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B A R B I C A N L I F E


Christmas Cheer Barbicania


Ch ristmas comes but once a year – and some may say thank goodness for that. However your editor has a


Christmas to look forward to this year with tiny feet pattering around the house taking in the awe and wonder, and all the presents, which makes Christmas so delightful for little children, and hugely pleasing, although expensive, for the adults around them. This Christmas will in reality be the first where my eldest granddaughter, who will nearly be three years old on December 25th (well two years, 10 months and five days – these things become important for one so young) may actually begin to appreciate some of the things going on around her, while her 14-month old sibling will probably be totally overwhelmed by the fuss made of her by doting parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. In truth though, Christmas should perhaps be as much for adults as children – even though the


children become an excuse for adults enjoying themselves and, ultimately often eating and drinking far too much once the little ones have been safely tucked up in bed. It is also the time for family reunions – while others will take the time and head off to the sunshine to celebrate. UK businesses tend to close down – nowadays for the whole period from Christmas Eve until the New Year and beyond - which gives people this opportunity to relax without using up too much valuable holiday time, and also means that many of those for whom Christmas is not part of their calendar can join in the spirit of the season, if not in the religious implications. After all many of the aspects of the modern day Christmas celebrations were almost certainly developed from the Roman Saturnalia, and similarly timed pagan winter solstice related festivals so there is nothing new in this. But do spare a thought for those who live on their own. Christmas is about sharing, but if you have


no-one to share with it can be a little bleak when all around you seem to be enjoying themselves. In beginning this short note I thought I might impress you all by informing you to whom the quote I


used to start this piece is attributed. It is to one Thomas Tusser, a 16th Century poet who spent much of his time in the countryside and whose main claim to fame was his long poem in rhyming couplets – A Hundeth Pointes of Good Husbandrie(relating to the farming year rather than marital harmony), and from which the quote is taken. He is also credited with the original quote from which a subsequent one – A fool and h


is money are soon parted– was derived, although he himself seems to have been fairly


unsuccessful in maintaining his own wealth. Such is life. Does Tusser have any Barbican area connections? Perhaps. Late in his life he did live in London and


was buried at the now long lost church of St Mildred in the Poultry, virtually opposite the Mansion House, so only a short distance on the other side of the city wall. The church was demolished in 1872. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren but, unlike St Paul’s Cathedral nearby, seems to have had little of architectural merit to commend it. The first half of Tusser’s Christmas quote is ‘At Ch


ristmas play and mak e good ch eer’ and we wish all


Barbican residents, whatever their religion, to do just this over the festive season – but don’t forget to include your neighbours. That’s what living in an urban village should be all about! And let’s all hope for better times in 2014 too.


Lawrence Williams 5


Lawrence Williams Editor


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