Advent – Day 9

Merry Christmas image – from the collection of Julie Goucher, 2021

I may have shared the picture below previously, but it is a favourite of mine and comes from the place where my maternal Grandfather was born in 1908, Wanborough in Surrey. This post box bares V R meaning that the post box was created and inserted into this building structure during the reign of Queen Victoria 1837-1901.

Copyright – Julie Goucher, 27 June 2014

This is the post box that my Grandfather would have seen and even used, as would have my Great Grandmother and Great Grandmother, both of whom lived in Wanborough. In case you are wondering why this post during the Advent period, well it is due to a hamlet which is within the wider parish of neighbouring Normandy called Christmas Pie.


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Advent – Day 6

Merry Christmas image – from the collection of Julie Goucher, 2021

The post today is a simple one; it is our Christmas tree for 2022. It is a Balsam Hill, Frosted Fraser Fir. It is decorated with an assortment of decorations that we have bought over the last 30 years.

Copyright – Julie Goucher, 2022

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Advent – Day 5

Merry Christmas image – from the collection of Julie Goucher, 2021

A few years ago, I stumbled across a rather nice set of mugs made by Spode. Each Christmas, from 1998 until 2004, Spode released one mug featuring a Santa from a different Country.

Here they are in more detail:

  • 1998 British Santa released (first of set)
  • In 1999 German Santa released
  • In 2000 Bishop of Myra was released
  • In 2001 Russian Santa released (Missing from my set 😦
  • In 2002 Norwegian Santa released
  • In 2003 French Santa released
  • In 2004 American Santa released (last of the set).



I think of all the set that I currently have my favourite is the American Santa, because of the vibrant, festive colours. Which one is your favourite?

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Advent – Day 4

Merry Christmas image – from the collection of Julie Goucher, 2021

My Grandmother always used to buy hamper coupons from the Unigate milkman, I don’t know if she received any special discount as my Grandfather had worked for them up until he retired, but she always had the coupons and then exchanged them a week or so before Christmas for a hamper. There was always lovely boxes of chocolates, biscuits, tins of ham and deserts and a shop made Christmas pudding. I am sure that there may have been a bottle of Sherry in the hamper, even though my Grandmother was not able to drink alcohol. There was also some lemonade and dilatable juices – like Robinsons, and some fruit.

Even though we had the hamper there was also other bits bought or made. The Christmas cake, and Christmas Puddings were both homemade, a delicious joint of gammon that was cooked on the stove on Christmas Eve to be consumed for Christmas Day tea time, a tin of Victoria biscuits made by McVitie’s. The biscuits no longer sold in a tin but are still available. I still buy a box each year and as I put them in the supermarket trolley I have a festive flashback to years past.

We always had Turkey for Christmas Day along with the trimmings. On Boxing Day the usual lunch meal was bubble and Squeak with either the Turkey cold or made into Rissoles. I still have the mincer that my Grandmother used and I still do some of the things that we did when I was a child, and those special moments live on for another generation.

Copyright – Julie Goucher, 2017

Mum used to make the most lovely rum truffles, with the proper stuff, not the cheap essence. Since Mum is longer here we no longer have the truffles. I have the original recipe and lots of happy memories.

Every year, this rather tatty extract from a Woman’s Realm Mag would appear. I had chance to have a proper glance at it. The recipe is from The Archer’s Country Cookbook by Martha Woodford published in 1977.

I can certainly vouch for the truffles!

4oz dark cooking chocolate
4oz icing sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons ground almonds
2 tablespoons double cream
2 tablespoons rum
chocolate vermicelli

Melt the chocolate over a basin of hot water. Beat in the icing sugar, egg yolk, almonds, cream and rum and pound altogether until mixture is smooth, and form into little balls. Roll each truffle in a little vermicelli and coat it.

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Advent – Day 3

Merry Christmas image – from the collection of Julie Goucher, 2021

I read nowhere as much as I used to due to a variety of drains on my time and the pull of social media, but there are several books that I read every December.

I really love the Elm Creek series of books from Jennifer Chiaverini and even though Jennifer has moved onto writing historical fiction I do hope she returns to Elm Creek in the future. That said, she did return with a book for the 20th anniversary of the series, The Christmas Boutique and that is the last image below. The entire Elm Creek series are fabulous.

The third book, Christmas Bells is set in the mid 1860’s and is obviously historical fiction. If you want to see the books listed in the order of publication (most recent at the top) you can do so HERE.

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Advent – Day 2

Merry Christmas image – from the collection of Julie Goucher, 2021

I know I visited Santa as a child because Mum told me. I didn’t think to ask where I saw Santa or how much it cost, because I always thought I had plenty of time to ask her.

Mum did tell me that I was fairly unimpressed and sat there waiting to go back to Mum. It is interesting that is pretty much how I have always felt about Christmas & since Mum’s passing I feel even less enthused. Being married to a Christmas baby makes that tricky, but at least one of us is excited!

I get my enjoyment from make a list of what I think I will buy for my significant other and managing to keep it a secret! He has been known to get down by the tree and shake all the presents!

Hubby on the other hand was never taken to see Santa and for that I feel quite sad, especially since he would have really enjoyed that.

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Advent – Day 1

Merry Christmas image – from the collection of Julie Goucher, 2021

I haven’t taken part or written any advent posts in the last few years. I thought that for this year I would revisit some of those earlier posts and switch around they days they appear and in some cases make tweaks to the original posts. There are also a few posts in my draft file and whilst some of those are not Christmas related, I may well publish them, that way they will at least see the light of day!

Christmas always has its sad moments, in that we miss our deceased relatives, and yet remember with fondness and love those who have passed away.

My Grandmother, always comes to my mind because her birthday, on 18th December was a week before Christmas and this will appear elsewhere during the Advent Calendar postings. The last Christmas my Grandmother was alive she came to stay with us. My husband did lots of recordings of her, asking her questions and listening to her remembering past times. Even now, more than 20 years on I can not listen to those tapes or watch the video. When my husband transfers it to DVD which he still hasn’t done yet, he’ll do it when I am out as I still miss her dreadfully.

Then in the late 1990’s my Nephew, then aged 16 years died on 18th December as a result of a tragic accident involving another school boy. His funeral was on Christmas Eve and although I was not especially close to my Nephew, my husband was, and my thoughts always turn to him and the fact that his young life was wasted. I find it especially sad that my Nephew has been gone for longer than he was alive.

In 2010 we lost my Father in Law and whilst he was elderly, his death was unexpected. Since then we have had a number of relatives pass away, my Mum included. More recently I have had two further bereavements, both  in Australia. Firstly, my cousin’s son, he was younger than me, and the death was a surprise. Then the wife of my cousin passed. We were very close, despite the many miles and I have lost a dear, dear friend. I shall raise a glass to her on 12 December which was her birthday.

Amongst that sadness is of course joy, as each of those individuals has a special place in our hearts and we have some wonderful memories, which, when the time is right will probably appear in this blog.

May they rest in peace, in the knowledge that they are missed everyday.

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The Really Useful Show #ReallyUsefulShow

Screen Capture of the Really Useful Show

The Really Useful Show, hosted by the Family History Federation  has just gone LIVE! You can still purchase tickets, by either clicking on the link HERE or on the image above. There are lots of great talks and vendors attending the show, including the Guild of One-Name Studies and a number of societies that I am a member of….And, if that was not enough to tempt you, it is FREE 6pm-9pm GMT.

You can view my own talk, about European Ancestors also, which has a handout. I will be available over the course of the show so if you have any questions, you can either send me a chat message or reach out to me here, via the Contact Form

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