America, the Promised Land


The Statue of Liberty

It was exactly 52 years ago on March 13, 1967 that I and my family landed from England at New York City Harbor. The trip on the luxury liner, the Queen Mary, had lasted longer than was scheduled due to stormy weather which blew the ship off course and we missed the tide causing it to dock 12 hours later than planned.

The trip had not been uneventful as the beautiful old ship was buffeted around with stormy weather and rough seas. Our family, well the female side of it, suffered from seasickness and spent quite a bit of time in the cabin and only made rare trips for food which was a pity for them as the spread put on for the diners was out of this world. My Stepson and I had no trouble and we more than made up for for ours and their share of the meals. It was interesting to be dining and the ship would lurch and we had to grab the stuff on the table to stop it from sliding off.

We had brought out little dog, a cocker spaniel named Melody along with us and she got to stay in her own little kennel on the top deck along with several other dogs all making the trip to the promised land. We would visit her several times a day just so that she wouldn’t think we had deserted her. America does not have any quarantine laws.

The first sign and the realization of what we were about to do really hit us as we pulled into New York Harbor and saw the Statue of Liberty in all of her Glory there to welcome us. Up to that point, it was just a fun trip, except for the seasickness of course, with no idea of what exactly we had committed ourselves to do.

When we finally pulled into Pier 22 in New York Harbor, and after collecting our dog, we had to wait on the Pier before we were allowed to meet up with my Mother, who we could see behind the barricade. She was with a friend from Fort Plain who she had persuaded to make the 200 mile trip from the little village in the Mohawk Valley. That and the fact the he had a station wagon which at the time, was the biggest car I had ever seen. In all of the hurly burly of landing, we knew we were in America as everyone had a strange American accent. More than anything, this really brought it home. We collected our luggage and the couple of trunks that we had brought with us, loaded everything onto the carrier on the roof of the car and proceeded to drive back to Fort Plain at night and in the snow passing and being passed by huge tractor trailers, some hauling double trailers and travelling at 70 plus mph. I had never seen anything so big on any road before in my life. As I was not driving, I didn’t have to worry about it.

That night, it snowed 13 inches of wet messy snow. I had never seen anything more than a couple of inches before and to see that amount all at one time just added to our mixed up thoughts of what we had let ourselves in for.

That was 52 years ago and a lot has happened since then. Many in my family from that time have passed on including my Mother and Stepfather, one of my Step Daughters and my Brother. My wife of that time that made the trip with me, recently passed on. Unfortunately, we were divorced 10 years after landing, another casualty of such a huge upheaval in our lives. She was so homesick for the old country and went back. The rest of the family is spread all the way from New York State to Florida and California.

Do I regret making that trip? In some ways I would have to say yes. From such a simple beginning living way out in the English countryside to the hustle and bustle of the American way of life is a huge change and hard to get used to, all of which added to the rigors of married life and keeping the family together. On the other hand, it is great to be a part of this huge technological period which we are going through and for all of its faults, America is a very forward thinking country with all manner of “stuff” available to just about anyone. I made a good living and was able to retire quite comfortably even if it is only me and 4 little dogs. Would I make the same decision if I had to do it over? I think not. I think I would have stayed and put up with the incessant rain and bloody cold weather and lived a quiet life out in the country living in the past and to hell with technology and modern living.

Oh yes, I have never been back not even for a vacation.

Written 3/8/2019

Remembering the Past.


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The Round School as it was called back in 1941.

I was thinking just the other day in one of my quieter moments, of all of the years that have passed in my life and of all of the many hundreds of people I have known and countless memories that are now just brief recollections of time gone by.

The most memories that really stand out are the ones when I was just a kid starting from when I was very young at 4-5 years old until I was getting on for 11. All were about where I lived, the kids I grew up with and the war which was going on all around me. I vividly remember the troops and the jeeps and armored vehicles and the dog fights and doodle bugs and the lights reflected in the night skies of London burning during the Blitz. I remember the soldiers of different nationalities that my family would invite to our house. One in particular, Henri, a French -Canadian cleaned and polished my shoes as we were all going out to the local pub a couple of miles down the road. I remember night times sitting in our neighbor, Mr Streatfield, shelter that my brothers and Father had helped to build, listening to the guns and planes and hearing shrapnel falling on the roof, waiting for the big explosion as a bomb might fall. As it happened, we were lucky. Later on, we had an Anderson shelter which is like a very large table made of steel, that sat in our living room. Some nights we would all sleep together under this thing, just in case. We lived just 8 miles inland from the coast in a direct line of the German bombers and fighter planes on their way to London and other targets and from our vantage point midway up the hill, could see the tracer shells at night that the Artillery guns were putting up in an attempt to shoot down the enemy planes and the Barrage Balloons during the day.

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Doodle Bug. A German rocket propelled flying bomb.

Early in the war, I often watched dog fights in the sky as the British pilots would take on the German ones. These were very brief and it was not unusual to see a plane fall out of the sky with a stream of smoke emitting from it. Luckily, none crashed anywhere close to me. Another time, I watched a British Spitfire pull alongside a doodle bug which were really Flying Bombs, get close enough for it to get its wing tip under the others wing and flip it over causing it to crash and explode harmlessly into the countryside. Such are my memories.

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Battle of Arnhem showing the Allies Paratroopers dropping down

I remember sitting by the shed in the back yard and looking up as hundreds of planes, each towing a glider, on their way to Arnhem to fight another battle. I was too young to realize that many of those brave men would never return. We had a very tall and solitary Pine Tree that stood on the back corner of our lot and I remember the German plane that flew between my house and the next no more than ten feet off the ground just missing the Pine tree as he desperately looked for a place to crash land. I can even remember the look on the pilots face as he flashed by. He crashed a couple of fields over and was killed.  I was probably the last person to have seen him alive.

Living on Huggletts Lane which was about a half mile long, there were several kids all around the same age and we would bum around together. I can remember the names of some of them. There was Ivy Upfield and her brother Radford, Tony Waite, David Farmer and John Holman who was a bit of a sickly kid as he suffered from Asthma. There were Nina and Frieda who were the first to explore the difference in the sexes and used me to help them which I willingly did without a clue as to what it was all about.  My best friend was Dennis Baker but he didn’t live on the Lane but a little further down the main road in a place called Cade Street named after Jack Cade, a notorious rebel who was killed in that area by the Sheriff of London back in the 1600’s. With being such a close knit group as we were, it was no surprise that when one got sick with the usual childhood complaints, we all took it in turns to get sick. We had a local Nurse whose mode of transport was a bicycle and she would take turns in visiting us all carrying notes from one to the other as we chose to write them. The Doctor as needed, made house calls but he did at least have a car…

I remember many of the times I spent with my boyhood friends walking the fields and woods learning about Nature although to us, it was yet another game in the ongoing saga of the great explorers. We would leave in the mornings and come home late in the afternoon generally because we were hungry. We made our own fun and were never in need of entertainment. In the evening, there was the radio which we would gather around to listen to the news of the war and the wartime programs like Music Hall performed by people whose one role in life at that time was to make people laugh to take their minds off the terrible things going on all around them. I can remember when the entire family was sitting around the fire place toasting bread. We each had a slice and mine fell off the toasting fork into the fire and I wasn’t able to rescue it. That was the last of the bread due to the rationing and I went to bed hungry that night. Food rationing was something you learned to live with.

We had other excitements besides the bombers and doodle bugs when a Flying Fortress returning from a bombing raid over Europe flew over with one wing that looked like it may come off at any time as it flopped up and down. The Captain had ordered the crew to jump and they all floated down in a leisurely drop with one of them landing at the top of the Lane only to be met by most of the people that lived there all concerned for his welfare. He was OK and it was not long before the local Squire drove up and collected him to take him back to his home until the Authorities came to pick him up. We heard later that the pilot crash landed the plane on one of the temporary runways built for such events and made it out safely.

I remember learning to ride a bike only to have it taken away for a while as punishment for riding down the hill with my arms outstretched and not holding onto the handlebars, not realizing that my sister, who was looking after me in lieu of my Mother having left for America to marry a GI that she met, was watching from the window.

I was ten years younger than the my sister who was the youngest of her and two brothers. They all went off to fight in the war even my sister who was in the ATS. My oldest brother went to Egypt and came home with an Egyptian wife. My middle brother was invalided out with rheumatic fever from which he eventually died of a heart attack at a very young age. My sister was released on a compassionate discharge to look after the family.

Because I was the baby of the family, I never got to do too much with the other three but I remember one time that the four of us went out into the woods together and I managed to fall into a stream and get totally soaked. They happened to have an old bike that did not have any tires on the wheels, just the hard metal rims and Peter loaded me on to the handlebars and biked home as fast as he could. I can even remember that bumpy ride home which was worse than the soaking. When I think about it, it must have been really hard to get that bike moving without any tires.

In 1947 when I was eleven, the South of England had one of the hardest winters in history with more than twelve inches of snow falling and remaining on the ground for several weeks. During that time, I contracted an ear infection that left me deaf in both ears. I can remember sitting on the bus on the way to the Hospital for treatment and seeing a horse standing in a field covered in snow with icicles hanging from it’s mane. It was not there when I came home and I later learned that the farmer had put it into the stable.

There was a hill close to my home and following the snowfalls, all of us kids would congregate there with anything that would slide down the hill. The more prosperous of the kids even had real toboggans much to the envy of the ones that had sheets of tin or even large pieces of cardboard to make that trip down. Regardless of our means of transport, we all had fun. Snow in the South of England was a rarity as it is known as the Sun Spot of the South and generally has the mildest temperatures of the entire country.

I attended a school named the Round School in Old Heathfield. It is now called All Saints And St Richards Church Of England Primary School. The Head Mistress was a dragon of a lady by the name of Miss Ray who was very fond of her use of the cane, usually across the hands but for what she decreed as more serious offences, to the buttocks. This was administered in front of the entire class as a supposedly lesson to them all. By the way, I am no worse off for the corporal punishment meted out by Miss Ray

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While we were in school, the older boys took it in turns to stand watch. We were supposed to ring the school hand bell which was a monster of a thing that was as much as one kid could handle IF we spotted any German planes in our vicinity. If we did ring it, the rest of the kids inside the school were all supposed to get under their desks. Sometimes, we would ring it just for the hell of it.

Besides learning the three R’s, we learned practical things like Gardening and how to use hand tools and we even put on school plays in which I got the lead role one time although, I can’t for the life of me remember what part I played or even the name of the play. I do remember learning my lines on the long walks home and practicing on my friends. I found the use of the hand tools very useful and would make models in the shed that stood in the garden. I truly believe that the basic hand tool schooling I got also served me well later in life and gave me the first ideas of what I might accomplish. My Grandfather had a cabinet shop in Heathfield where he hand made the most marvelous furniture so maybe some of his skills rubbed off on me. I like to think that is the case. I also remember standing at the bottom of Huggletts Lane as my Grandfathers Funeral procession drove by and I said goodbye to that wonderful man.

I remember walking the three miles to the school rain or shine, picking up others kids along the way until there was quite a crowd when we finally arrived. The walk home was the same except for those kids who had things to do or chose to walk with their friends. There were a few shops in Old Heathfield proper including a Post Office and a grocery shop where we could buy nibs for our pens as we used old fashioned pen and ink for our schoolwork. One of the duties of the older kids in the class was to keep the inkwells filled as the ink was apt to dry out. There was another shop that sold cigarettes and tobacco and one time, my friend Dennis and I bought a ten pack of Woodbine’s. The owner had no qualms in selling them to us as the perils of smoking had not yet been identified and everyone smoked. We found a place to smoke them each having five that we smoked one after the other. We had no idea of what we were doing and didn’t realize just how ill they were going to make us. Needless to say, that cured me of any future smoking and I have never smoked since. Sometimes, if we had any money, myself and others would stop by the local Tea Shop and sit and drink a cup of tea. All this before we were eleven years old. A cup of tea cost us two pennies each and the Woodbine’s for a pack of ten was five pence. There was an Army base on the way and we would stop in to chat to the soldiers whose main job was to maintain the heavy equipment. Our big thing was to get them to sound the very loud klaxon horns just like the horns on the modern day trucks and they would be happy to oblige at least once.

A bit later on because of the problems I was having with my ears, my doctor decided that I should have my tonsils out which meant a stay in a hospital for a whole week in a small village named Uckfield fifteen or so miles from my house. My Sister took me there on the bus which was also the way we got back home following the hospital stay. Luckily, by that time most of the air raids were over as the German Forces were on the retreat. So different than from today when a Tonsillectomy is just an overnight stay.

When I was a little older than ten, I took what was called back then, the Eleven Plus exam to see if I was smart enough to attend the local Grammar School which was located in Lewis more than sixteen miles away. I passed it with flying colors. If I had not passed that exam, I would have remained at the Round School until I was fifteen, then off to work doing goodness knows what, probably training to be a Carpenter with my Uncles Construction Company. As it was, the start of the next term saw me catching the bus at the bottom of the Lane into Heathfield and then getting on another Bus that took me into Lewis and the Grammar School along with about forty or so other kids of all ages between eleven and eighteen. The Grammar School was really directed to sending the smarter kids to college. Those that did not make College would get a very good education, much better than attending the local school even without the College. As it happened, circumstances later in my life really interfered with all of that education.

No longer would I take that 3 mile walk to the Round School which I had taken every day except weekends and holidays with the kids I had grown up with. The war had been over for almost three years. My oldest brother had returned bringing his new wife and started to produce a family of three kids which were all born by Midwife in the room upstairs. Imagine what sort of impact the screams of a woman in labor had on a ten year old boy as I listened to the wonders of childbirth going on in the room above me.

My Sister had been dating a Scotsman for some time and had then married and had moved out leaving my Brother and his growing family and my Father and myself. My Father met a woman who owned a Fish Shop in Heathfield and was dating her for a while. One evening, there was a knock on the door and a Constable was standing there to inform us that my Father, biking home in the dark from one of his interludes with his new lady friend, had been in an accident and was in the Hospital in Uckfield, the same one where I had my tonsils out. He was not seriously hurt and was back home with us a week or so later. This must have convinced them to get married which they did within six months and we moved out of the house I had been born in to the Fish and Chip shop on Hailsham Road in Heathfield. As is usual with most adult things, I was not consulted as to the future of my life and so ended my life on Huggletts Lane. With the exception of Radford who came into Hailsham one time, I never got to see any of my childhood friends ever again although I did hear that Ivy had moved to Canada. I sadly said goodbye to the first part of my life with its long supply of beautiful memories that I have no trouble in recalling and can clearly envision in my mind seventy years later. There are many stories still untold of growing up on Huggletts Lane. Would I like to be back in those times even with the war on?Apart from the obvious of being young again, I would have to say that yes, I would. Things were so much simpler then with no Internet or TV and we lived in our own comfortable little world the boundaries of which did not extend very far. Alas, there is no going back…

And so started the second phase of my young life but that is another story…

Written 10/22/2018

My Friend


I had a friend come and stay
with me just the other day
which really caught me by surprise
when the phone rang and his voice disguised
trying desperately hard to sound like a Yank
with his British accent it really stank
“George”, I said, “What are you doing here”?
as I heard his voice full of good cheer
He said, “I’m staying just up the street
maybe tomorrow we can meet
I can fill you in on the reason why
I left old England and said goodbye
for the second time in my life
leaving behind without any strife.
I stayed over there almost a year
living with friends which became very clear
was not working out the way that it should
as I could not settle or do anything good
the weather was wet with the usual rain
with little sun and no tan to gain
and I could not find a team
to coach, which really was my dream
so I hopped on a plane and made the short trip
from England to Texas the best place to hit
where I hope to pick up my former life
and maybe even find me a wife
so that I can settle down
no more to roam as I have come back home”.

I met with George the following day
and as he had no place to stay
brought him back to live with me
if only temporarily
until he can find that team to coach
he has a few leads and he has spoke
to one of his friends whom we met
at the fields, where else, who told George to “Get
his bag and to come home with me
to San Antonio and we shall see
about that team and a place to stay”
as they left to go on their way.
I hope things work out for my old friend
and that he lives his dream until the end
as growing old is both our way
always looking to see the following day
living our lives and chasing our dreams
our minds filled with improbable schemes.

Written 4/7/2018

Today’s Thoughts, June 21, 2015. Father’s Day in America.


Rainy and Foggy Day

Rainy and Foggy Day

Today is June 21st, Fathers Day in America. We are probably the only country in the world that can come up with all of these dedicated days to celebrate something or another. Most official Holidays in most countries are usually religious holidays but here, in America we celebrate anything at anytime. More often than not, it is driven by commerce as with every “special” day, there goes along with it gift giving or at the very least a celebration of some sort that involves spending money. I sound like a cynic which I probably am as for me, I was a failure at being a Father in a couple of times of trying. Maybe I am just a sourpuss because no one is making a fuss over me not that I would want them to as I feel uncomfortable when I get any special attention. Pity my dogs don’t know what day it is as I know they would make a fuss over me and give me doggie kisses. Maybe I’ll tell them. Doggie kisses? Maybe not.

Anyway, be that as it may as I’m sitting here looking out of the window and watching it rain .. again. I read in the paper that Austin, a city that normally gets about 30 inches of rain a year has already passed that mark and we are only 6 months into the year. Today, in 2012, the temperature reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit,a record for that day and today, 2015, we will be lucky if we reach 85. I’m not complaining mind you as 108 is bloody hot even by Texas standards.

We can use as much rain as Mother Nature wants to send to us. Both Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are still down from the perceived normal levels and although, the rain has helped quite considerably, we still need more.

I was able to complete my pressing outside projects. After several false starts due to the contractor going on vacation and not being able to get a pump truck because of the wet weather and Memorial Day floods, I ended up doing the entire project myself. I saved a bunch of money and lost a few pounds in the process and learned more about septic systems than I care to know. Anyone got a septic question? Bet I can answer it. Just kidding as learning is an ever ongoing process and every day brings new knowledge. Wonder what happens to those memories that I forget or have to spend considerable time in either retracing my steps or doing some serious thinking about what I was thinking about?

As I had to tear up the majority of the big deck in order to get to the septic system, I took the opportunity of replacing the wood that was showing signs of rotting out. After all, the deck has been there almost 30 years and although I replaced the original cedar with wolmanized after about 10 years of use, even that starts to deteriorate after 20 years wear and tear and weather. While I was at it and really in the swing of things, I completely tore out the lower deck and rebuilt it. So, all of my decks are in good shape and should see out my lifetime, however much longer that may be.

Power washing the deck

Power washing the deck

I wanted to power wash all of the decks and then re-finish them with some new fangled paint that is supposed to be 4x thicker than normal paint and after it is applied, one can dance barefoot on it! Yeah, right. The very thought of splinters is enough to send shivers up and down my spine. I got out my power washer from the shed and gassed it up and to my dismay, the gas poured out the other end as I poured it in my end. Damn thing had dried out again. Same thing happened last year and I took it to the shop to get it repaired. I think I used it once after I got it back and now this is “take two”. I loaded it onto my trailer and made the short trip (5 miles, short by Texas standards) to the repair shop who told me they were so busy that it would take a month to repair. I had no choice other than to leave it with them as it was no good to me like it was. Now, if I can only get into the habit of gassing up and starting up all of my gas-powered equipment throughout the year then maybe, I wouldn’t have this problem every time I want to use a piece of equipment.

My neighbor, Chris has a power washer and very willingly allowed me to borrow it. His worked just fine and I spent a busy couple of days washing everything that looked like decking. I was able to pretty much strip off all of the old red stain to bring it down to bare wood in most places. Now, all I need is to decide what color for the barefoot paint and for the sun to shine for a few days to dry out the deck. It will be interesting keeping the dogs off the wet paint!

Abigail looking for attention

Abigail looking for attention

Talking of dogs, life is continuing on without Abigail and although we are all still grieving, it gets a little better everyday. I swear that the other three dogs know she is no longer with us as they have all acted a little strange and out of character(for them) at different times.The temptation to replace her with another rescue is pretty strong but we will wait awhile before making any of those decisions. If you are wondering what happened to Abigail, she fell into the unguarded septic tank and drowned when my back was turned. By the time I got to her, it was too late. There is a poem about her at http://pondblog2011.mlblogs.com/2015/05/22/ode-to-a-dog-abigail/

My next project is to remodel the master bathroom. When I say remodel, I am only talking of the bath itself. I want to take out the bath and install a shower base with sliding doors and of course, all of the miscellaneous stuff that goes along with it. I am waiting to get a quote on it and will see what the contractor wants to charge before I make up my mind whether to contract the entire project out or save a bunch of money and do it myself.

I just took a walk around the garden in between the showers. As you can imagine, with all of the septic/deck work going on, only the bare necessities like feeding the fish and cleaning the filters has happened in the past 5 weeks or so and with all of this rain, the garden is now almost completely overgrown. I have to quite literally, push my way through the growth just to walk down the pathways. I thought maybe that I would be able to get to cutting a few of them back today, but with the rain, that idea is out of the window. Maybe tomorrow…One thing I am very grateful for is that my ponds were not on the Tour this year. With all of the septic/deck upheaval, I would have had to cancel as the yard was in no position to accept visitors.

Talking of pond tour, The Austin Pond Society has just completed theirs on the weekend of June 6,7. It was an unqualified success and although the number of visitors was down, that is mostly due to Austin being such a busy place with so much going on that it is generally recognized that nearly all events are not as well attended as in the past. Even so, I took that weekend out of my busy schedule to visit all 19 ponds and have written about them on the http://www.austinpondsociety.org website. I took over 700 pictures over the 2 days. One of the ponds was on the night tour and I took some really interesting pictures from daylight through dark as the evening transitioned. Below are a few of those pictures.

 

 

Austin Pond Society March 2015 Meeting



The Austin Pond Society held its monthly meeting this past March 15th, at Zilker Botanical Gardens Meeting Room. It was attended by about 45 members all of whom got to enjoy another tasty meal of vegetable coconut curry over jasmine rice offered by our very own chef and hospitality person, Laura Creaser. There was also a salad. It is very understandable and easy to see why she and her husband are the most popular people at every meeting and probably within the whole organization. For desert, some of the members brought in cookies. I’m waiting for that apple pie that someone brought in before, to reappear as it was delicious.

With the meal out-of-the-way, Barb Lenhardt introduced this months speaker, Jason Avent from Brite Ideas Aquaponics. His topic was on the subject of water and water treatment especially to do with our ponds. He covered a lot of different areas and answered many questions and was very knowledgeable on his subject. Below is a video of his entire presentation.

Jason Avent-Brite Ideas March 2015 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following the presentation, Jeannie Ferrier took over the mike and conducted the business side of the meeting. She had a couple of new members to introduce with her usual verve and enthusiasm making them feel right at home instead of first timers. There was no major business to discuss so the meeting moved right along. BJ Jenkins reported on the upcoming tour and received a round of applause for her efforts in building the APS entry in the Zilker Botanical Gardens Faerie display. This article was featured in an earlier blog and can be reached at this link.

The meeting ended with the usual drawing for the door prizes.

The next meeting is one of our bigger ones. This one is entitled Plant Swap and although the name is mostly true, items to swap are not limited to pond plants.  Almost anything pond and garden related can be brought in and swapped out for different items. This includes both pond and garden plants, fish, garden style ornaments, even useable pond or garden equipment. The usual method applied is that for every item you bring in, you get a ticket. One item, one ticket. When it comes time to actually pick your item, there is a special order of events with the volunteers having first choice followed by the rest in no particular order. Sort of a free for all only in a disciplined way. Most people have had time to view and have an idea of what they are after. When everyone has used up the initial allotted time, the remaining items  are up for grabs until they are all gone. There is a very strict rule in place concerning cleanup and quite simply put, if the items you brought in are not claimed, then you have to take them back home with you.  It is a lot of fun and sometimes, there are real prizes in the mix. Hope to see you there.

Below is the video of the business part of the meeting.

APS March 2015 Business from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Zilker Botanical Gardens March 2015


I was at Zilker Botanical Gardens filming the cleaning of the Willie Birge Memorial Pond along with a couple of others by volunteers from the Austin Pond Society and in between shots, wandered around a part of the grounds taking some pictures. Nature is just beginning to wake up for our enjoyment.
I have assembled them in a slide show below. Enjoy…

Zilker Gardens in March 2015 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Boxing Day


I wrote this last year and decided to re-publish it.

As an ex-pat from England, I will spend tomorrow celebrating the day after Christmas as most British people do and that is to sit back and relax and spend the entire day feasting on left overs, drinking beer and watching game after game of football (with a round ball) on the English Premier League.  I am an ardent Man U fan.

The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day in the UK to most and Saint Stephen’s Day to the religious. Most Brits think of it as another day off to recover from overeating and drinking on Christmas Day and of course, the opportunity to watch football. For those of you that want to know more about this holiday, read the article below from Wikipedia.
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Etymology
The exact etymology of the term “boxing” is unclear. There are several competing theories, none of which is definitive.[1] The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to theMiddle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen,[2] which in the Western Church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.

In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year.[3] This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys‘ diary entry for 19 December 1663.[4] This custom is linked to an older English tradition: Since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.

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