Christmas in England

Soon yet another year will come to its end. It was a remarkably transformational year. After several years of wandering, I’ve well and truly settled down in Dorset. My schedule is as full as it can possibly be and there is an overwhelming sense of stability and predictability. It has been many years since I could say that!

This year, I will have another very English Christmas. I won’t have a lot of time to relax. I’m scheduled to work Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. On Christmas Day, well, that will be busy, too. I will help cook, serve and prepare a Christmas dinner at one of the Anglican churches in Dorchester. It is a very pleasant, civilised affair. For those of us who are alone, there are many in a town where the average age is one foot in the grave, it’s a chance to do more than watch the walls close in on us.

Author: Christopher-Dorset

A Bloody Kangaroo

5 thoughts on “Christmas in England”

  1. Bettina and I lived near Bristol from 2002 until 2011. After eight years with her in Berlin and Munich I was a little nervous about taking her to live in Bristol. The first weeks were dominated by superfluous things like pipes visible on internal walls, ridiculously poor systems for water, no mixer taps, different pressure for hot and cold etc, and of course the paper thin walls.
    Also that it rained nearly every day didn’t help.
    As the weeks went by Bettina became accustomed to these unimportant things and began to appreciate others. For example, yes it rained nearly every day, but the sun shone nearly every day too. We lived in a little country lane, with just a few houses but soon knew all our neighbours. People chatted to each other. She went to buy shoes in Bristol and ended up chatting with the sales girl for half an hour, as she had been to Germany a couple of times. She noticed that people were different. She learned that humility, which is a common English trait, is not a negative characteristic, whereas it’s German translation, Demut, is more a negative one.
    After eight years we moved to Toulouse. It was Bettina who cried when we left. In the end she fell in love with England, the people, the countryside and even the climate.

  2. A very merry Christmas and (happily settled) New Year to you , Christopher and the same to to all the other Charioteers out there. I shall raise a glass (probably quite often) to our small but doughty band over the festive period.

  3. Gaz: I spoke with a Czech man yesterday. He moved to Dorchester ten years ago and has never looked back. The people in England are generally very kind and engaging. There is also something else we both have latched onto. England is far, far freer than the Continent. That’s not to say that everything is better in England or that everything is rubbish on the Continent, far from it. In the Czech Republic and Germany, there isn’t much choice as to what one does or how one does it. There’s a set procedure that must be followed for virtually every aspect of life. It’s very unforgiving. It isn’t that way here. Everything is imperfect, everything is a glorious muddle. It is very human and very humane.

    You mentioned humility. There is something else in England which is missing in Germany and that is self-irony. I speak a very posh RP English. Years of leading a middle class California lifestyle have left me a bit jaded. As a result, I’ve cultivated a very self-ironic alter-ego, Lord Bushbatten. Everyone understands that it is entirely tongue-in-cheek and that it should, in no way, be taken seriously in the same way that I do not take the tongue-in-cheek swipes aimed at said alter-ego as anything but good-natured banter. In Germany, neither would be possible as everything is so bloody literal.

    Lecky: The same to you. Here’s to us, there’s none like us.

  4. Old Backside and I have been back in Blighty for 8 months now. And it’s true: the many folk I have met and spend time with here in the genteel environs of Sussex have a natural, disarming humanity which I’m sorry to say, the Vikings don’t begin to match.

  5. Janus: What I appreciate about Vikings is their forthrightness and lack of mystery. At times, the superficialities of life in England can be irksome. Even when the intent is good manners, when time is short, please don’t waste mine. But you are right. At times, Vikings can be almost vulgarly standoffish. Even Viking-type chum noted that people in England are far kinder and more gracious. He has admitted that at times Danes can be almost embarrassingly crude.

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