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Dead Hyperlinks

All of this material you see on my blog archive has been moved from its original place. This means that whilst I have preserved the old blog, many of the links have been broken. In the course of time, these will be repaired. However, you will most likely be able to find articles that are linked by using the search function – since most of the broken links are internal links to Yorkshire Viking. So if you find, for example, that a link to the logo does not work, write “logo” in the search field. That may be a good temporary fix until the old links can be updated.

Christmas

Merry Christmas

Vestbygd Church

Vestbygd Church also gets filled for once!

Lødingen

Christmas Eve. Full church in Lødingen

I intended to write this post yesterday. We put a lot more into our services on Christmas Eve than we usually do. Yesterday we therefore supplemented them with extra musicians. However, being as I wrote in yesterday’s post completely knackered afterwards, it will have to be today.

That’s not a problem though. In Norway it is Christmas Eve that de facto has become the day; Christmas Day itself has been very much overshadowed by that. I am not sure I very much like this development. How much the festive masses who now fill our churches on the 24th December actually remember and still less listen to what is preached remains a moot question. Today, which should be the most important celebration is something of an anti-climax, with almost empty churches.

It's one time we tend to put a little "more" into the services.

It’s one time we tend to put a little “more” into the services. This is from Vestbygd Church.

Because of that and because having no family I don’t really bother with Christmas myself, I have a little more time to update the blog. I see I’m not alone. Arctic Organist has been doing the same. He has also linked to a very poignant Christmas letter from the Bishop of South Carolina. I recommend reading it.

In about half an hour, I shall be taking my telephone off by putting it into “plane mode” so that I can listen to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s undisturbed. Internet is an amazing thing. I am able to listen to the same broadcast that used to be a tradition for my family when I was growing up in Doncaster, England. As noted in my previous post, I too have my traditions.

VBCH

Playing for the Christmas service at Vestbygd Church.

As you can see from the pictures, I have a very special one of my own only on the 24th December and occasionally when we have concerts. The Adwick School tie is in excellent condition, and I wish to keep it that way (it is now completely irreplaceable since the school no longer exists) , so it really is a self-limiting thing that cannot be done too often.

Gallery

“You know you have to pay to sit up here”, I joke when people start coming to find place on the organ gallery in Lødingen Church

Tomorrow I shall be having my glass of port wine – another speciall tradition from my childhood. Then I shall have to start thinking about the New Year. The bishop will be coming to our parish at the end of January. So that means I must start trying to organise yet more musicians to add some extra seasoning to the services while he is with us.

Jørn

In Lødingen we had a trumpet solo for the Christmas service.

The Same Procedure As Every Year…


Norwegians insist on watching this “Dinner for One” sketch on the 23rd December every single year.  However, they are not alone: I have German and Dutch friends who inform me that the same sketch appears regularly on their TV stations as well. If you actually do feel the overwhelming desire to watch this, press the play button above. I shan’t be joining you..

Such is the power of tradition that we do the most illogical things. Woe betide anyone who doth not understand this. I shall never forget the year I chose not only not to have the Norwegian hymn “Deilig er jorden” (“Lovely is the Earth”) when I planned a Christmas service, but not to place it in its obligatory place at the very end. No variation is possible, for this hath been handed down even from Jesus’ time…. That foolish mistake was back in 1995, and since I have come back to the same parish I can tell you that it was never forgotten! Needless to say, I have never repeated it either.

Other Traditions

It is easy to scoff at the unreasonableness of such a thing. Yet I have only to consider the way in which Mark Damazer, the newly appointed controller of BBC Radio 4 got rid of a certain long standing tradition in 2006 before I too start feeling “hot under the collar”…

As you know, I grew up in the United Kingdom, and through my childhood (and more importantly in þe goode olde dayes of Adwick!) I would listen to the opening of that station. All through my formative years Radio 4 would open up with Fritz Speigl’s “UK Theme”. Indeed, on Sunday mornings I would wake up extra early at six o’clock to hear this before cycling off to Woodlands All Saints’. This was in those halcyon days of Adwick School, when the service used to be at nine o’clock. I could have laid in for at least an hour too, but such is the power of tradition. Every time I now find myself dragged out of bed at some God forsaken hour of the morning to play for a school service before Christmas, I think about what I put my poor mother and father through then. There is justice in the world….

I was not the only one to like this tradition. When Mark Damazer decided to end opening the station with this theme every day, he quite rightly incurred the wrath of the public. It went all the way to parliament. Sadly, however, it wasn’t enough to save it. Although he has now left the radio station, the “UK Theme” is now history. I shall never forgive him. In my opinion, the only reason it had to go was so that Mr Damazer could prove that he was the man in charge.

My Tradition

So I have to be careful about condemning others for traditions. Indeed I have them myself. Every year, on Boxing Day, I take a glass of port wine. This is now my very special way of remembering my parents. The only times I have not done this have been when my job required me to drive on Boxing Day (in which case I took this traditional glass the day after). The reason I do this also cometh from þe ancient dayes of Advicium.

Home

Every year I toast my mum and dad on Boxing Day.

Here beginneth the story that my dear mother was so fond of that she spoke of it till her dying day. Unlike here in Norway, where there often seems to be a taboo about alcohol, I was brought up with the idea of wine every Sunday dinner. My father made it himself, with varying results (although in the end, I have to say he became quite adept at the art). My parents believed that it were better to introduce children to alcohol at an early age, so they would know how to use and enjoy it properly. They believed that denying it until it were suddenly “legal” was the reason that many young people then went completely mad, and got drunk on it. So from about ten, I was allowed a very little drop of wine when we had our Sunday lunches.

When I was about fourteen (I cannot actually swear that I were either fourteen or thirteen, but it was one of those years, and if the later these events took place in þe olden time of Adwick School, which maketh it far better), my parents decided that I could try some port wine on Boxing Day that year. I was told that I had to sip it, and not to drink it like pop. Needless to say…. that I did what I was told not to do, and then had to spend about three hours on the sofa because I was so dizzy! My silly behaviour was later the subject of much mirth, and my mother would relate this story from year to year thereafter.

Port Wine

Port – My Boxing Day Tradition!

I should perhaps state that I was not drunk, and neither have I ever been drunk (not then, nor later in my life). The amount of alcohol I was allowed was not very large. Neither did the experience scare me off port. Some years later, when Adwick went into decline (during my years at the former Polytechnic of Huddersfield, I should lament seeing the slovenly condition of our once proud uniform when returning home on visits) a certain nostalgia for those bygone times spawned this my own very special tradition. Later, when my father passed away in 2001, this became my way of remembering not just childhood – but the family I no longer have.

That then is the reason that every boxing day, I take a glass of port. Ideally, I like to watch something entertaining on the TV, but these days that is becoming increasingly unlikely with the ever greater amount of garbage one sees there. Nevertheless, I do now sip my port, and I toast to my mother and father each time I sit back to enjoy it every Boxing Day!

For those who can read Norwegian, I wrote about my tradition last year on the Sister Blog. You can find that post at http://www.cqd.nu/blog/2012/12/17/ebeneezer-scrooge-kom-du-attende-alt-er-tigjeve/