The Gatekeepers- Keeping us out!!!! Part One

They  come in all shapes sizes – they  populate the corners of the earth- the nameless , cubicle dwelling ,tickers of boxes. They  are supposed to  make life easier . They control our life and happiness, quietly  making decisions  as to  our finances, healthcare, bill paying,  pensions , entertainment , water,  fuel , travel ( airlines , ships, ferries  and trains) . Try to name one thing in our lives today that doesn’t go  through the faceless gatekeepers.

We trust them to  be there for us, especially  when the gatekeepers work for government agencies, federal, state, local or for the crown, or republics. You  see we  the people  are the employers of the gatekeepers. This is something  many  of them seems to  forget .

Due to   an  upsurge of people getting annoyed with  said gatekeepers – probably  because by  the time  we the consumer/ client  have already  had a stressful day with others of their kind- we are warned with  signs etc our annoyance won’t be tolerated  and we can be thrown off planes, https://clark.com/travel/7-reasons-you-can-get-kicked-off-a-flight/

and in the case of  Condor– a ferry  service  in the UK

https://www.bailiwickexpress.com/jsy/news/condor-react-after-threats-and-abuse-staff/?t=i#.Wo2AbUmosc8

” The ferry company – beset by problems since it launched its new £50 million Condor Liberation vessel on the Jersey-UK route last May – is putting up posters to remind passengers that abusive behaviour will not be tolerated.

And they say that some passengers have threatened to go to the media with their complaints if unreasonable demands aren’t met. Condor say that means they are now questioning whether much of the criticism they have faced is legitimate or not.

However it seems Condor is less than perfect in and of itself, which  may  explain customer’s irritation and irritable behavior-

Related News

High winds cause travel disruption

It wouldn’t be fair for me to  pick on poor old Condor they  are just the tip  of the iceberg  when it now comes to  “be nice!! no matter the provocation  OR ELSE! customer service

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/buyer-beware-europe-plane-train-boats-autos-hotels/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/trains-and-boats-and-planes/

TEN YEARS AGO I WARNED AND POINTED UP  THE – THEY  HAVE YOU  WHERE THEY  WANT YOU  GATEKEEPERS

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/where-do-i-begin-and-how-to-restart/

But above all “don’t complain, don’t moan and don’t get angry” I have learned that the “muppets” have power the power to decide whether you fly or not….

If you’ve ever wanted to end a complaint letter — or phone call, for that matter — with the words “I’LL NEVER FLY YOUR AIRLINE AGAIN!” or “I’LL SEE YOU IN COURT!” then let me offer a little advice. Don’t. Threats won’t just guarantee your failure. You could also end up on a company’s blacklist (oh yes, they have them)

French  side of the Euro StarWas it my  fault there was a fire in the tunnel  days previously- was it my  fault they  messed around with  our tickets, tried to  separate a pregnant daughter  , mother and father, and then put them on a train with  the incorrect destination for two  of them. When we tried to  explain in “English” we were met with   the “language stall” and finally  when I had worked out what the  “employee was saying” ( high school French) we were then being denied from boarding any  train PROBABLY  BECAUSE THEY  THOUGHT I  WAS A PUSHY  AMERICAN .  All trains were suddenly  full!!! WE WERE TOLD TO  LEAVE THE STATION!!!

However , my  beautiful daughter then had to turn on the charm ,  do  the sympathy  and blue eyes ploy  give the “gatekeeper his due reverence”  and got us on the train , which  was going to  our proper destination  and was 3/4 EMPTY!!!

You  learn to  shut up because  we have learned not to  put our hands in the fire or  upset the gatekeepers because the new power of claiming  they  feel threatened or loosely  interpret the term verbal abuse- without benefit of any  advocate for you  the client/customer/ citizen  , or the I am not paid to  deal with  irate people’s attitude- errrrr yes you  are!!!!!if you  are in the gatekeeper customer service industry.

You  are  held in the gatekeepers  grip- locally  I have been through the hell of the gatekeepers of government – I  am sure I  am on their black list

as one  Ms. Rosario of a local federal office stated to  me – she wasn’t prepared to  listen  to  my  situation- probably  because they  were

“short-staffed and she knew better than I the protocol  

I  say  that because that is how the conversation started – “we are very  short-staffed today  so  I  want to  get this done.….and her closing statement to  me that day Dec 18th 2017 AFTER I  had to  wait 5 weeks for the phone call….

” I will not deal with  you “

HMMMMMMMM   well SHE WAS RIGHT!!! she wasn’t dealing with  ME- NO! she was responding to the person who  was scared to  make waves incase the punishment for my  actions would be taken out on a 99-year-old lady

However , I  decided at three o’clock in the morning to  Hell with  it  they  would now deal with  ME!!

The ME that writes,  the me that gets on a soap box, the me that is nearing her sell by  date and has hit bottom emotionally, the me of the big mouth……… the ME that by  her attitude of “I will not deal with  you” – denied  ME and the 99-year-old  “due process and the right to  appeal”…. That is the ME to  be dealt with…

One of the main problems – whether it is paying your water bill ( locally) this has become a trip up  the River of Irate , getting cable TV or getting answers  from any  of the gatekeepers is – they  are presumably  DEAF!

They  are the “pseudo listeners” – they  have their “protocol of which  boxes need to  be ticked ” and that is it end of story- the computer says…….. and nothing you  can do  will make them stray  from that course and think out of the “computer box”.

And there is more to  come …………………

Free Speech by Chris Ritchey

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February 21, 2018 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

Gonna Party like you’re 99 – !!!!!

 

I have been thinking about this post all week- how do  I write about my  mum and her life  experiences   and loves. I decided to   let her words tell the tale of the time before – before she was my  mum and a young child and woman in her mid twenties.  I  think she said it best in her book ( published for family  only and written to  my  daughter when she was a wee one) in  the foreword :

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

It is sometimes safer to write about other people than about oneself and easier to shape their lives into a consistent pattern. When you come to examine your subject, in this case my life, more closely the process is somewhat more complex and daunting than I originally thought. Every human life is at once so complex, yet simple, so perplexing yet clear, superficial and yet plunges to the depths that attempts to present it as a unified whole may take more talent than your Nana has but I will try.

 

The times before when she was a young girl  scrumping apples with  her brother  Mark , that didn’t bode well as you  will see:

Parrot snout ( his nickname  for her) , tell me whatever you do- if you see anyone whilst I climb to the top of that tree”

“Ok, Mark, I will stand underneath whilst you throw the fruit down”.

What a wonderful bag I collected. The sunshine was brilliant and I got caught up watching the butterflies, I seemed to be lulled with the peace and tranquility of it all. “ What was that I could see? Could it be the policeman’s helmet appearing over the fence and two eyes taking in the scene!”? My voice froze, I could not warn my brother, not a sound came from my throat. I tried and tried to make the sound come “ Oh! Vi don’t muff this one” but I took to my heels, the bag of lovely fruit spilling and scattering in the orchard joining the feast for the wasps. I made for the hole in the fence and bolted without ever looking back, leaving the policeman underneath the tree waiting for an unsuspecting boy to descend.I was terrified, would I once again be shunned and ostracized by all and sundry? My  brother  angry  gave me  clip round the ear and said “ I will never take girls along again!”

 

The opportunity  for higher learning denied , although passing her exams and obtaining a scholarship, the family  could not afford the extras .

digging for victory

Her first job at the Express Dairy  when she was 15 as a window dresser  and in charge of the shop –  she too became one of the ME TOO      – this generation didn’t invent  sexual harassment…… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_Too_movement 

 The visits of Mr. B { a travelling Superintendent for the company } grew more frequent, I grew more apprehensive. I longed to confide my fears to someone, my sister Renee was too young, my mother would have advised and helped me but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell her…what could I tell her as nothing had yet occurred. Events came to a head one afternoon, Mr. B called in; he had a very nice shiny new car and invited me to go for a ride with him that evening. I said I was unable to do so.

”OK then some other time maybe!” Meanwhile he made some coffee, opened a tin of pineapple chunks (4 1/2 d) and a carton of cream (2d) he offered me some. I don’t really know what happened then, but I was suddenly held in a vise like grip, the small table upon which the pineapple and cream were sitting went over, juice spilling all over me! The fingers with the hairs were groping and fumbling, I was shaking with fright, and my overall was off ….my brass buttons “pinged” as they hit the floor.

Sometimes the unbelievable happens, it did a customer came in the shop door. And the bell really saved me! The lady bless her never knew what she did for me that day. I didn’t stop to lock the shop up but tore off on my bicycle, not daring to look around. I turned in my resignation and applied for a position in the G.P.O. (General Post Office)

Mum managed to  get a placement

The training school was in Holborn, with dummy switchboards. It seemed there were nothing but aged old dried up spinsters ladies were teaching us,( how unkind and thoughtless we are when we are young.) The wonder of it all when we finally finished our training and passed as “thirty six hour girls” ( you were only allowed to work for 36 hours to start with hence the expression). We were then directed to our “local” telephone exchanges. During this training time which took three months we weren’t paid. How my mother coped not only not having my wages coming in to help but to give me enough for fares and lunches must have been so very difficult for her but somehow she managed.

The meeting of the young man who would eventually  be her husband and my  father.

. After one of the dances, as was the custom then, we were standing clapping waiting for the band to start up again; a chap around 5ft 9, quite well-built with terrifically strong-looking shoulders and periwinkle blue eyes and with blonde hair, one curl of which had fallen across his forehead. He came over and whisked and danced me to the other end of the room.

 

Then War!! Mum volunteered for special duty  and ended up  at the Ministry  of Information


Three of us would be required to man the emergency switchboard, which was housed in the basement of the building; this was called the war room. A big square room, around the walls were telephone boxes which were connected with a direct line to all the important ministries for example, the Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry, Foreign Office, Ministry of Supply etc. etc.

In each telephone box sat a high-ranking official who would be in communication with his respective Ministry. The censors and press officials were they’re sorting and sifting through thousands of reports coming in from all areas of Britain and the world.

These people were tremendous and treated the operators extremely well Lord Reith had taken on the job of Minister of Information; he had been head of the BBC. Winston Churchill, who was then 1st Lord of the Admiralty, used to come through on his direct line “ Good Morning, give me the Minister please” short polite and always to the point. The town clerks and mayors of today in local council could well take a lesson from those gentlemen of yesteryear.

Sir Walter Monkton was there; he was a good friend of the Duke of Windsor who was in France at the time. The Duke would call quite frequently to have a chat with his friend. I enjoyed my work immensely it was extremely busy especially if any kind of action, naval air or army was taking place.

However all was not fun and games  my  19-year-old mum working at the Ministry  of Information you  got the  war news before most and one day:

 

HMS Southampton

her boyfriend’s ship

Damaged during air raid on warships in Forth Estuary.One bomb penetrated three decks. Casualties.

came through the ticker tape

NOTE: ” The Man who Designed the Spitfire” again little life coincidences. The Spitfire first saw action on that October 16th 1939 protecting the Royal Navy and my Dad.

On 16 October 1939, Junkers Ju-88s of 1/KG 30 led by Hauptmann Helmuth Pohle attacked British warships in the Firth of Forth. Nine of the Ju-88s were intercepted over Rosyth by three Spitfires of 603 Squadron, each of which attacked Pohle’s aircraft which was hit repeatedly and crashed into the sea

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-part-6/

However she too was in peril and felt the Nazi Blitz…


It must have been only 9: pm. There seemed to be a great deal of activity outside. We used to be able to tell by the sound of the aircraft engine whether it was one of ours or one of the Germans.

The whistle of the descending bombs and the following explosions was terrifying. We sighed a breath of relief when hearing that explosion didn’t have our name on it. This night I did not hear the whistle nothing suddenly a complete and utter silence. The bricks seemed to be crumbling and falling all around. I tried to hold onto something. I only grabbed at empty space. The air was filled with dust. I realized the house must have received a direct hit and the three people who had been near me had disappeared. I tried calling the silence was eerie and shocking. I had bricks and wood and plaster all around me “was I going to be buried alive?”

 

There was one sound, a hissing sound coming from somewhere beneath me. “A fractured gas pipe perhaps”. I remembered hearing accounts of people being gassed to death before they had been dug out from all the rubble. I groped all around in that black darkness and found a pipe, maneuvered myself and sat over the leakage. Bricks were still falling but I had heard human voices Maudie and her mother and sister (Barbara) everyone was at least alive. Then came the sound of faint movements. These became clearer and what seemed to be hours later a chalky white face appeared, Mr. Cushing’s. He had been on ARP duty outside and seen his own house go up!

Many hands helped me out; I was the first and escaped with hardly a scratch but was holding a very sore backside and apparently hysterically asked the first aid warden “ can you get gassed in the posterior” he obviously thought I was a little balmy. Mrs. Cushing fared the worse and Maudie and Barbara were very badly bruised and shaken, seeing the remains of what was left of the house. Just one heap of broken bricks, shattered glass and matchsticks only remains of doors and beams. The marvel is that we escaped at all.

These things happened  before I  even knew this wonderful woman who was  to  be my mum.

After the war years came family  years – chock a block full with  uncles , aunts, cousins  a lots of laughter. As always there were  some bad and terrible times   but always through it all was my  mum constant , loving and keeping the wolf from the door and being there for me.

MY mum may  not have amassed a fortune but I don’t know any  other person who  has, through the years  gathered so  many  friends and such  love, due to  her just being her . Never a day  goes by when there isn’t at least one card or letter coming through the mail from some far-flung corner of the globe. She is Aunty  Vi or Aunty  Janet, mother in law  and sometimes the “Dame”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Best of all she is my  mum, and her  grandchilden’s

and her Great grand children’s  NANA!!!


 

Happy  Birthday  Mum this one is for you !

 

February 11, 2018 at 1:45 pm 3 comments

Feb 3rd -Helpless- Chris Ritchey

Heart of Thorns- artwork Chris Ritchey

Another February , and  the beginning of the  scream , the weeks of feeling totally  useless and helpless . Walking in two worlds – trying to  remain calm, positive  and supportive for the journey  thrust upon your young life.  All the while my  chest  collapsing, jaw clenching to  stop the tears and terror I was feeling from showing.  The weeks and months after you  passed   trying to  stop from going mad,  running from the “black dog” of Churchill fame.

The emotional incontinence – staying close to  home  – not wanting to  drive  incase the sight of a young man in black  Ford 150 truck  would split my  reality.  I learned how to  hide, how to  suppress the emotional nightmare with tricks of the grief-stricken. We, who  have lost our son or our daughter  learn lessons no  one should have to  learn.

The nights  when the dying days visit –  the  mind tools kicking in  to temper the  ferocity  of memory so sleep can come.  Turning a corner , one would think, but like the damned cancer it is there lying quietly , building upon itself.  I thought I  was managing quite well in the last few months  and then- not cancer- but once again wanting and trying to  get your Nana  through a situation caused by  bureaucrats. Weeks and months of fighting , trying to  make sense of a situation beyond my  control . Holding on,  trying to  be the Loraine I  once was …. A bureaucratic wall was thrown up

I couldn’t get through , your Nana’s physical and emotional well-being  compromised by an officious, pseudo-listener  “gatekeeper” . After months of dealing with  her ilk  and they,  not knowing or caring how this situation was causing such distress to   a 98-year-old woman- as the phone was hung up – and I  sat stunned – bewildered  not knowing where to  turn next.

 

BFA project
Chris Ritchey

And then it happened – the trigger- those feelings  of the dying days were unleashed , not in waves but  with a flood- overwhelming  logic – nothing could stop the torrent- hours  and hours of raw emotion, tears that just wouldn’t  cease, the sobs that wracked  were back – brought forth  from their hiding place. Worried faces of family  , concern , the questions  upon  furrowed brows.

Then just as “anger ”  at  the cretins  of your bride’s family  kept me upright in those days of   total despair and surrender… anger once again surged through the dark and made me strong enough to  continue- to  fight back against  the ignorance  – the   “people” inflicting pain  upon those I love.

Your Nana survived the bureaucrats, thanks to help  from those that did and do  listen .  And I  realized once more  the wound has not healed- the scar is still only  surface deep and it waits…… because there is nothing I  can do – even in anger- to  see you  walk through a doorway  once more , hear your voice laugh with you  and enjoy  you  being you………

February 3, 2018 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

10th Anniversary- That Woman blog –

TEN YEARS! a lot has happened since I put up  that first post

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/01/21/to-blog-or-not-to-blog/

As I  wrote that first post, I had no  idea that in a few short weeks my  world would fall apart .

 

I started off that  January  21st 2008 with  an ideal and a hope to  make a difference.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/01/  and continued to  explore my  own way  forward from the conflict of CRA  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/category/cra/ and with  “reports and studies”  on Lorain’s well being, visiting  the theatre and my  mentor and her quote of “this too shall pass” !

BUT then:  my  world did  fall apart and I  found not kindness, or compassion but selfishness -even in death. I found my  world upside down and I was in a state of disbelief .


https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/all-it-takes-is-a-phone-call-to-start-you-screaming/

 

 

After the horrendous news  given so  clinically  of my  son’s cancer , I continued to  write for my  own sake – to  take me away  from my  own  terrors  for a brief  while. The blog became a  cathartic tool to give me strength to  deal  – week after week , month  after month  documenting the days the events and the back story of the approximately  64 categories on this blog,  the 1,559 posts to  date with  at least  another 150 in draft form .

Drafts– they  reside in the not yet published stage for many  reasons- in some cases I  hesitate to  publish – are they  a “bridge too far” – should they  not be consigned to  hard copy – Would people really  understand and believe ( even with  documentation) ….. remains to  be seen


https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/july-3rd-the-story-the-book-chris-ritchey/

and a few that will have to  wait until I am dead so  I  do  have the last word

ED Note: I wonder if my  family  will have the guts to  press publish 😉

If I can  pat myself on the back, the millions ( yes millions) of words written by  me in  10 years  – I can truthfully  say  every  single thought, opinion and happenstance is accurate and truthful ( to  the best of my  knowledge) I have documented  and or linked to documentation throughout those years the reasoning for my  opinions etc.

Has this blog accomplished anything changed thinking , made a difference. If I am honest NO!-


The hypocrites  still exist  getting on  with  their lives , falling on their  on their knees to  pray   and get their blessings from a church that has its own issues

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/the-cardinal-letter-h-for-hypocrisy-pappish-style/

– no  sanction for the pain they  caused  for those grieving  the loss of their son , brother and uncle .  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/december-11th-the-beginning-of-the-beginning/


Homes  and buildings in Lorain still are falling down, inspection processes are still a shambles thanks in part to  the procedures and the courts,  deals are still being dealt, government ( no  need to  say  more)

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/the-follow-up-a-tale-of-two-houses-city-council-Loraine/

General Gillmore portrait

Lorain’s history  consigned to  files in a cabinet. Not one piece of Lorain Lorain’s tangible history  has been appreciated or  saved by  the thousands of words written about those early  pioneers.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/

Hardly  anybody  really  cares- scandals ( especially  with  this year’s White House) pile on and are forgotten , replaced with  even more poor behavior.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/02/17/is-trump-the-toxic-avenger-or-dynasty-destroyer/

Society,  as we  who  were bought up by  the  post war ( WW2)  generation thought  it should be, society  has not lived up the  “greatest generation” standards.

Source :https://backpackerlee.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/traditional-british-fish-and-chips/

The saying (which  the Brits will remember) – “today’s news is tomorrows fish  and chip   wrapper” – still holds true today. Although no  longer allowed due to  health  and safety  standards – they  can’t wrap up your  meal in newspaper anymore.

The premise is still the same  “the news today  is soon forgotten  consigned to  the garbage can”  – it can be resurrected come election time  in some cases but happenings that would have been unacceptable by society  in decades prior are  accepted for the most part.

Cartoon by Dave Walker

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/the-media-and-the-blogger-ad-it-up/

Oh! there will be a blow up on social media , posts and outrage BUT it is soon calmed , a new issue will take its place. We did our bit we were outraged on line thinking.  The perpetrators of  course have realized this new way  of protest and the fact  we  the public have a short attention span.

As my  mentor Jean Schaeffer said ” this too will pass”  she was right. So  why  bother , even the documentation linked to  from other blogs  , newspaper links  to  various stories  disappear  from my  site . I learned too late to  make hardcopies in those early  months.

I have documented the past 10 years, the good, the bad, the ugly,   and just maybe in the time to  come a researcher  will come across these thoughts and opinions and get the “true story” – who  knows – worth  a try  anyway. Well 10  years , I  am not sure I  have another 10 years  and the blog’s fate is day  to  day……………… but come what may  I  will probably  have the last word- remember  don’t speak ill of the dead 😉 just not done….

 

January 21, 2018 at 3:27 pm 5 comments

Jan 3rd- Relativity to Time – Chris Ritchey

Chris Ritchey CIA

Time  and relativity – I admit the highest  mark I  ever received from Norman Niles- my  Physics teacher was D minus! I  hated Math  and I detested Physics- loved Chemistry  and History.

However  ” Events that occur at the same time for one observer could occur at different times for another.” https://www.space.com/17661-theory-general-relativity.html

Black Holes I never understood – more a case of not wanting to  be bothered- BUT and there is always a but I feel I am ( as well as probably  many  others of my  kind) lost in time .

A mother who  has lost her child – there are no  words  or labels for us – not a widow, an orphan, etc  unless you  consider  “tethligons”  (Sanskrit word which means ‘against the natural order’)which,  for me ,conjures up some sort of terrible monster- but then losing your  son or daughter makes you  feel like you  are in the world of monsters – caught , crunched between the teeth of the monster  and then spat out – only  to  be caught again

Most of humanity   live in a 3 dimensional world – and then again….

We can portray our reality as either a three-dimensional place where stuff happens over time,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Max Tegmark, “or as a four-dimensional place where nothing happens [‘block universe’] — and if it really is the second picture, then change really is an illusion, because there’s nothing that’s changing; it’s all just there — past, present, future.

The diagnostic box- self- portrait Chris Ritchey

My  universe, Christopher,  since you  have been taken away  has left me in a world where I float, for the most part, between the time before, then and now- New Year’s Eves  have come and gone but every  day  and night I am elsewhere  lost in time, as it no longer registers or is linear,  the time  that has come in between observed only  by others in the 3rd dimension   . I wake never knowing the year…………………. my  4 dimensional  world apart from the normal .

 

Struggling toward some knowledge of the “physics of it all” and once again a barely  passing grade. There are glimpses of understanding  but the are illusive  , on the edge of conscience , just out of reach –

 

 

but they  are there – if only  my  tired brain could grab them – the tools of science notwithstanding in their cold calculations .

I continue to  love and exist in this dimension – nothing changes our  love or missing of you……….except they  grow in strength no  matter the time ….

 

 

 

January 2, 2018 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

Tree of Love- Gabriel Miller- moonbeam and light 2017


A few weeks after my  son passed, a good friend also  felt that same terrible pain of losing her child. There isn’t much you  can do  or say  after those initial weeks to  those that have not felt what it is like to  be absolutely  “gutted” and whose world is no  longer together.  You  are expected to  get over it  –  move on-  people  can get impatient with  your grief, you  are a dreadful reminder that a loss of a child can happen to  them . You  have no  outlet for your love that continues to  grow.  In the following May after Gabe’s passing from  this world,  Gabe’s father and mother planted a tiny tree ( supposedly a dwarf variety) in the area known as Settlers’ Watch.

 

Through the seasons the tree was tended with care  and love ; the little tree grew . Every  year Gabe’s mum and dad light the now  the not so  little tree- 2015 found  it a bit of a stretch for his dad.  This year  more than a stretch was needed

and night fell on a snowy Christmas

The little tree, no  longer small – grown tall- fed with  love and watered with  tears  shone through the darkness and cold reminding us of a little boy

a sweet child – the light of his mother and father’s very  being – the love that is his alone  -lights for just a little while the cold  dark nights.

Gabriel Miller August 17th-2009- December 31st 2009

Photos Lisa Miller – Lorain 365

December 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm 4 comments

Figgy Pudding – A celebration tale – Chris (tmas) Pudding

Traditions in this house took a 180 degree about-face when my  son Chris died. I could no  longer have Christmas  in this house- Oh! my  mum has her “Christmas Grotto” in her little living room  and Gavin and Braedyn come a decorate her little tree and hang the ornaments.

There are no  longer twinkling lights inside or outside this house in celebration of  anyone’s birth- the beliefs of my  childhood torn asunder.

I have  “visited the holidays ” at my  daughters for the sake of her and her family  and the boys. Traditions changed from my  “English  Christmas of yesteryear” – now Christmas Eve  finds lobsters in the pot – named for those that are not very  nice.. and laughter yes, but the traditions of my  daughter’s youth  and of this house have gone the way  of so many  things. Yes! I visit  the holidays – peace on earth  and good will toward men – has a sour note…….. ( too many religious  hypocrites, sadness and questions  added to  the mix of my  life)

But Christmas  is for children and like every  other grandparent last week I  smiled, laughed and cried as the kindergartners at Braedyn’s school put on their holiday  program .  As all the children wore their Santa, Reindeer, Snowflake and Frosty  hats  little faces all a glow , voices were exuberant  in their renditions  and they  joyously  proclaimed the fun that was coming . My  eyes and heart  fell on  Braedyn singing along

Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,Oh, bring us some figgy pudding, And bring it right here.Good tidings we bring you and your kin;We wish you a merry Christmas And a Happy New Year!

I realized not one of them, including my  own grandson, probably  had any  idea  what figgy  pudding was . For the cooks among you  there are two  versions – Figgy  Pudding and Christmas Pudding – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/warm-sticky-figgy-pudding-recipe-1918585

Traditionally  we and my  family, through the generations,   used the  Christmas Pudding   and this is the recipe  that is close to  what we  always served.( although instead of glace fruit – which  I  hate -we add dried apricots , shredded carrot and a shredded Granny  Smith  apple .)   http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/33519/delicious-christmas-pudding.aspx

Every  year my  mum and I  faithfully  made the “real” fruitcake -( not that terrible American facsimile  that is tossed like rotten pumpkins) and Christmas Pud.  It was tradition and Christopher’s job from about  the age of 7 was to  bring in the lighted pudding  to  the table – he loved lighting the pudding  but never ate any. The only  ones eating it were my  mother and I  and my  husband would “force a little down”.  Christopher was the last to  light a pudding in this house.

However, as I  looked at all those little faces – I  said to  Nikki:

Gavin and Braedyn have no  idea what they   sing about with  this song . They  have never seen a Christmas pudding !

I  decided then it was time to  hand the tradition over to  my  daughter and grandsons. We had missed out on  “Stir Up Sunday”  but better late than never  http://metro.co.uk/2017/11/26/stir-up-sunday-what-is-this-christmas-pudding-tradition-all-about-7109142/

All the members of the family, especially the kids, need to take a turn to stir the mixture and everyone should make a secret wish while they stir.

Gavin had gone hunting with  his Dad  but Braedyn and his mum were game –  so  over the river and through the snowy streets they  came today . Ingredients all measured out  and we have a new pudding maker in the family  under the watchful eye of his Nana .

We all made our wishes , there were smiles and a few opinions as to  how much  brandy  went into  the pudding and now they – the puddings ( we made too much  mixture so  now we have two)  bubble and sing on the stove for the next few hours.  I am not sure about the traditional pudding  boiling away  on Christmas Eve this year with  the lobsters in the pot – but to  each  his own………..

December 16, 2017 at 10:18 pm 5 comments

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