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Our Christmas message

Christmas Day is like any other day for me: I get to spend it with my favourite person and one of us will prepare a banquet for two yet large enough for ten.

I’m lucky, for there are many who will be denied the chance to spend Christmas Day with those they love, and this marks a sad occasion. To those people I say; “They are in your hearts, and that is the most wonderful place to be.”

Christmas Day has always meant family, friends, faith (to some), and food. I’m an expert on the latter.

Knowing that the year has delivered us untold tragedies I feared that – to top it all off – the world might blow up before Christmas, taking with it the ice cream we’d bought for the special day. I couldn’t bear the thought of it being hurled throughout the far reaches of the galaxy… so I ate it just in case. In an act of amazing self discipline, the replacement tub was not attacked by yours truly.

Carol and I like to mix our Christmas dinners up a bit so we do away with the traditional servings such as roast turkey or legs of ham in favour of something different.

As I nominated to cook, here’s the gastronomical delight I’m dishing up (you might want to write this one down and try it yourself – you’ll thank me later):

Fry up some chicken schnitzels, and once cooked remove from the stove and place in a baking dish. Spread sweet chilli sauce over the schnitzels and top them with slices of mango. Cover them liberally with shredded cheese (I use the Devondale “3 Cheese Blend” – mozzarella, colby and parmesan). Place in oven and heat until the cheese has melted. Serve, sit back, and wait for the screams of delight. You’ll be everybody’s new best friend.

Enough of my talk of food, and onto what I really want to say:

To everyone who helps make The AIMN a great place: the authors, the commenters, the moderators, our donors, our 23,000 Facebook followers, our subscribers, and the wonderful people who share our articles on Twitter and Facebook… Carol and I would like to extend our warmest Christmas wishes to you and your loved ones. You guys make Christmas special for us.

 

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35 comments

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  1. Ross William Cornwill

    And a Merry Christmas to you as well.

  2. Kathryn

    Happy Christmas to you and your family, Michael. Hope 2022 brings joy, love, laughter and good fortune to you and everyone you love! My best wishes to Grumpy Geezer and his family as well – thank you, Grumpy, for providing insight with so much humour! Cheers!

  3. Intimit1

    Happy Christmas to you, Carol & all Aimn contributors. Another year of shining a light on the cockroaches that don’t want their dirty deeds exposed. Thank you & keep up the great work. & thanks for the recipe. Now just have to not burn the snittie!

  4. Kate Ahearne

    Happy Christmas to you both, Michael, and to everyone else here – even the occasional trolls. (‘Tis the season for love and goodwill.)

    Your recipe sounds ‘interesting’. A heart attack waiting to happen? But then so is a turkey (which is what we’re having), and so is a leg of ham.

    And love to all of those who are unhappy today for whatever reason, or unwell, and to all those who need what they can’t have.

  5. Jennifer A Meyer-Smith

    Happy Christmas, Michael and Carol

    Happy Christmas, Comrades

    Go #TheALLiance!

  6. LOVO

    Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year to you all. 🎅 🍻

  7. Kaye Lee

    Merry Christmas to you all and thank you for another year of good company and stimulating conversation at Michael and Carol’s home for us all.

    It can be a joyous time and a sad time but I too feel those who can’t be with us are always safe in our hearts.

    There is one thing we can all share joy about….every day that passes, we are one day closer to an election 🙂

    Peace and goodwill to you all.

  8. Henry Rodrigues

    Happy times Michael and Carol and great expectations for the New Year. Enjoy your Christmas dinner and raise a glass for the end of a truly excruciatingly bad year.

    And to all those who post here, those who agree with me and those who find me disagreeable, here’s to the New Year. Cheers !!!!

  9. Michael Taylor

    Thank you to everybody. You guys are the family we can’t be with today. ❤️

  10. Michael Taylor

    This made my heart melt. The little girl next door made Carol and I a Christmas card.

  11. Jon Chesterson

    Merry Christmas Michael, Carol and all here at our beloved AIM!

    LONG LIVE THE HONEST FOLK – LONG LIVE US!

    We are indeed spread a little thin, perhaps even thinner than last year as Omichaelmas spreads his wings across our nation, scaring the decent folk, but this Christmas and New Year we should be more scared of Morrison, who tries to pass himself off as father and protector of our nation, when in fact he is destroying all things good and once we thought were lasting temporal, we know, we wish. The threat is his bid to get re-elected on a golden liberal ticket, a gutful of sickening lies and corruption to stab us all in the back again and again. We must not let this happen. So you can all guess what my new year resolution will be, and it is colurful!

    On a more pleasant note, but perhaps not for Father Ted, for those who haven’t had a good laugh this season or got no Christmas cards this year, do not lose heart, for here is the funniest version of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ I warrant you’ll ever hear. https://youtu.be/lbejNNCTr7k – I think we are really blessed for the sense of humour our Irish friends bring us, and although I’ve now lost track of mine, I cherish the memories of those I have had so many fine moments with, particularly here in Aus.

    Once I used to sing as a chorister, in my childhood in Sussex, but I will spare you that Christmas carol today, although a fascinating series on the ABC I watched and saw a couple of nights ago – Historian Lucy Worsley uncovers the surprising history of our most beloved Christmas carols, ‘Were they invented to lure locals out of the pub?’ It would seem they probably were, but even more cunning, the lovely songs were stolen from our pleasant and ever loving pagan world and folklore. And this did set me on a trail the past few days…

    According to Vaughan Williams, a prominent composer of post Victorian England, he went hunting for folk songs rather like did Brother’s Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, allegedly collecting fairy tales, and our beloved english composer, he found a humble farm labourer in 1904 or thereabouts, who sung for him a wistful tune in a small pub near Ockley, Surrey UK – This song, ‘The Ploughboy’s Dream’ was sung by Mr Garman, a labourer aged about 60 from Forest Green. Soon after In 1906 Vaughan Williams included a version of the tune in the first edition of The English Hymnal under the title Forest Green. Today it is best known as the melody of the carol ‘O little town of Bethlehem’.

    The original text of the song Mr Garman sang appears to be of a child’s dream, in which hung a dire warning to farm labourers to moderate their language and treat their employers’ horses with respect and not here abuse them, the song’s combination of hellfire and animal rights chimed equally well with the contemporary Evangelical movement and publishers of popular broadsides in Seven Dials. It was also a great favourite of the early folksong collector, the Reverend John Broadwood—Mr Garman told Vaughan Williams that Broadwood would request it regularly and pay half a crown for a performance. Whether or not Vaughan Williams took the hint (I bet he didn’t), he seems to have found the song rather less attractive and only notated two verses of Mr Garman’s text. He felt quite differently about the tune however, and when compiling the English Hymnal, used it under the name Forest Green to replace Lewis Redner’s ploddingly saccharine original music for ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’. The words of the folk song began as follows:

    I am a ploughboy stout and strong
    as ever drove a team
    And 3 years since I slept in bed
    I had a dreadful dream
    Now since the dream has done me good
    I put it down in rhyme
    That other boys might read and sing
    whenever they have time.

    This was just one variation of the opening song. However, on reflection from another source with several fuller versions of the whole song, as a poet myself, I am quite taken with the original folk song (not so much the carol), and consider the text and message far more authentic, truthful and resonant than the famous carol he procured it for. Apparently the melody sung to him was almost entirely rendered unchanged – Now that is somewhat close to plagiarism! So on hunting a little further I came across this lovely song which you might be lucky enough to hear in an english pub one day if ever the twain should get back together again, the song surviving wholesome, fit and lively untampered by christian clergy and famous wandering english composers! Here sung by Hannah James & Sam Sweeney – ‘Ploughboy’s Dream’, 2010 https://youtu.be/3lCgUh-M-Fw

    This is of course a different melody, but my instincts tell me I can almost interpose it with “O little town..’ perhaps as a rogue round, not a descant. Ah yes more lyric, I hoped you’d ask –

    I dreamt I drove my master’s team with Dobbin, Bald and Star,
    Before a stiff and handy plough, as all my master’s are.
    I found the ground was baked so hard ’twas more like bricks than clay;
    I could not cut my furrow through, nor would my beasts obey…

    It appeals so much more to my lifelong love of Astronomy too, not just the poet’s ear and pen, a child’s imagination – ‘The Ploughboy’s Dream’. For more here’s the link – https://mainlynorfolk.info/coope.boyes.simpson/songs/theploughboysdream.html

    The original lyrics tell far more the truth than ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, Morrison take note, I speak from my present day poet’s ear and my past childhood life as a chorister in a little Saxon church called Waldron in Sussex – and yes there’s a pub there too, not the Plough mind, but called the Star Inn, opposite the church – know them both well!

    Well I might head up to Newcastle to see my family and the grandchildren some time in the next few days, but Omichaelmas has played this greek trick on us, I wonder what will come next, doubt it will be Perseus to fly down and rescue his fair Andromeda, less so us.

    So in this festive spirit may I leave you with two of mine – winter poems not Christmas carols. A touch melancholic perhaps, but time catches up with me, I am reminded of our vulnerability. I only received the news a few days ago my Auntie in the Cotswolds, now well into her eighties is in hospital having had a stroke. For me a sad time, she is the closest I have had to a mother, having spent so many childhood dreams in Scotland with her and my uncle who sadly died a few years ago. It seems some of us are destined to travel our last few years alone on earth. Not me, I have my lovely daughters and grandchildren here in Aus, and my Auntie has hers too. But she has been sharp as a raven and her own person since the day I first knew her, and now she is in hospital. I have worked all my life in various hospitals and believe me this is not a place I would like to be, most certainly not right now.

    So in answer perhaps to Christina Rossetti’s Wintry Sonnet and Christmas Carol ‘In the bleak mid-winter’, always has been my favourite, both melodies, and only first and last verses, so divine (the middle three are wanting, indulgent and clumsy). My winter sonnet written 14 days ago and recorded just yesterday (Ah yes it’s summer here on this beautiful day in the Blue Mountains) – ‘Nature Comes to Those Who Wait’ https://soundcloud.com/barddylbach/nature-comes-to-those-who-wait

    And a New Year poem I wrote from London in 2010 but only recently recorded 28 days ago – ‘Shadows of a Setting Song’ https://soundcloud.com/barddylbach/shadows-of-a-setting-sun

    I do have an Aussie one too, perhaps another time, right now I am street walking down a winding moonlit country lane.

    Wishing all here, crew, commentators and readers here on our beloved independent AIM Network – A merry Christmas, happy new year and long may we live to spread truth and happiness, an honest slice of news in this wretched world we now live in, the swill and tonic of fine humour, laughter and satire. Long live the AIM Network and all who sail in her!

  12. Carol Taylor

    Thank you so much to everyone for your Christmas messages. There is usually a Christmas theme every year and I am nominating Hope, hope that we as a collective, a society defeat the virus and that we defeat the Morrison/Murdoch government.

  13. Kerri

    A very merry, safe and happy Christmas to all involved with the AIMN.
    Thank you for keeping us sane in the madness.

  14. Alison

    you kept us informed, educated and entertained this year, not an easy task, thank you to you both

  15. Michael Taylor

    Delightful, Jon.

    You’ll be envious to learn that Santa dropped into Scotland on his way here and picked up a bottle of Stroma for me. 😀🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

  16. Jon Chesterson

    Michael – Well bless me jockstrap and undies, where the struth was my nifty malt from the ‘Cloudy Isle’…? Might have to blow the whistle on Santa too!

  17. Florence

    Merry Christmas to all.

  18. Roswell

    Best wishes to everyone.

  19. Michael Taylor

    Between now and next Saturday the supermarket shelves will have rows of hot cross buns.

    Last year our local Coles put them up on New Year’s Eve. When is Easter again?

  20. Kaye Lee

    For Carol,

    “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama

  21. Keith

    Thank you Michael for all your splendid work.
    Merry Christmas Michael and Carol and all those involved with AIMN.

  22. Carol Taylor

    Thank you so much Kaye, such wise words.

  23. corvusboreus

    To Jesus on Christmas…

    Midst this current obsession with possessions and all the ethical concessions that pragmatics and circumstances force upon the self,
    do you ever gaze down on the scars of your wounds and wonder,
    ‘Would that have gone down better with a glass of Diet Coke?’

    Slainte.

  24. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, would love to see a President Obama one day… the female variety.

  25. Michael Taylor

    Further proof that it’s Christmas Day… Telstra sent me my phone bill.

  26. Kathy

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  27. ajogrady

    To all at AIMM who provide the platform that informs and sometimes entertains us in a world full of media that fail in their resonsiility of being objective, fair and balanced, thank you. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to vent, rage and praise. This time of year focuses us on what we have to be grateful for and on those less fortunate then ourselves but under this disgrace that masquerades as a government more and more have less and less to be grateful for. The reason for a government to exist is to make sure that the “greater good” is paramount for the many not just the few.
    To all who strive for a better future for our children and fellow citizens let me join with the many here in wishing everybody a very Merry Christmas and in particular a happy and healthy New Year.

  28. GL

    Michael,

    After reading your post about Telstra I thought, What’s the bet that bloody Optus has sent my mobile bill.

    Guess what happened? I only have one coconut to give to the winner and that person has to supply their own African swallows.

  29. David Stakes

    One of the few times maybe the only time we sit around a table together and eat. All my children work odd hours, Nursing, Supermarkets, and from home, so eating is like a perpetual grazing flock of animals. So when the stars align and we are all home together it feels rather odd. But enjoyable. realityt kicks back in tomorrow for most. Anyhow all the best to everyone.

  30. wam

    Thanks to the Taylor’s for keeping some of us sane. All my young life xmas was our annual chicken beheaded, plucked and trombone roasted in lard with the spuds, onions and carrots. We had roasted, cored and stuffed with raisins and sugar syrup, apples for sweets All roasting was done by dad, on a wood stove. Mum was the peas, cabbage and cauliflower cheese. Don’t remember enjoying xmas but the food was terrific.
    As for the virus I am leaning towards my son’s take – get vaccinated, get the booster, get the virus and live.
    ps something missing from your message, Michael, but I am just toasting the pair of you with an early glass of drambuie
    CHEERS

  31. Phil Pryor

    “Tis, a season to be cheery, pass on wishes never dreary, some are beery, some are weary, but we comment on, Soon we act dependable, sharpen up the memorable, tell the truth, and nothing but, of politicians who should be expendable, Get the bastards out on ars’l, if they act like king in cas’l, never trust a greedy taker, while your brain works well”…(Men of Harlech) Down with traitors, feed the ‘gators… and up with morals, down with knickers, free the whistleblowers, incarcerate the secretive spying spivs, restore sanity and develop the nation…(wakes) But, a very happy time to all, as we do restore our reserves in difficult times. May it all be better for us, for you, soon.

  32. Michael Taylor

    wam, Stroma is like a sweet Drambuie, and with less alcohol.

    The first sip still has a punch though. 😁

  33. Terence Mills

    All the best to all at AIMN for a new improved 2022.

    I usually look forward at this time of the year to the Royal Variety Performance on TV and usually represents the best and most talented performers in the UK.

    Last night the show for 2021 was at best disappointing with low level talent and without Ed Sheeran would have been a complete disaster. Did anybody else see it ?

    On the bright side, so far I have successfully avoided Michael Bublé’s warbling and Scott Morrison’s Christmas message so it’s not all doom & gloom.

  34. New England Cocky

    Merry Christmas to AIMN in all its components and may 2022 make AIMN even bigger, more influential, more widely read and more influential on Australian politics.

  35. Michael Taylor

    I missed it, Terry. But I confess that the only time I’ve watched it was when the Beatles performed. If you like Ed Sheeran and the Beatles, I’d highly recommend the movie “Yesterday”.

    My Mum would never miss the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and as a kid I thought she was off her rocker. But now I think she got it right. Sadly, the pandemic has ruined that as well.

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