‘Should never have relied on the satnav to guide us to Bethlehem…’


This unfinished picture – and goodness knows why I decided to paint a polar bear, but never mind that now – was going to be this year’s Christmas card, with the addition of a tasteful star in the top left-hand corner. However, as we only arrived home three weeks ago after our trip to Australia and New Zealand, and the Resident Engineer had a hip replacement operation just over a week ago, the painting remains unfinished and the cards I eventually sent are in aid of the National Autistic Society.

Had the card made it to the print shop, I’d have had to choose a title for the picture, or perhaps a greeting inside. I mulled over the one at the top of this post but decided it didn’t make sense and the alternative, ‘I didn’t expect Bethlehem to be this cold’ seemed a touch irreverent, while ‘Follow the Star’ just seemed bonkers. Still, it might well be next year’s card, so I’m holding it in abeyance.

So – Christmas. If you’re feeling hard-done by when you’re unwrapping a lovely hand-knitted vest or a woolly hat that looks like a tea-cosy but sadly isn’t, it could be worse. Think of the present I received one year from an elderly relative. The card said, Happy Christmas, Birthday (24th Dec) & Wedding Present (13th Jan)! All in one.

And just thank your lucky stars you’re unlikely to be given any of the books advertised at the back of some of my vast collection of Victorian, Edwardian and Twenties & Thirties novels, for instance:

Living & Loving’ by Virginia Townsend – “A collection of beautiful sketches which evince all the vigour, freshness, and attractiveness so peculiar to this popular authoress, and which are highly instructive.”

Or this:

Villa of Dreams’ by Ethel C Nicol – (A Sea Adventure off Monaco).  “Armand de Brussac, victim of an uncontrolled passion, kidnaps Daphne Howard and carries her aboard his yacht.His accomplices are misinformed that the girl is his wife, that her reason has been affected by disease, and that no account is to be taken of any words that she may utter.

The plot, however, is suspected by Major James Truesdale, an Englishman, who pursues the vessel by means of a hydroplane. Throughout an adventurous series of incidents the Author has never wandered from realism, or suffered herself to be betrayed into those impossibilities and absurdities which are so often to be found in tales of peril and dare-devilry.”

One more, which sounds even more of a barrel of laughs:

‘Nightfall’ by Mrs Keith Murray   –   “A story in which the heroine, wife of a dissolute opera-producer, determines to win her freedom. During her husband’s absence in America she again meets the man whom she now realizes to be her affinity; but, after some days spent innocently in his company, a tragedy supervenes which requires prompt action.

Sooner, however, than shatter her present dream she gambles with her life for the sake of his love.

The characterisation is drawn with unusual power, while the narrative is extremely interesting.”

After all this travelling and playing at being Florence Nightingale (or more likely Nurse Ratchett) I’m planning to get back to revising my current work-in-progress soon. Christmas Day seems a good time to start – the better the day, the better the deed, as the saying goes.

Have a good one, from Nicky and the Resident Engineer.


3 thoughts on “‘Should never have relied on the satnav to guide us to Bethlehem…’

  1. Thanks, Jan – on reflection so do I so it might feature next year! Re the books mentioned, it’s pretty well impossible to read them nowadays without a smutty snigger, not to mention a raised eyebrow at the suggestion that the second one ‘has never wandered from realism’!

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