Monday, 24 December 2007
I wasn't there, of course, but I can imagine the scene. It was 1957, probably a bleak, cold winter, probably still in black and white. But people didn't let the fact that the country was still recovering economically from the last war, and perhaps facing annihilation in the next one, spoil their festive fun. There would still be turkey on the table, Christmas crackers, and of course the Christmas Tree.
But this was an age of advancing technology, and this year would be special. The Queen's Christmas Day Message, by then a 25-year old tradition (all right, it was the King's before 1952), was going to be televised!
Lots of people had bought the new-fangled TV thingies in 1953 for the Queen's Coronation. In fact by 1957 there was probably at least one household in each street with one, so, after their roast lunch they woke up grandad and all huddled round the TV, whose valves had probably taken as long as the turkey to warm up.
Little did they know as they watched entrhalled as a blurry image of Her Majesty appeared on the tiny screen that 50 years later their descendents would be looking at an equally blurry picture of her on You Tube. That's progress for you.
Personally, I don't think I've heard one of the Queen's messages since I was a child and we heard it on the World Service. But it's a real tradition for many, and the Queen as always is moving with the times, so will be broadcasting it on You Tube for the first time.
This year is my second year online. Last year I remember, either on Christmas Eve, or Christmas day, listening to "o agripnos" (the "awake [man]"), on Greek radio - people phoning in from all over the world to send their best wishes to friends and relatives.
I still expect to be doing that - in fact I'm listening to the Christmas broadcasts as I type this (and might even be able to understand them this year!). However this year is my first (and last, maybe?) as a blogger, so thankyou for your comments and company over the last few months.
All my best wishes to you and your families (drunken uncles and FILs included), and have a safe and happy time.