Christmas Pot Pourri

Happy Christmas, everyone! Rambler5319 is taking over for Christmas Day. Enjoy! Have a lovely day.


Ok here we go, just a miscellaneous jumble of Christmas related items and questions. Make sure you’re not about to eat your meal before starting on the first item!

I got sick in the run up to Christmas (and am still sick): runny nose, cough, tiredness – usual symptoms. One day while eating my dinner my nose began to run. I grabbed my hanky and blew. I noticed some red stuff in the hanky but not blood. When I looked closer it was definitely pieces of tomato; yes part of my dinner was tomato and bits had found their way from my throat up through the sinuses and out through the nose. Weird feeling though to be looking at bits of my dinner that come out through my nose!!

Concerned friends dropped by with this packet



1. 1167 – The English King John Lackland, son of Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, brother of Henry, Geoffrey & Richard the Lionheart, better known to us as just King John who produced the Magna Carta in 1215. He got the name “Lackland” because unlike his brothers he received no continental land rights. (Obvious really, eh?). (He died in Newark and if you want further info see previous blog 17.7.13)

 2. 1809 – Kit Carson. His father died in 1818 and he then gave up his education in order to help his mother who had 10 children to care for. He became a trapper, explorer, guide, Indian agent & soldier (fighting on the Union side in the Civil War). He learned to speak Spanish, French and a number of Native American languages.

3. 1818 – The carol Silent Night  was performed for the first time in St Nikolas Church in Oberndorf, Bavaria

4. 1905 – Howard Hughes. Became one of the wealthiest people in the world and also a recluse. He was a business magnate, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, film maker & director, philanthropist. In 2004 Leonardo di Caprio played Hughes in the film The Aviator.

5. 1914 – In WW1 the first bomb to fall on the UK fell on Dover


1. 1524 – Vasco da Gama. Portuguese navigator/explorer.

2. 1994 – John Osborne, playright, screenwriter & actor. Most of you will have heard of his play Look Back in Anger (1956) & The Entertainer (1957). He was married five times: Pamela Lane 1951, Mary Ure 1957, Penelope Gilliat 1963, Jill Bennett 1968, Helen Dawson 1978.

3. 2008 – Harold Pinter. Won Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. Best known for his plays: The Caretaker & The Homecoming. Also he worked on screenplays for the films The Go-Between (Julie Christie, Alan Bates) & The French Lieutenant’s Woman (Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep). Married to Lady Antonia Fraser, historical biographer & detective fiction writer,  from 1980 until his death.


1. 800AD – Charlemagne crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III at St Peter’s in Rome

2. 1066 – William the Conqueror is crowned William I in Westminster Abbey

3. 1642 – Sir Isaac Newton – physicist & mathematician who made discoveries in optics, motion & mathematics. His Dad, also Isaac Newton, a farmer, died 3 months before he was born. His Mum remarried but left baby Isaac with his grandmother and it wasn’t until 12 years later that they were re-united; Isaac found he had 3 step siblings for his Mum’s second marriage.

4. 1771 – Dorothy Wordsworth. Yes the sister of that other Wordsworth, William although she was an accomplished writer in her own right as a poet & diarist. Her work was only published posthumously. Her childhood was spent with various relatives as Mum died when she was 6 & Dad when she was 12. In 1799 she went to live with William at Dove Cottage. In 1802 William then married her best friend Mary Hutchinson. William borrowed from Dorothy’s journal writings. Here is her description of one of their walks:

When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side. We fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. 


No prizes for guessing what William turned this into:


I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.


and so on…..


5. 1954 – Annie Lennox, Scottish singer & songwriter. Most famous as partnering Dave Stewart in the Eurythmics and as a solo singer since they disbanded. She has won 8 Brit Awards & 4 Grammy Awards.


6. 1957 – First televised Christmas Message by Queen Elizabeth II




1. 1946 – W.C. Fields, US comedian, actor, juggler & writer. Real name: William Claude Dukenfield. Ran away from home at age 11.

Memorable quotes:

The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.

Ah, the patter of little feet around the house. There’s nothing like having a midget for a butler.

I am free of all prejudices. I hate every one equally.

Don’t worry about your heart, it will last you as long as you live.

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.

2. 1977 – Sir Charlie Chaplin. British comic actor, filmmaker, and composer. Spent some time in the workhouse when just seven years old. When I was younger the older guys at work would describe a situation where things had gone wrong as looking like Fred Karno’s or Fred Karno’s Circus. Chaplin actually joined Fred Karno’s Comedy Company in 1906 and worked his way up to be one of the star performers in the troupe.

3. 1995 – Dean Martin. Real name: Dino Paul Crocetti. American singer, film actor, TV star & comedian. He dropped out of school (10th grade) and had various jobs: delivering bootleg liquor, speakeasy croupier, blackjack dealer, steel mill worker, welterweight boxer who, in his own words won all his bouts except for 11 (he had 12 fights!). He was father-in-law (by marriage) to Carl Wilson of Beachboys fame. His only UK no.1 was Memories Are Made Of This (1956) but most will remember him for his no.2 hit Gentle On My Mind (1969). Remember verse 1?:

It’s knowing that your door is always open and your path is free to walk
That makes me tend to leave my sleeping bag rolled up and stashed behind your couch
And it’s knowing I’m not shackled by forgotten words and bonds
And the ink stains that have dried upon some line
That keeps you in the backroads by the rivers of my mem’ry
That keeps you ever gentle on my mind

If you fancy a listen/watch here’s the link:

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year folks.


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