Posts by Pam

Santa’s Mail

Each year thousands of children write letters and cards to Santa who supposedly lives at various fictitious addresses such as Reindeer Land, Snow Land, Santa’s Grotto, North Pole, etc.

In 1963 for the first time the Post Office acknowledged the “existence” of Father Christmas. From this date every child writing to Santa had the chance of receiving a full colour Christmas card and message, thanks to the kindness of the British Post Office.

It is Santa’s policy to try and ensure that every child receives a reply in time for Christmas Day. If this is not possible different design cards are sent out in January.

However, Santa has a wonderful knack of spotting mail from adults. You can be assured that a letter addressed to Father Christmas, care of the Philatelic Bureau will remain unanswered.

Within five years over 50,000 cards were being sent out annually and this had increased to 100,000 by 1971, doubling to over 200,000 by 1982. In 1988, the last year that the total was supplied, 400,000 lucky children received a reply from Santa.

There are also variations in Welsh, cards for letters received too late for a reply and special bulk issue cards to schools. Despite the huge volumes issued these cards are extremely hard to find. I have to assume that the majority are thrown away or recycled each January.

I started writing to Santa a few years back, but as mentioned, he is very good at spotting adult philatelic collectors and for the first two years I received no reply. My sister eventually faked a letter good enough to pass for a child’s and a card duly arrived in 2019. As a sign of the modern age this depicted a sELFie taken by Santa’s little helpers.

Father Christmas does of course now have a proper address, so for anyone who fancies trying to obtain a card, please address your letter to Santa, Santa’s 3 Grotto, Reindeer Land, XM4 5HQ.

Permission for this article to be printed here has been granted by
the Kettering Philatelic Society.

Carols? Yes please

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree !

Sung in German, the lyrics were written in 1824 by the Leipzig organist, teacher and composer, Ernst Anschultz. Here we present the English translation.
A Tannenbaum, mentioned in the original German lyrics, is a fir tree. The custom of the Christmas tree developed in the course of the 19th century – history telling us that Prince Albert’s pleasure in decorating trees made the ritual so popular.

“Christmas, I always look upon as a most dear happy time, also for Albert, who enjoyed it naturally still more in his happy home, which mine, certainly, as a child, was not. It is a pleasure to have this blessed festival associated with one’s happiest days. The very smell of the Christmas Trees of pleasant memories.” Entry from Queen Victoria’s journal on 24 December 1841

A Caroling we will go, but not this year . . .

The Twelve Days of Christmas.

This song has French origins and was published in a children’s book called ‘Mirth without Mischief‘ around 1780. Most people believe it began as a memory game sung at Twelfth Night parties.

The GVFB & the Walk to Westminster Abbey

We’ll be missing the Geddington Volunteer Fire Brigade’s Squirt on this year’s Boxing Day, but there’s no need to miss out on watching the GVFB members doing what they do best – celebrating an event in style!

In 1994 the event took the form of a walk from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey. It took months of planning and just 3 days to complete, but what a three days!

Join them on the walk by watching Fire Brigade member, Vic Crouse’s amazing video. You can see it on our Post entitled “For the Love of Eleanor“. Lots of information to look at as well, but scroll down to the bottom to watch the ‘lads’ have the walk of their lives!

While you’re on that page, look for John Sutton’s poem, typed on green paper, an unusual and rather special take on the Walk.

For the Love of Eleanor – 1994

Following on from the Post of last week – the 30th Anniversary of the Pageant celebrating 700 years since Queen Eleanor lay in St Mary Magdalene – the village celebrated, in some style, the building of the Eleanor Cross 700 years earlier in 1294. Again, it was the enthusiastic Revd Richard Dorrington who took up the challenge and appealed to the village for help and ideas. Support came in buckets and the first thing they did was to form a committee (of course!), with Richard as Chairman and Angie Cooksley as Secretary.

It’s worth noting here, that the images and documents are of a great variety of sizes and legibility. However, by clicking on each one, it will enlarge, and then clicking on the return arrow, should get you back to this post.


Ideas poured in and eventually a programme of events, covering 6 months, from June to December, was produced, including a walk from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey by the GVFB, but more about that later. The beautiful drawing of Queen Eleanor on the programme, was drawn by Gussie Woods, who was inspired by a visit to the Queen’s tomb in Westminster Abbey.

The celebrations took off on 26 June when the Street party was launched.

30 June saw the Geddington Volunter Fire Brigade start their largest adventure to date, and they had plenty of them in those years. Incredibly well organised by the Adjutant, John Hughes, the members set off from Harby with the Queen Eleanor Fire Engine and two support vehicles, stopping at every place that an Eleanor Cross had been built.  A list of all those who took part is included in the video (see bottom of Post) – I can count 30, plus Richard Dorrington in spirit! No better description can be had than that of John’s report in the 1994 summer issue of The Newsletter, which can be seen below. In addition, we’ve added a poem, written by John Sutton, which has a slightly different take on the Walk.

16-17 July saw the annual Flower Festival, whose theme that year was “Scenes from Village History” – a prelude to the pageant to be held in September.
On the 17th July, an organ recital was held in the church by Paul Knappet ARCO, LTCL on a Copeman Hart Electronic Organ. Paul was organist of Kettering Parish Church. Tickets were £2 including coffee.

24 September and the church held a concert of “700 Years of Music” by The Empty Pocket musicians. Tickets for this were £2.50, also including coffee.

21-22 October brought the “The Spirit of Eleanor” pageant to the church, celebrating 700 years of village history. It was brought to life by Geddington residents and local actor, David Neal.

6 December saw the celebrations come to a close with a Commemoration Service in the church with High Mass on the anniversary of the day that Queen Eleanor’s body lay at rest in Geddington on the way to Westminster Abbey.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But the duties of the 700 Committee weren’t quite finished yet.

PS As a postscript, you may be interested in the following Historic England’s Inspector’s 1981 report on our National Monument, the Eleanor Cross.

All that remains for me to finish this Post, is to present to you the video of the GVFB Walk from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey. As is commonly said these days – ENJOY – the walkers obviously did!

The Knitting Club’s Christmas Tree Decorations 2020

Always feel strange to make Christmas gifts in the summer, but that’s what many Club members were doing this year.

Handmade in red, green and white, the Club is offering Candy Cane Horses and miniature Santa Stockings, all ready to hang on your tree.

Also available are some white and silver Angels and Stars – you may remember them from last year.

Hanging on a decorated Christmas Tree in the Restaurant, and some in small individual plastic bags, they are all available from the Cafe Oak, Queen Street, Geddington. As the sizes vary so much, individual pricing is difficult, so it was decided to ask for a minimum donation of £1 for each sale. This year we are raising funds for the Macmillan Cancer Charity, so feel free to leave as much cash as you like in our donations tin!

The Cafe is now open with social distancing from Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 4pm although booking is recommended.
Takeaway is open Tuesday to Sunday, but open until 6pm on Friday and Saturday

Carols at Home

We might not be able to sing
Carols in the normal way,
but we can join in from home,
with these jingly words:

Good news for book lovers

Kettering Library, Sheep Street, Kettering NN16 0AY

is open again for browsing and borrowing books.

.

There are rules and restrictions and these are:
Opening hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10am – 4pm
Saturday 10am – 2pm
And you have to book a day and a time or slot
Closed:
Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday

In addition, the Library is open in 1/4 hour slots, for instance: 10 – 10.15, then closed for 15 minutes to ‘clean’, then 10.30 – 10.45, then closed for 15 minutes to ‘clean’.

To book a slot please call 0300 126 1000, then option 6, then option 1.
Or email at: KetLib@firstforwellbeing.co.uk

For Reservations/Renewals Direct: go to www.northamptonshire.gov.uk

If you just wish to return books, without going inside (on open days only), there are containers outside to put them in and usually, a librarian at the door to help with any queries.

A Village Remembers – Queen Eleanor 1290

730 years ago, in December 1290, the body of Queen Eleanor lay in Geddington, mourned by King Edward I and his court. This was a stage in the most famous funeral cortege in English History and the end of a royal love match. Eleanor had died in Harby, near Lincoln, while the court was on its travels. King Edward had vowed that he would honour her memory by putting up a splendid stone cross of the finest workmanship at every stop on the way to London and Westminster Abbey. In the next few years, twelve crosses were erected, the first at Lincoln, the twelfth at Charing: Geddington was the fourth stop.”

700 years later, in 1990, Queen Eleanor was still remembered and admired. So much so, that a celebration of her passing was organised in the form of a pageant. It was to happen in the very place that she lay, in the Church of St Mary Magdelene. The village has to thank the Revd Richard Dorrington for the success of this venture, and who was quoted as saying, “It was in the September of 1989 that I first thought of the pageant, and I must thank all of the members of my family for their support and sacrifice and also those who kept faith, even though I know at times, you had your doubts.”

A report in the following issue of The Newsletter commented, “It was a considerable challenge which faced Richard, but when his courageous decision came to fruition, 700 years precisely after the historical event, writers, producers and actors responded magnificently to the challenge. They presented us with a spectacle that was profoundly and deeply moving. King and Queen, priest and peasant, monks and messengers, lords and ladies – we congratulate you all on a splendid achievement.”
The final words in this Newsletter report: a definition of stress from Richard: “Having a horse and an Archdeacon in the church at the same time!

On 29 November 1990, Westminster Abbey had their own celebration of the 700th Anniversary, with an Evensong and Commemoration of the death of Queen Eleanor of Castile.

76 Pilgrims from Geddington and Weekley visited Westminster Abbey to attend this service. Thanks to the good offices of the late Lady Scott, they were given a guided tour of the Abbey prior to the service. During the singing of the closing hymn of the service, a procession, led by the Dean of Westminster, made its way to the tomb of Queen Eleanor where Mrs Joan Bennett laid a wreath and the Dean offered prayers of remembrance and thanksgiving.

30 years later, on 6 December, 2020, we decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the pageant by including the video made at the time, by the late Eddie Toseland. Technology has moved on considerably, since 1990, but knowledge of the layout of our church, helps the imagination of that event. It runs for 115 minutes, so be patient, as it’s well worth the viewing.
So many familiar names: so many no longer with us.

Carol Singing – at Home

We might not be able to sing
Carols in the normal way,
but we can join in from home,
with these words:

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