Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Belshaw's World - Christmas Musings

Note to readers: This post appeared as a column in the Armidale Express on Wednesday  30 December 2009. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because the Express columns are not on line. You can see all the columns by clicking here

A newspaper column is meant to be a static thing. In fact, the combination with my blogs makes it all wonderfully interactive.

As I write I have just received an email from John Caling. One of John’s friends in Armidale kindly sent him a copy of my column on Armidale’s Greek cafes.

John, a member of the Sourry family, sent me material on the family with a small correction to the information from John Hamel that formed the core of my post.

I am going to add John C’s information and then recirculate. If I do this and then lodge a copy with the Heritage Centre, we have a record that people can turn to.

If you are from one of Armidale’s Greek families and would like your story included, please contact me.

On a related matter, John C and I were in the same class at Armidale Dem. You can always tell an older Armidale person – they always talk about Dem!

A while back, Bruce Hoy sent me a photo of our fifth year class and I wrote a bit of a story about the year on one of my blogs.

Bruce’s dad was the mechanic at New State Motors, the Holden dealers. His older brother, along with others including John Hamel, was in the Armidale High Leaving Certificate of 1953 that featured in Don Aitkin’s What was it all for?, a book that I have referred to before.

Quite often, I would go up to Bruce’s place in the morning. Spade in hand, we would go down to Dumaresq Creek just below his house and build dams and other civil engineering works!

Not allowed today, of course. Probably not then. However, I still remember the thrill as we broke the dam and the water rushed down the creek!

Returning to the photo, memory is an imperfect beast. I simply cannot remember all the people in the photo Bruce sent me.

If you were at Dem in our year and can help with names and stories, please email me and I will send you the photo. I thought that I might do a story on our class.

Turning to other matters, this time last year I spoke of Christmas in New England, of the return of those away from home who came back to be with family.

As a child, Boxing Day was the most boring day of the year.

The lead up to Christmas was always exciting, as was Christmas Day itself. Then came this day when nothing seemed to happen. We might go for a picnic, but it was all very anti-climatic.

As I grew older, and especially after I left home, my views changed. Boxing Day was still quiet, but it was also the start of a very pleasant period.

Each place has its own rhythms. Armidale is no different. Once the University and school break begins, the city goes quiet. But that is only on the surface.

Some of those returning to Armidale for Christmas leave immediately, more stay until New Year.

This is the time for visiting, for playing golf or tennis, for catching up with those that you have not seen for twelve months.

Now that this after Christmas period is no more for me, I look back with a degree of nostalgia.

None of us can go back. But at least the contacts keep the memory alive.

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