Pandemic Pondering #281

Christmas Eve 2020, what to say! Facebook reminded me yesterday that the day before Christmas Eve is usually Christmas Jumper Day, if it is a work day. Not @theoldmortuary we usually rock a festive t-shirt, you can hide it under scrubs and flash when appropriate.

Which is very fortunate for this meandering blog . Facebook also shared a video with me this morning. It seems only right to share it on here too.

My favourite Christmas tune of all time.

It’s very strange looking into a fridge on Christmas Eve and still see spare capacity. It’s also odd to feel able to crack open the festive treats, Cheese Footballs, without a pang of guilt that I am depriving my children of a heritage, festive, comestible. No family for us this year, just an empty table where sometimes there have been over twenty. Not this actual table obviously.

Back to Cheese footballs.The more retro cheese footballs become the more significant it is to hunt them down early in the festive shopping season. I’ve had these little chaps since September. I have even supplied other families with them. I am obsessed!

In these Covid times where even trivial things have disappeared I thought I would share my personal timeline of cheese footballs

My grandparents owned a country pub for most of their lives. A substantial meal in their establishment was a pickled egg and a bag of crisps.

© Beresfords Estate Agents

High days and holidays were marked by bar snacks. This was long before the health hazards of such things was common knowledge. Christmas was marked by swapping out the dry peanut and raisin combo for Huntley and Partners Cheese Footballs. The tin below is the retail version. Pubs could get a substantial size catering pack in the same design. Nobody ever knew that my greedy hands helped themselves to the Christmas stock long before it got to the bar, which for reasons explained below is a good thing!

© https://h2g2.com/edited_entry/A4960

Time moved on and pubs like The Red Cow have disappeared. The illustration of the building above is an image I found earlier today on the internet.

Bar snacks have been tested and declared a bad idea because, pre- Covid, the words man, pub toilet and hand washing rarely appeared in sentences or real life. High levels of transferred urine and faecal matter could be detected in free bar snacks within half an hour of being placed on the counter. Women may also have been guilty of the non hand washing crime.

Cheese footballs not unlike the England football team are a long way from their golden years of the sixties. Every September they can be spotted in the Seasonal aisles of a few supermarkets. Dressed up in a fancier tub and sold by KP.

At this point pondering took a curious path. I googled the Red Cow to see if the internet had an image. It did and a whole lot more.

I can share with you an article from the Daily Mail discussing the conversion of the Red Cow to a dwelling. The toilets get a mention. Fascinating too that the new owner was a microbiologist.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/property/article-2174208/amp/How-turned-Red-Cow-Daisy-Cottage.html

Somewhat stranger is an image of my grandfather’s grave in Wethersfield Cemetery that appears on the same Google. Something I have never seen before. My family did mild dysfunction long before it was a ‘thing’. My grandmother , Gladys, is buried in Melbourne, Australia.

As it turns out this is exactly the right blog for Christmas Eve 2020. A curious mixture of festive, reflective, emotional and pragmatic. I urge you to view the video, it is gorgeously poignant.

Merry Christmas, thankyou for being here.

P.S Following the publication of this blog a local history group sent me two photographs of The Red Cow.

Thanks to https://wethersfield-history.org.uk/ for sending these.

The top photo is how I remember the pub but with the signage of the lower picture. The pub was a Ridley’s establishment or house as it would have been known.

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