Carol singing is definitely not as popular today as it used to be. In the way that it used to be done that is, singing in the street, collecting money for a good cause. If you are lucky to experience it today, it is usually an organized event on a grander scale.
It became popular in the 19th century when people would go door-to-door singing carols for either food or money. Some say it was done to celebrate the joy of the season, others say it was way for the poor to sing for food, “singing for your supper” as the saying goes. Either way, it is a tradition that I remember fondly as a little girl when I lived in England, we always heard carol singers out in the street; usually on Christmas Eve.
I wonder why it is not as popular now? Is it because it’s too cold, or because there are quicker and easier ways to raise money, or because there are so many mixed religious beliefs in our communities. Or perhaps people see it more as disturbing the peace, instead of a way of celebrating this festive time of year. Whatever the reason, I guess carol singing is one of those traditions that just belonged in a simpler time.
It’s funny how nature can come together to create interesting images. This tree, which was already leaning over the water, after a storm with high winds, ended up splitting and falling in, creating a beautiful bridge for the local wildlife.
The Head of the River is a very popular Inn in St. Aldgate’s, Oxford in England. Beside the Inn you can hire a punt, for up to 6 people and enjoy a trip down the river Thames for £22 an hour. If you would rather have someone do the ‘punting’ for you, it’s £60 an hour. It’s a great seasonal business, run by the local students and provides summer fun for many tourists and Brits alike.
In the background you can see the Folly Bridge, which is listed as a Grade II historical building. If you appreciate historical architecture that’s another good reason to visit the Old Blighty as well!
In Britain, William Foster & Co created the first prototype of the British Mark 1 tank, in the Fall of 1915, nicknamed Little Willie. Initially the tanks were going to be called Landships, but they were called tanks to help keep the project a secret. The word ‘Tank’ was chosen as the factory workers at William Foster referred to it as “the tank” because of its resemblance to a steel water tank.
Even though the British were the first to create the ‘tank’, the French were quick to follow introducing their tanks in 1917; they produced more thanks than the other countries at war, combined.
The Germans started to produce their tanks only as a response to the allied tanks on the battlefield. Several thousand tanks were manufactured during the world, but the Germans only deployed twenty of their own!
This image is not of Little Willie it is a semi-abstract painting of latter-day model tank!
(Source: Tanks in World War 1 – wikipedia)
Jumbo the Elephant (1860 – 1885) was exported from Sudan, where he was born, to a zoo in Paris and then in 1865 transferred to the London Zoo in England. He was dearly loved, especially by the children who had the joy of riding on him, but in 1882, under great protest, he was sold to P.T. Barnum who took him back to his Circus in the USA. Over 100,000 children wrote to Queen Victoria pleading with her not to sell Jumbo, but legally the deal could not be stopped and Barnum refused to sell him back.
Barnum exhibited Jumbo in Madison Square Gardens and made enough money in 3 weeks to recoup the £2,000 he had spent to purchase him. He made £1.7M in the 31-week season due to his main attraction, this wonderful elephant.
Jumbo died in a train accident, right here in St. Thomas, Ontario where I live. In those days Barnum’s circus traveled North America via train and many rail lines converged in St. Thomas. After their performance here that night, they were being led to their box car and another train came speeding down the track. On that fateful night of September 15, 1885 Jumbo was hit and he died within minutes.
Such a sad story.