
Many families also prepare mulled wine which is warmed with cinnamon and nutmeg or egg nogs, a sweet drink made of milk, sugar, eggs, nutmeg and sometimes alcohol.

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CHRISTMAS SHOPPING



Christmas Shopping - Harrods - Kensington

Harrods is an upmarket department store located in Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London.
The store occupies a 5-acre (20,000 m2) site and has over one million square feet (90,000 m2) of selling space in over 330 departments making it the biggest department store in Europe.
The Harrods motto is 'Omnia Omnibus Ubique—All Things for All People, Everywhere'.
Several of its departments, including the seasonal Christmas department and the Food Hall, are world famous.





Christmas Shopping - Harrods - Kensington




Christmas Shopping - Harrods - Harry Winston - Kensington




Christmas Shopping - Selfridges - Oxford Street

Selfridges is a high end department stores in Regent's Street, in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store in London's Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK (after Harrods) and opened 15 March 1909.
The London store was designed by Daniel Burnham.The London store was built in phases, the first phase consisting only of the nine-and-a-half bays closest to the Duke Street corner.
A scheme to erect a massive tower above the store was never carried out. Also involved in the design of the store were American architect Francis Swales, who worked on decorative details, and British architects R. Frank Atkinson and Thomas Smith Tait.
The distinctive polychrome sculpture above the Oxford Street entrance is the work of British sculptor Gilbert Bayes.
Selfridges in London was named world's best department store in 2010.
.





Christmas Shopping - Selfridges - Tom Ford - Oxford Street





Christmas Shopping - Selfridges - Wonder Room - Oxford Street




Christmas Shopping - Bond Street - London

Bond Street is a major shopping street in the West End of London that runs north-south through Mayfair between Oxford Street and Piccadilly.
It has been a fashionable shopping street since the 18th century and is currently the home of many high price fashion shops.
The southern section is known as Old Bond Street, and the northern section, which is rather more than half the total length, is known as New Bond Street.
This distinction, however, is not generally made in everyday usage.
It is one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world.




Christmas Shopping - Christmas in Regents Street - London

Regent Street is one of the major shopping streets in London's West End, well known to tourists and Londoners alike, and famous for its Christmas illuminations.
It is named after the Prince Regent (later George IV), and is commonly associated with the architect John Nash, whose street layout survives, although all his original buildings except All Souls Church have since been replaced.


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Favourite Presents from Christmas Past




click below for more information about 1950s Christmas

   
'Feasts and Festivals'

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London Christmas 2012


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012

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England in the Snow




Formal Gardens - Regents Park in the Snow
London




Formal Gardens - Regents Park in the Snow
London




Japanese Garden - Regents Park in the Snow
London





Windsor Castle in the Snow




Worcester Cathedral in the Snow

2012 - In Retrospect


    
2012 in RETROSPECT

2012 (MMXII) is a leap year that started on a Sunday and is the current year.
In the Gregorian calendar, it is the 2012th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 12th year of the 3rd millennium and of the 21st century, and the 3rd of the 2010s.

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'OLYMPIC SUMMER 2012'
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012

For people living in the United Kingdom the year 2012 was dominated by the Olympic Games.

Tom Daley - only Bronze
London Olympics



This was the year when Tom Daley didn't win a gold medal - and everybody pretended not to notice.





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'SUMMER 2012'
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012

And while the Games dominated the Summer - in fact there was no Summer - or rather, if you blinked, then you missed it.

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But to go to the beginning - 
                                           the Arab Spring trundled on, and to those who understood  it was clear that it was shaping up into a conflict between fundamentalists (Islamists) and progressives, and Shia (including Alawi) and Sunnis.
As far as the ordinary people in the Middle East were concerned, however, despite the claims for the establishment of democracy and freedom, their everyday standards of living either stood still, or declined, as investments haemorrhaged from the area.
The Arab Spring turned into an 'Arab Winter' as the whole are lurched uncontrollably into an era of instability and uncertainty.

 جمال عبد الناصر
جماعة الاخوان المسلمين
The most worrying aspect of the 'so-called' Arab Spring was the take-over of Egypt by the جماعة الاخوان المسلمين (el-ikhwan al-muslimūn - Muslim Brotherhood).
Ask any Egyptian who they think was the greatest leader of Egypt, and nine out of ten will tell you جمال عبد الناصر (Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein).
But he persecuted the Muslim Brotherhood, rightly imprisoned and executed  سيد قطب‎ (Sayyid Qutb), and led a secularist socialist government.

Sayyid Qutb
Sayyid Qutb (Arabic: سيد قطب‎; October 9, 1906 – August 29, 1966) was an Egyptian,writer, teacher, vicious misogynist, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and '60s. Author of 24 books, including novels, literary arts’ critique and works on education, he is best known in the Muslim world for his work on what he believed to be the social and political role of Islam, particularly in his books 'Social Justice' and the infamous 'Ma'alim fi-l-Tariq' (Milestones). His supposed magnum opus, 'Fi Zilal al-Qur'an' (In the shade of the Qur'an), is a 30-volume commentary on the Qur'an.
We have Qutb to thank for Oama bin Ladin and all the other crazy Islamist fanatics who have been responsible for the endless number of deaths all over the world.

So, we are left with the question, did the Egyptians really vote for 'el-ikhwan', an ignorant, reactionary, Islamist party, intent on viciously curtailing what little freedoms the Egyptian people already have, and propelling them back to an era before the great  محمد علي باشا (Mehmet Ali Pasha) ?

Mehmet Ali Pasha
Mehmet Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha (Ottoman Turkish: محمد علی پاشا المسعود بن آغا; Arabic: محمد علي باشا‎  4 March 1769 – 2 August 1849) was an Albanian commander in the Ottoman army, who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive (Turkish Viceroy) of Egypt and Sudan. He is regarded as the founder of modern Egypt because of the dramatic reforms in the military, economic and cultural spheres that he instituted. He also ruled Levantine territories outside Egypt. The dynasty that he established would rule Egypt and Sudan until the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.


Port Said Stadium Riot
And just to emphasise the breakdown of law and order in the area, in February at least 79 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured after a football match in Port Said, Egypt.

Al-Ahly Logo
The Port Said Stadium Riot was a mass attack that occurred on 1 February 2012 in Port Said Stadium in Port Said, Egypt, following an Egyptian premier league football match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly clubs.
At least 79 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured after thousands of Al-Masry spectators stormed the stadium stands and the pitch, following a 3–1 victory by Al-Masry. Al-Masry fans violently attacked Al-Ahly fans, and also the club's fleeing players, using knives, swords, clubs, stones, bottles, and fireworks as weapons.




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The True Greatness of Britain in the Early 50s
Diamond Jubilee
On February 6 the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II marked the 60th anniversary of her accession to the thrones of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and the 60th anniversary of her becoming Head of the Commonwealth.
Particularly for those who could remember the death of the Queen's father, King-Emperor George VI, and the accession of the beautiful young Queen, it was a truly moving anniversary.


However, for many 'baby-boomers' it raised questions with regard to the success of the 'post-war dream' and the 'New Elizabethan Age'.
What had become of the ideals that had made England truly great in the early fifties - and where had it all gone wrong ?
Thinking back to the Festival of Britain, opened 3 May 1951 by the King -Emperor George VI, many in 2012 who were old enough, or well informed enough to know about the festival wondered why such great promise, idealism, and even good humour had been lost in the intervening years.

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2012 FINANCIAL and BANKING CRISIS


Winston Churchill
This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. It was with those words, delivered almost 70 years ago to the day, that Winston Churchill greeted news of Montgomery's victory at El Alamein, a turning point in the second world war.
The Conservative party can never get too much of Churchill, so there will be many in the blue half of the coalition who will be hoping that the words are as appropriate for describing the state of the economy today as they were for outlining the global balance of power in late 1942.
Make no mistake, news that Britain's economy grew by 1% in the third quarter of 2012 does not mark the end of the downturn that began more than five years ago, even though it is tremendous morale booster for a government that has had its back to the wall in recent months.

It will take another year of robust growth simply to return the economy to where it was during the period of phoney war between the run on Northern Rock in September 2007 and the collapse of Lehman Brothers a year later, and a decade to make up even half the output lost over the past four and a half years.

The level of gross domestic product is 13-14% below where it would have been had growth continued at its pre-recession trend of 2.5% a year. Some of that has been lost for good: it will never be recovered.
Yes - this is the year when many people realised that the bank adverts were downright lies.
The Banks are not around to help you - but rather to help themselves !
But it's an odd recession.
Get on any bus or train, or walk round a supermarket, and you will see not only adults, but little kids texting away on their 'smart-phones' (and many of them have two mobiles - at anything from £200 to £400 a time for a i-phone or Galaxy).
And where are the barefoot, ragged children, and the thin, haggard adults on the verge of starvation ?
It's not really a 1930s depression - no way !

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JIMMY SAVILLE
   
This blog is dedicated to 'all that is good of England' - but even England can't be all good.
To maintain our standards of decency courage, fairness and good humour, to mention just a few qualities that are associated with the English, it is good on occasions to consider what happens when we let our standards slip.


Savile - Paedophile and Thug
Now it might sound like 'I told you so' but the author of this blog, from the 1960s onwards, always considered Saville to be a 'creepy', vulgar, unpleasant character, and always considered his involvement in charitable, hospital and penal work to be suspicious, to say the least.
The author of this blog was always suspicious that Savile was a pederast.

(Pederasty is an erotic homosexual relationship between a man and a pubescent boy outside his immediate family. The word pederasty derives from Greek (paiderastia) "love of boys", a compound derived from παῖς (pais) "child, boy" and ἐραστής (erastēs) "lover".)

It turns out, however that Saville, (as far as we know at present) was a paedophile and a necrophile - and was little concerned by the sex of the object of his lust.
A couple of news reports on Savile allege that he made unaccompanied visits to mortuaries (such as the one at Stoke Mandeville) and that he spoke publicly to the media about his “fascination” with dead bodies.
A former BBC colleague of Jimmy Savile has claimed the predatory paedophile was a necrophiliac.
It is one of the most extraordinary allegations to have come out in the wake of the scandal.
The claim was made on Radio 5 Live today by Paul Gambaccini, who started working as a DJ on Radio 1 in 1973.

Saville - Paedophile
Sir James Wilson Vincent "Jimmy" Savile (31 October 1926 – 29 October 2011), OBE, KCSG, was an English DJ, television presenter and media personality.
He hosted the BBC television show 'Jim'll Fix It', and was the first and last presenter of the long-running BBC music chart show 'Top of the Pops'.
After his death, hundreds of allegations of child sex abuse and rape became public, leading the police to believe that Savile was almost certainly one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders.
Savile, born in Leeds, was the youngest of seven children (his elder siblings were Mary, Marjory, Vincent, John, Joan, and Christina) in a Roman Catholic family.
Savile was conscripted to work in the coal mines as a 'Bevin Boy' during the Second World War.
He began a career playing records in, and later managing, dance halls.


In the year 200 Savile talked about how he dealt with troublemakers when he was working in clubs: "I never threw anybody out. Tied them up and put them down in the bloody boiler house until I was ready for them. Two o'clock in the f--king morning... We'd tie em up and then we'd come back and I was the judge, jury and executioner."

His media career started as a disc jockey at Radio Luxembourg in 1958 and on Tyne Tees Television in 1960, and he developed a reputation for eccentricity and his flamboyant character.

Jimmy Savile and Ray Teret
(father and son ?)
Savile lived in Salford from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, the later period with Ray Teret, who became his support DJ, assistant and chauffeur.
During this period, Savile referred to Teret as his son, while Teret referred to Savile as Dad (?)
He was famous for his "bizarre yodel", and catchphrases which included "how's about that, then ?", "now then, now then, now then", "goodness gracious", "as it 'appens" and "guys and gals".
Savile smoked very expensive, and obviously 'phallic' Cuban cigars.
He was a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and drove a Rolls-Royce.
Somehow, Saville managed to fool almost everyone.
Perhaps this vulgar, obscene little man was able to manipulate them because he was holding back some information about many of the people who fawned over him.

Margaret Thatcher entertains a Paedophile
Cardinal Basil Hume
Savile became a friend of Margaret Thatcher, who in 1981, described his work as "marvellous" (?).
He spent eleven consecutive New Year's Eves at Chequers with Thatcher and her family.
In 1984, he was accepted as a member of the Athenaeum, a gentlemen's club in London's Pall Mall, after being proposed by Cardinal Basil Hume (?)

Prince Charles entertains a Paedophile
Prince Charles sent him gifts on his 80th birthday and a note reading:
"Nobody will ever know what you have done for this country, Jimmy. This is to go some way in thanking you for that."
A lifelong bachelor, Savile lived with his mother (whom he referred to as "The Duchess") and kept her bedroom and wardrobe exactly as it was when she died (creepy).
In 2007, Savile was interviewed under caution by police investigating an allegation of indecent assault in the 1970s at the now-closed Duncroft Approved School for Girls near Staines, Surrey, where he was a regular visitor. 
In 2012, Sir Roger Jones, former BBC governor for Wales and chairman of BBC charity Children in Need, disclosed that more than a decade before Savile's death he had banned Savile from involvement in the charity, because he felt Savile's behaviour was "strange" and "suspicious".

Edwina Currie
At the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Savile volunteered for many years as a porter. Savile also volunteered at Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor Hospital.
In August 1988, he was appointed, by junior Health Minister Edwina Currie, to be chair of an interim task force overseeing the management of Broadmoor Hospital, after its board members had been suspended.
One wonders how a government minister, even as stupid and self-serving as Curry, could possibly consider such a creepy, and equally self-serving individual for such sensitive position - particularly as he had no experience or qualifications for such a responsible position.
Savile had his own room at both Stoke Mandeville and Broadmoor - and free access to all the rooms and wards of the said hospitals.


Jimmy Savile - Broadmoor Keys
Jimmy’s Café
At Broadmoor - (Savile called himself the ‘Governor’ of the hospital !) - which was home to the 'Yorkshire Ripper' Peter Sutcliffe - staff presented Savile with his own gold-plated set of keys, giving him access to mentally-ill young patients.
Astonishingly, he was even allowed to take young female patients out of the supposedly top-security hospital for rides in his Rolls Royce.
At Stoke Mandeville Hospital the hospital café was named ‘Jimmy’s Café' in honour of Savile.
We are told that the sign has been removed.

Was all of this sheer madness, or was there some reason why Savile could get such power, privileges and such adulation from apparently responsible people - who included members of the Royal Family (remember the knighthood), a Prime Minister, Members of the Government, Senior Managers of the NHS (although is there anyone responsible in the NHS - considering they are so often indirectly responsible for the abuse and starvation the elderly), and senior managers of Broadcasting Companies ?
Perhaps they were all worried that he might "tie them up and put them down in the bloody boiler house until he was ready for them. Two o'clock in the f--king morning... where he would then be the judge, jury and executioner."
Or did he threaten to 'spill the beans' about what they had been up to ?
Behind the Savile scandal there is almost certainly a 'can of worms' involving not only the entertainment and media industry, but also some of those in the highest echelons of English society.


The Kray Twins - Reggie and Ronnie
There are interesting comparisons between Savile and the Kray twins.
Both were working class, poorly educated individuals, who come from the same era - the early sixties.
Both were involved in the managing of clubs or places of entertainment.
Both 'hobnobbed' with celebrities, and individuals in high government circles.
Both were flamboyant, eccentric characters - and were bi-sexual.
Both were violent thugs.
There were also direct connections between the Krays and Savile.
It has been stated that the Krays had access to many London care homes, and would have boys delivered to parties at DJ Alan ” fluff” Freeman’s large flat over a music shop in East London.
There they would meet with show biz types and DJs including Jimmy Saville, Joe Meeks and on occasion Beatles manager Brian Epstein.


Ronnie Kray
The police, allegedly, knew about the Kray gangsters and the sex parties known as ” Pink ballets ” with young lads but let them continue
At these parties , young boys , specially brought over from several childrens' homes would be plied with drugs and alcohol.
However these parties were forced to come to an end when the MP & Ex Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe was attending them along with several other prominent MP’s…
The difference, of course, was that the Krays 'overstepped the mark' with murder - but apparently Savile's paedophilia was 'ok'.
Of course Ronnie Kray ended up in Broadmoor Hospital, and Saville was the Governor’ , as he called himself, of Broadmoor.
Considering Savile's strange bizarre behaviour, if he had been prosecuted early on, he could well have been 'sectioned' (after all you or I would have been 'sectioned' if we had behaved in public like Savile), and spent his later years in Broadmoor as an inmate, with Ronnie !


HONOURS


In the 1972 New Year Honours, Savile was appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), which he appended to his signature.

In the 1970s he was awarded an honorary green beret by the Royal Marines for completing the Royal Marine Commando speed march, 30 miles (48 km) across Dartmoor carrying 30 pounds (14 kg) of kit. - Following the allegations of child abuse, the Royal Marines have "erased" the award.

Madame Tussauds London unveiled a waxwork likeness of him in 1986. It was retired in the 1990s (?).


In the 1990 Queen's Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor "for charitable services". Following the allegations of sexual abuse, British Prime Minister David Cameron indicated in October 2012 that it would be possible for Savile's honours to be rescinded by the Honours Forfeiture Committee.

Savile was honoured with a Papal knighthood by being made a Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great (KCSG) by Pope John Paul II in 1990. After the scandal broke, the Catholic Church in England and Wales asked the Holy See to consider stripping Savile of the honour. In October 2012, Father Federico Lombardi told BBC News,
'The Holy See firmly condemns the horrible crimes of sexual abuse of minors, and the honour, in the light of recent information should certainly not have been bestowed. ...As there does not exist any permanent official list of persons who have received papal honours in the past, it is not possible to strike anyone off a list that does not exist. The names of recipients of papal honours do not appear in the Pontifical Year Book and the honour expires with the death of the individual.

He held an honorary doctorate of law (LLD) from the University of Leeds.



He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bedfordshire in 2009, which was posthumously rescinded in October 2012.

He was an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR).



He was also awarded the Cross of Merit of the Order pro merito Melitensi.
The Order of Merit pro Merito Melitensi of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is a knightly order of merit established in 1920.
It is awarded to men and women who have brought honour and prestige to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta or actively promoted Christian values (you must be joking !) or works of charity in the Christian tradition as defined by the Roman Catholic Church. 

He was a Freeman of the Borough of Scarborough. This honour was removed in November 2012.



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BEST 'QUOTES' OF 2012



'Do all meerkats come from Russia ?'

'Bad Education' is a British sitcom produced by Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC Three. It stars Jack Whitehall as young teacher Alfie Wickers – "the worst teacher ever to grace the British education system" – at the fictional Abbey Grove School in Hertfordshire.
Unfortunately, Abbey Grove is far from fictional !

'Professing to being liberal and caring - in this era - is more important than being so.'


— Victor Davis Hanson


'Two posh boys who don't know the price of milk'


– Nadine Dorries on Cameron and Osborne 23/04

Nick Clegg - has he put on weight ?
'I'm sorry ?'

– Nick Clegg for most of the year, but partcularly 19/09


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OUTSTANDING PERSONALITIES OF 2012

Seth MacFarlane 
Stewie Griffin
Undoubtedly the TV personality of the year was "Stewie" Griffin, who is a character from the television series 'Family Guy' - or should we say the incomparable Seth MacFarlane.
Stewie is the youngest child of Peter and Lois Griffin, and the brother of Chris and Meg.
He also has a close friendship with the family's anthropomorphic dog, Brian.
He has a strong hatred for his mother Lois Griffin, as it is his lifelong goal to kill her - which seems quite reasonable in the circumstances.
A master of technology, Stewie has not only mastered time travel, and the invention of numerous hi-tech weapons, but has also managed to create the 'elixir' of youth, and appears to permanently one year of age.



Александр Орлов - Alexander Orlov
Александр Орлов (Alexander Orlov) is an anthropomorphic Russian meerkat.
Orlov is of aristocratic stock, and the founder of www.comparethemeerkat.com.
Aleksandr's family have lived in Moscow for many generations. His "greatest grandfather", Vitaly, fought in the 'Meerkat–Mongoose War' of the 1850s, and his grandparents survived the 'Furry Terror' of 1921.
Aleksandr became a billionaire in the 1970s. He lives in Moscow, although he apparently also owns a large mansion in South London. He now spends his time on vanity projects such as his website, numerous self-portraits, various petitions (whether it be banning 'comparethemuskrat.com' or beating Sergei at Scrabble by adding a word to the dictionary), and epic film-making (mostly starring himself and Sergei).
Aleksandr stated in an interview on his official Facebook that he is not married and has no children, despite having many marriage proposals.


Roger Smith
Roger Smith is a character from the television series 'American Dad'.
Roger was born in AD 410.
He is a space alien, reminiscent of the Roswell greys with his hydro-cephalic head, but with a body that resembles E.T.. Roger is sinister, free-spirited, and selfish.
He has a near-obsessive childlike affinity for role-playing various personae in his day to day life, motivated in part by the need to hide the fact that he is an alien.
He came to live with the Smith family after saving Stan Smith's life in Area 51.
Roger describes himself as a "fey, pan-sexual, alcoholic non-human".
Roger's body creates a mucus like fluid which is regularly expelled from several otherwise invisible orifices



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GREAT FILMS SHOWN IN 2012

There seems to be only two

Family Guy - 'It's a Trap !'

'It's a Trap !' is the double-episode season finale of the ninth season of the series 'Family Guy' and the final part of the series' trilogy 'Laugh It Up, Fuzzball'.
The episode aired on Fox in the United States on May 22, 2011, and was produced for the seventh production season (Season 8)
The episode was written by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and David A. Goodman and directed by Peter Shin.
It retells the story of 'Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi' as "Blue Harvest" did with 'Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope' and 'Something, Something, Something, Dark Side' did with 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back' by recasting characters from 'Family Guy' into roles from the film.
Due to the declining number of Family Guy characters, the episode also features characters from 'American Dad' and 'The Cleveland Show': Roger (see above) appears as Moff Jerjerrod, Klaus appears as Admiral Ackbar, Tim appears as Wicket the Ewok and Rallo appears as Nien Nunb.
Stan was originally going to appear as Wedge Antilles, but his part got cut (he is still mentioned when Lando orders him to destroy the Power Station in the main reactor of the Death Star).
The role of Meg Griffin continues to be minor, this time taking the role of the Sarlacc.
Stewie Griffin again plays a diminutive Darth Vader, with Chris as Luke Skywalker and Brian Griffin as Chewbacca.

Road to the North Pole
'Road to the North Pole' is the eighth episode of the ninth season of the comedy series 'Family Guy'.
Directed by Greg Colton and co-written by Chris Sheridan and Danny Smith, the episode originally aired on Fox in the United States on December 12, 2010.
In "Road to the North Pole", two of the show's main characters, baby Stewie and anthropomorphic dog Brian, who are voiced by series creator Seth MacFarlane, go on an adventure to the North Pole in an attempt to kill Santa Claus.
They eventually discover a dreary, polluting factory full of disease-ridden elves and carnivorous, feral reindeer, along with a sickly, exhausted Santa who begs to be killed. Stewie and Brian take pity on him, however, and decide to fulfill Christmas by delivering gifts to the entire globe, albeit unsuccessfully.
"Christmastime Is Killing Us" was nominated for Best Song Written for a Visual Media at the 54th Grammy Awards.

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IN MEMORIAM

Gerry Anderson, MBE (14 April 1929 – 26 December 2012) was a British publisher, producer, director and writer, famous for his futuristic television programmes, particularly those involving 'Supermarionation', working with modified marionettes.
Anderson's first television production was the 1957 Roberta Leigh children's series 'The Adventures of Twizzle'; almost a decade later he produced his most famous and successful production, 'Thunderbirds'.
His production company, originally known as AP Films and later renamed 'Century 21 Productions', was originally formed with partners Arthur Provis (hence AP Films – Anderson Provis Films), Reg Hill and John Read.
Other productions associated with Gerry Anderson include 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' 'Stingray' 'Fireball XL5' 'Joe 90' 'UFO' 'Space: 1999'.
Much as he is held in awe by some aficionados, these productions now seem hopelessly outdated, and very much caught up in the 'style-free', tasteless era of the late 1960s and 1970s.
In terms of plot, characterisation and cultural relevance they cannot be compared to Hampson's 'Dan Dare'.


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