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COLUMN: PG’s Tips - ‘Reflect on meaning of Christmas with this poem’

Diss, Norfolk. Pete Gillings with the Zinc Lined caskets he bought ANL-140312-121656001
Diss, Norfolk. Pete Gillings with the Zinc Lined caskets he bought ANL-140312-121656001

Just turned the page on the calendar and boom! December – the butterflies start here.

Someone once told me never send a Christmas card unless you want to do it for 20 years.

Well, so what? Yes, I know stamps are getting dearer – when did they go down?

There’s just something about a card with a stamp on it and a few words inside that make it feel more personal than an email or printed card.

Just spent a spell in hospital and if there’s a good thing about those places (apart from saving your life, that is), it does give you time to reflect on the more important things, like the way we all spend our time.

My sister was in the supermarket the other day, and like me a chatter, and got talking to an old boy over the price of a leg of lamb.

I’m in my 60s, my sister in her 70s, and the old boy in his 80s – so we have got the war years to The Beatles covered.

Before they parted, he gave her a poem he had written, which beats the Christmas message I had planned.

The old boy never left his name, but if he reads this, he will know a lot of people will agree with him and there’s more to Christmas than Black Friday, electronic games and who’s got the biggest tree.

Happy Christmas to all of you who celebrate it, and shame on those who don’t.

My dad always told me a tin of black paint covers a multitude of sins.

Well, so do these words.


We met and married a long time ago.

We worked long hours and wages were low.

No TV, no wireless, no bath, times were hard,

Just a cold water tap and a loo in the yard.

No holidays abroad, no carpets on floors.

We had coal fires, and never locked doors.

Our children arrived, no pills in those days,

We brought them up without any state aid.

They were safe to go out

to play in the park

And old folk could go for a walk in the dark.

No Valium, no drugs or LSD,

We cured our ills with a nice cup of tea.

No vandals, no muggings, there was nothing to rob.

People were happier in those days, and we thought we were rich with a couple of bob.

More kind and caring, in so many ways.

Milkmen and paper boys would whistle and sing.

A night at the pictures was our one-night fling.

We all got our share of trouble and strife –

We just had to face it, that was the pattern of life.

Now we are old and look back through the years,

We don’t think of hard times, trouble and fears.

We remember the blessings, our hope and our love.

For we shared them all together, and we thank God above.

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