Playing With Dad’s Toys


Today may have been exceedingly dull, but it was also incredibly mild for mid-December.

The orange poppy bud in this cluster is from our patio. Normally we expect these to flourish in Spring and Summer. This year they have never stopped. The pink rose, For Your Eyes Only, has clusters of buds and small shoots that are more evident in the deep red Love Knot. Winchester Cathedral is having a further flush, and this white clematis, although somewhat bedraggled, still performs.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Margery and Paul’s home in Bitterne for their annual Christmas sing-song. Here the friendly little group sang a mixture of traditional carols like ‘Silent Night’, folk songs such as ‘Waltzing Matilda’, and fun numbers like ‘I’m ‘Enery The Eighth, I Am’. Lynne ably led the singing, Mary played piano beautifully, and the rest of us did our enthusiastic best. Margery had been the pianist for the first number.

Afterwards Jackie and I went on to Elizabeth’s where she fed us on authentic spaghetti Bolognese  followed by tasty apricot tart and cream. Jackie drank Peroni and I can’t remember which Australian red wine Elizabeth and I enjoyed.

Elizabeth was on grandparent duties, so we had the added bonus of a short time with Adam and Thea, before Jackie drove them to a party and returned to join my sister and me and my delightful great-nephew Jasper.


Adam’s childhood toys have remained at his mother’s home, so Jasper, three in January, was happy to wave his parents goodbye, wishing them “a lovely time” and remain with his GeeMa to play with them.


Jasper is a dab hand at spearing chips and sausage with a fork and dipping them into ‘red sauce’, which Elizabeth had to keep topped up.

Our next stop was a short visit to Mum during which we made her comfortable for the night.


  1. Enery the eighth I am, I am! The family sing along sounds so fun and I’d join in with gusto. How nice to have so many persistent blooms in your garden. It has been a long and brilliant flower season for you and the Head Gardener.

  2. 65 years in Australia, and I still do not know the words to “Waltzing Matilda” ;
    65 years away from England and I can still singalong with
    “I’m ‘enery de a’ff I am,(I am),
    I got married to de widder nex’ door,
    she’s bin married seven times before;
    everyone was an ‘enery
    she wouldnt have a Willie or a Sam
    I’m de aff ol man named ‘enery
    enery de aff i am,”
    Kind of forgotten my Cockney spelling.
    Damned if I know what that load of codswallop is all about, kind of rambling on;
    ah well. Back to the drawing board!

      1. I doubt if they’d have had much success with me though. I must admit I feel ashamed at times, when I hear the Australian song and anthem being played, I don’t know either.

    1. I think I myself would struggle to spell “eighth” in Cockney! “Aight’ff” ? Braodly, the song is about a guy proclaiming that he’s Henry the Eighth, and trying to bump up his standing in the respect stakes. He’s actually the eighth husband (they were all called Henry) of the woman he’s married. 

      1. Being a Cockney I recall singing along with this at the East Ham Palace, and to the wireless, back in the 1940’s during the war, believe it or not.
        We were at the EHP the day that Italy, surrendered and we all went quite mad wiv cheerin’ an singin’when the MC came on stage and announced the surrender , great fun. never to be.forgotten

  3. Lovey flowers, family and friends! I love that you have flowers in December!! Here in Maine it was 9 degrees this morning, no flowers here!! I wanted to reply to your comment on my last poem… unfortunately it is my current truth, “that” man is back in my life again and while I was happy and hopeful in the beginning, again, it has turned out to be just more of the same, maybe someday I’ll be strong enough to stay away from him for good. I can only hope. I didn’t respond to your comment on my blog because he reads it and I didn’t want to add any more power to his ego… but thank you for reading my poems and for your sincere comments. I truly appreciate your caring and comments. Michelle

      1. Thank you… maybe someday soon I will have the courage to rid myself of this man forever… I can only hope… Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season!! Michelle

  4. Naturally, the roses drew me in but your story made me smile too, especially that you couldn’t remember what wine you were drinking! How un-Derrick-like! We are now plunging on the thermometer, diving to new December lows. The snow crunches, the dog refuses to go beyond the front walk, and anything with a stem has long lost its flower. Fabulous, happy post.

      1. Would you believe the content is block from me in the US for “copyright grounds”? Sigh. Still, I know it well and remember lying on chaise lounge chairs in my neighbor’s basement listening to it. we were pretending to be sunbathing while it was cold outside.

      2. Herman’s Hermits were unquestionably not the original singers of this. Some music-hall/variety performer will have recorded it first. Look up who it’s written by, then google him,and you may find a (hopefully) crackle-reduced early recording which is probably out of ©. I doubt that will fall foul of regional restrictions.

  5. Derrick, I’m sure Bisterne is a nice place, and I’m miffed that WP seems to give it spelling-suggestion priority over a fine suburb like Bitterne… 🙂
    Also, for sticklers, our lead singer has an ‘e’ on her Lynne.
    Widely variegated post!

  6. Jasper would fit right in with my grandies but he is really a polite eater! No fingers! 🙂
    The sing along is a great idea, such a pleasant way to start the holiday season and yes, the older regular songs added in with traditional Christmas makes it quite a jolly time. 🙂
    I sang in our Music class in elementary school, the Henry the 8th song.
    In 2001, Herman’s Hermits performed less than two weeks after the Twin Towers bombing and plane crashes. We had invited them to perform at our Delaware County Fair.
    They did this lovely act with the first song, British flag over the edge of the small stage where drummer played. Herman took it and gathered it up, walked to the microphone and said something about they were here to cheer us up and their hearts were broken and wanted us to try to just relax and enjoy the music. Then, without further ado, he took out an American flag and put it where the British one had been spread. Everyone either cheered or like me, wept.
    Many women brought roses and later, Herman went around gathering them individually from women and kissing their cheeks. So sweet!

  7. It’s quite amazing here too the kind of temperature we are having. It only started becoming cooler today (around 17 degrees) while usually this period is at least 13 degrees. The previous days it was between 25 and 30 which is incredibly high for the season. The great nephew looks delightful indeed 🙂

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