Posts Tagged ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’

I can’t recall coming across many sarcastic songs. But I think I’ve just realised, at the age of 36, that “The Twelve Days of Christmas” which I had always thought of as a beautiful love song, is one such song. Over the past twelve days, I’ve looked at each and every gift, making comment on the meaning behind the gift, and the possible intention of the giver – the so-called ‘True Love’.

Initially, I was impressed at his pragmatism. He gave gifts that showed his understanding of the real world. That relationships need practicality too. The partridge and pear tree, both edible, came before the two turtle doves – symbols of devoted love. Hens and more edible birds followed.

As the days went past, the ‘True Love’s organisational skills impressed me. Not only was he able to source some pretty interesting gifts (geese that always laid, swans known for their singing ability) but he also managed to get a LOT of them. Six geese per day, since Day 6, means (let’s see my maths skills in action again, shall we…) that today we now stand at 42 geese. Seven swans per day since day 7 means 42 of them too. That’s a lot, in my opinion. Finding them, purchasing them and organising them all to arrive on the exact day that they were needed, would have been a task-and-a-half as well, I’d say.

But then the sheer enormity of her household started making more and more of an impression. By Day 8 we were adding people. Milkmaids (with cows, I’m assuming), then ladies dancing, then leaping lords (which again would have been a difficult find!). And finally yesterday, we added musicians. Eleven bagpipers would certainly add to the cacophony.

All of which led to my change in opinion. From incredulity, to suspicion. (Okay, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, I’ll admit it. Took me til Day 11.) With that much noise, I’m now of the opinion that his intentions may actually have been the opposite of what I had originally thought. I’m starting to think that he may not have been particularly fond of the singer – rather, he wanted to give her a mental breakdown. My proof? Circumstantial, I admit it, but still. Today’s gift is drummers. Twelve of them. All drumming. What’s the bet that they don’t just perform one song?! So by now, we have… 12 drummers, 22 bagpipers, 30 lords flirting with 27 dancing ladies and 40 milkmaids (and I’m guessing, at LEAST 40 cows), 42 swans, 42 geese, 40 pheasants, 36 blackbirds, 30 hens, 22 turtle doves, 12 partridges and 12 pear trees (well… at least they’re quiet!)

Now I don’t know about you, but that to me sounds as though he has had a bit of an agenda, and disguised it with supposed kindness. Sneaky. Underhanded. Not the nicest person you’d want to be your ‘True Love’. So all in all, I’m left feeling rather disappointed. I hadn’t expected that this process would end up as a bit of a downer. Sorry, folks.

On a happier note though, I must admit that I’m very glad I joined in this #blog12daysxmas challenge. I had expected it to be a more difficult task, blogging each day, than it was. Maybe it was easier due to holidays, or something, but now that I’ve started, I’ve decided to continue blogging. And I like the idea of using a ‘list’ on which to structure my writing. @haikugirlOz gave me the idea, actually, tweeting about Wilsons Promenade – a place I’d love to go to, but haven’t. (Yet!) So that’s my plan. Starting tomorrow, I’ll work through the Top 4 places I’d like to visit one day, and why. Stand tuned for Ancient Rome, this time tomorrow! Have a lovely rest-of-the-day, dear readers!!!

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A bit of a disclaimer for starters: I am NOT a Maths teacher. In fact, I’m pretty hopeless at Maths, failing it as a subject from Semester Two of Year Ten, onwards. So, although it is rather embarrassing to admit the error in my tally yesterday (there should have been 16 milkmaids by Day Nine, not 8!) it’s no surprise. Expect more of the same, when it comes to anything numerical. And sorry about that, folks!

Still an’ all – the idea I was trying to get across was just how insanely full the singers house was getting. I postulated that the sheer number of birdlife, plus the milkmaids and their accompanying cows, was the reason behind not only the ladies needing to dance (quickstep around the others!) but also why the ten Lords today (and the ten tomorrow, and then the ten of the final day’s worth of gift) all need to be gifted in leaping. Let’s face it – there’s probably very little floor space left!

But back to today’s gift; ten Lords a-leaping. I’m not sure what the word ‘Lord‘ conjures up in your mind. In mine, (besides the ‘LORD’, as in, the one whose birthday season we’re blogging about!) I think of a Lord from dear Old England. One of those sedate, stately figures who are seen to always be ‘in control’ of their expression, their behaviour, even their thoughts. Austen’s ‘Mr Darcy‘ springs to mind, and others of his ilk. So when I try to picture even just ONE of these Lordly figures leaping, the incongruity jumps up and slaps me in the face. I mean – seriously – when EVER would you catch sight of a Lord ‘leaping’? Hmmm…???! (Let alone TEN of them! And don’t forget there’s going to be 30 by the end of the gift!)

So now I’m thinking that today’s gift is a truly remarkable one in its rarity. I’m thinking that it must have been incredibly difficult for the True Love to find. A very difficult challenge he set himself, to prove his love. Wow. I’m a little taken aback, aren’t you? Surprised by the depth of his commitment. Heck – I’m brand new to this ‘blogging’ bit, using #blog12daysxmas as my incentive, and I can’t even blog for ten days straight without submitting yesterday’s just before bed. And here he is sourcing all these birds, cows, people (and rare ones, too!) every single day?!! (And I thought I was organised. He must have been planning this for about a year! He had probably bought out all the swans in Europe by now!)

Anyway, just thought I’d share with you my incredulity today. Have a lovely one, and I’ll meet you back here tomorrow, same time, same place, ready for Day 11’s gift…

Well, today spells the last of the bird gifts. Some interpretations of the meaning behind the song state that each gift represented something special for each month. Meaning that the swans would have been a gift for the seventh month. July. (Although I’ve also heard that October used to be year’s end, just a few hundred years ago, so maybe the seventh month for the ‘true love’ and his ‘singer’ wasn’t the same as the seventh month for us? I wonder…)

Anyway, why swans? Unlike the partridge, the hens, the ‘rings’ (pheasants) and the geese, they’re probably not edible – well, they’re not known for it, are they?! So maybe, like the turtle doves, they were included for aesthetic reasons, instead. (Their swimming abilities, methinks?! Hehe!) And I never quite decided why those Colly birds were included on Day 4, did I? Oh well… Swans, for me, remind me of that Fairy Tale “The Ugly Duckling”. I loved that story. The duckling had so much to be bitter about, but wasn’t. Something to aspire to!

Interestingly enough, that was one of the DVD’s I played for my kids in our long drive home, late last night. (Yes, we’re no longer flooded in – yay! As of yesterday, 4am, we were still on the “island” of 1770 / Agnes Waters, but by 6 had sneakily crossed over to Miriam Vale, by midday were doing a reccy of Gin Gin, and by 4pm had made it through Gin Gin and headed home. Twas a very late night, but SO worth the huge drive just to get to dry clothes and mud-free sheets!)

But back to the song. It looks like tomorrow’s on to the people. Maybe the ‘singer’ told the ‘true love’ that she’d had enough of birds?! But that, I guess, is a ponder for another time.

See you tomorrow, folks!

So now it’s geese. Bigger birds, this time. And laying ones. (Hmmm… was that ‘Goose that laid the golden egg’ fable was around when this song was first created, by any chance?) But that brings us to six days of birds, with one more to go. Interesting, really. And I wonder if this song is the first example of when birds were associated with Christmas?

Never had geese. My only experience with them was a couple of years back, when my next-door neighbour had a small flock of them, half a dozen or so, visit her back verandah and swimming pool area. Being in her mid-60’s, she was powerless to drive them away. So there they stayed, all afternoon, apparently making the most horrendous noises, until their owner came home from work that evening, realised they were missing, and collected them. She didn’t mind too much – but wasn’t particularly impressed when she realised their deposits had stained her concrete. “They must do acid poos!” she kept on saying. We both just laughed.

No – my experiences are with ducks. As a kids, Dad brought home two of the cutest little ducklings for us one day. These two soft and fluffy creatures were quickly joined by another two (seriously – who could resist that softness?!) and we kids had fun making dams for our ducklings in the backyard. Another one joined them, and then two drakes, so we ended up with seven large white ducks within just a few months. Which was wonderful fun. Well, up until the drakes (Donald and Bilbo, from our interests at the time: Disney and Tolkien) learned how to nip at our ankles – and then, nip at any other part of our bodies they could reach. Hoo boy – then we were in for it! We quickly built a pen for them. And when they got out, there was a lot of squawking trying to get them back in! (From both two-legged species, let me tell you!) Still… they are some good memories. (Glad I’ve decided to bring my kids up with hens, though. Much safer than ducks!)

Well, I guess geese provide good meals. Both in eggs and in meat. And seven of them! For the next five days?!! That’s a lot of geese. A lot of noise. And a lot of acid poo!

Til tomorrow, folks!

(Oh, and if you’re interested, we’ve been able to re-supply with more fuel this morning, and milk too. Yay! Hopefully enough for another few days, at least…)

I guess blackbirds must be good for something. I wonder why the ‘true love’ wanted to give the singer four of them though?

(I should probably state upfront that whenever I think of blackbirds, I think of crows. And I don’t like crows. I mean – who does? When I lived in Brisbane and studied for my B.Ed. at Griffith, there were simply hundreds of the creatures at the MtGravatt campus. They were more obvious in the late afternoons, when the student population had decreased for the day, picking scraps out of the rubbish bins and making a horrible mess. Large creatures they were, too. But apparently I’m wrong. Crows aren’t blackbirds.)

Instead, blackbirds are, again, birds used for food – just as the partridges and hens were. The ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’ nursery rhyme confirmed this. They’re quite a bit smaller than the crows I mistook them for though – which I guess is why you’d need 24 of them in a pie! They also form strong pairing relationships, so they fit in with the ‘devoted love’ theme of the song. Aww.

So back to my original question. Why four? Because you’d need that many for a reliable meal? Maybe so. Food is something at the forefront of my mind at the moment. Not just because it’s Christmas, but because I find myself for the first time, flooded in, and in a situation where we have a limited food supply for the foreseeable future. So for those of you believe in it, I’d love a few prayers sent heavenwards, to stop this rain so we can get some more food!!!

Anyway, best go. Nappies need changing and breakfast needs giving. Have a lovely day, everyone! Til tomorrow and its five gold “rings”!

Okay, I’ll come right out and admit it. This one had me stumped. “Three French hens.” Seriously? Three hens? Why French ones? (Apparently the song itself is probably French in origin, so why specify the country when you’re living IN the country?)

And why something so bland and mundane after the rapturous “Two turtle doves”? We already had partridges and pear trees in the first verse, so I would have thought that the ‘food’ part of the gift was covered. (The silly section of my brain is saying “Would you like eggs with that?” right now…) Maybe the ‘true love’ was imparting the thought that the raptures of devoted love aren’t enough to meet the practicalities of daily living. Let’s face it. Three hens generally means three eggs a day – one for each meal. (Maybe not enough for two people to live off, but when you combine it with a pear or two, you might survive…)

Being practical makes sense to me, actually. Give me pragmatism any time, I think. People often tell me I’m pragmatic. (Hopefully they see it as a good trait! I certainly choose to take it as a compliment…) Super-organised is another word I get a lot. (Again, I’d prefer to see the positive side of that than the all-too-obvious negative I know that it generally manifests as! But back to my topic…)

When reading up on the song, I discovered that tomorrow’s was actually changed. It’s now ‘four calling birds’ but it used to be ‘four colly birds’ – otherwise known as blackbirds. And I’m mentioning it now because it’s going to take me at LEAST a day to think up what to write about them!!! So if I don’t post ‘til late tomorrow, you’ll know the reason why. Wish me luck in my ponders! And til then, Merry Christmas Day 3 style, all!

 

Okay, so I feel less guilty today. At least I checked Wikipedia for this one! (And yes, I was right in my assumptions yesterday about those partridges.) So, for those of you who didn’t know, turtle doves are the symbol for devoted love. (Aww.)

Pretty apt, when you think about the fact that we’re in the Christmas season. God sending His son to the world as a tiny baby, completely helpless in a soiled and sordid world. Now if that’s not love, I’m not sure what is. Becoming a mum recently enough to remember that feeling of utter incredulity at how helpless my own newborns were, I continually find it amazing that any parent could send their child into such a situation. Especially when already aware of the ending! But He did – and I for one am glad. But back to the song…

Today marks the second day of Christmas. The day the ‘true love’ gives ‘two turtle doves’ – birds known for their love and devotion. By the end of the song, the singer gets 22 of these doves. Eleven pairs. I guess the ‘true love’ really wanted to make sure his message was clear!

It makes me wonder though. What, in my life, am I that devoted to? Hmmm…

Thought to ponder for the day. So. ‘Til tomorrow, Merry Christmas, dear readers!

 

There’s a line in one of my daughter’s Winnie the Pooh DVD’s where Eeyore says to Tigger, “I didn’t know what to get you, so I got you me.” (He had wrapped himself up as a birthday present for Tigger’s first ever birthday.)

That’s kinda the way I’m feeling at the moment. This is my first ‘real’ post on my first ever personal blog, and I’m not really sure of ‘what to give’. In the words of the brief I’m currently writing (I’m studying a Masters in IT at QUT and am taking a Minor Project over the summer semester under the brilliant @katiedatwork) my ‘aims and objectives’ aren’t clear in my own head yet. Not too sure if I’m ‘meeting the needs of my audience’. Heck – who IS my audience even??!! (Do I have one? Probably not. Will I ever??! Hehe! Who knows?!!)

So anyway, here I am. Christmas Day 2010 and my head’s singing “On the first day of Christmas” because of this #blog12daysxmas challenge I’m attempting. (Thanks, @fionawb, by the way, for this fantastic idea! I doubt I would have had the guts to just ‘start blogging’ without your help!) Which brings me back to my initial thought of gifts, and of partridges and pear trees.

I don’t know much about partridges, except that they’re birds. Some people eat them, don’t they? A part two: find out more about topic of blog BEFORE commencing writing of same. Whoops!) Anyway, I’m pretty sure that they belong in the ‘poultry’ category – which makes sense when you pair them with the pears of the same line in the Christmas song. Both edible. (BTW, I liked that ‘paired with pears’, didn’t you? Hehe!)

So maybe that’s something to aim for with this little blog of mine. Something edible. Something to sink your teeth into, dear readers. To provoke thought, even. Something worthwhile. (I hope that I would NEVER waste your time! That my posts will always be worthy of that most precious of your commodities…)

I’m also thinking that I’d love it if I could use this blog to get feedback from you, my audience. (That’s assuming that someone out there actually does read this ramble! LOL) So please, if you’ve the inclination, I’d love to read your comments! I’ll even try to reply when I can!

So anyway, that’s about it for this first ever ‘real’ post. I hope you enjoyed it – and have a very

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

(PS Just got sent this one. Loved it so wanted to share it with you…)
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