Monday, 31 December 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR WISHES


Count your blessings instead of your crosses; 
Count your gains instead of your losses; 
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes;
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean;
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.
Irish blessing



May your Past be a pleasant memory,
Your Future filled with delights,
Your Now a glorious moment
That fills your Life with deep  contentment.
Happy New Year!


Auld Lang Syne  is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world; it is traditionally sung  to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. 
The song’s Scots title is translated as  “for (the sake of) old times”.




Wednesday, 26 December 2012

BOXING DAY


Boxing Day is December 26, the day after Christmas, and is celebrated in Great Britain and in most areas settled by the English, including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Boxing Day is just one of the British bank holidays recognized since 1871 that are observed by factories, banks, government offices, and post offices. The others include Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Whit-Monday (the day after Pentecost), and the banking holiday on the last Monday in August.

The exact origins of the holiday are obscure,  it is probable that Boxing Day began in England during the Middle Ages.
Historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.
Another theory  is that the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor were opened and the contents distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St. Stephen.                       
As time went by, Boxing Day gift giving expanded to include those who had rendered a service during the previous  year. This tradition survives today as people give presents to tradesmen, mail carriers, doormen, porters, and others who have helped them.
Just as Americans watch football on Thanksgiving, the Brits have Boxing Day soccer matches and horse races. If they're particularly wealthy or live in the country, they might even participate in a fox hunt.


Boxing Day is also a traditional sales day in various shops and boutiques. England and Canada's Boxing Day evolved into a major shopping event in the 1980s — the equivalent of post-Thanksgiving Black Friday.
For other European people, Boxing Day is just the second day of Christmas.


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS


May the joy and peace of Christmas be with you all through the Year.
Wishing you a Season of Blessings from Heaven above.
Merry  Christmas!


Monday, 24 December 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS


TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS



Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote the poem “Twas the night before Christmas” also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas" in 1822. It is now the tradition in many American families to read the poem every Christmas Eve. The poem “Twas the night before Christmas”  has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the story of “Twas the night before Christmas” St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers!
The first publication date was 23rd December 1823 and it was an immediate success. It was not until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore claimed ownership when the work was included in a book of his poetry.



Saturday, 22 December 2012

IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER


In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart. 
Christina Georgina Rossetti, 1872

Friday, 21 December 2012

LET'S SING SOME CHRISTMAS SONGS!


Christmas is coming up!  It is a time for singing our favourite tunes, whether sacred or secular. We all have songs which bring back good memories and make us happy, bringing the child in us back to life!

So let's clap our hands, stamp our feet, and start singing our heart out!



Sunday, 16 December 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JANE AUSTEN!

Jane Austen was born on December, 16, 1775 in at the rectory in the village of Steventon, near Basingstoke, in Hampshire. England. Her  parents were well-respected community members. Her father served as the Oxford-educated rector for a nearby Anglican parish. The family was close and the children grew up in an environment that stressed learning and creative thinking. When Jane was young, she and her siblings were encouraged to read from their father's extensive library. The children also wrote and put on plays.
Increasingly fascinated by the world of stories, Jane began to write in bound notebooks. In the 1790s   she started to craft her own novels and wrote Love and Freindship [sic], a parody of romantic fiction, organized as a series of love letters, in which  she revealed  her wit and dislike of sensibility, or romantic hysteria, a distinct perspective that would eventually characterize her novels.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

LOST IN AUSTEN


Lost in Austen  is a four-part 2008 British television series for the ITV network, written by  Guy Andrews  as a fantasy adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Following the plot of Jane Austen's novel, it sees  Amanda, a modern girl who  lives in present day London and is an ardent Jane Austen fan, somehow transported into the events of the book via a portal located in her bathroom!



Here you can enjoy some videos of this television series which sees its heroine transported back through time to exchange places with Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennet and live her life in Georgian Britain.




Find the time  to read this exhaustive article  about  Lost in Austen:

Sunday, 9 December 2012

THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

This video offers a brief history of English literature.  It is ideal for students of English literature, and for those wishing to expand their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of this engaging subject. 


Don't forget to go and see the following websites to better discover English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day:

"Literature becomes the living memory of a nation."
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn