Duggie’s Ramblings – January 2022

Has food and drink been consumed to excess in gatherings at Christmas? Or, has too little been eaten and drunk – is this latter possible at Christmas? For many this midwinter (midwiner?) festival provides a welcome relief from the long nights and short days. The turning of the year and a pretext for a tsunami of food and drink.

Cheers! Happy New Year! What of January? As a boy the consumption in our family at Christmas exceeded the usual meat and two vegetables (one being potato) marginally, we had a chicken with a wishbone! We were teetotal and our father worked on Christmas Day. Yet, post Christmas, our imagination led us to adding perfunctory physical exercises!

I recently spoke to a member of our family living in Spain. The exchange of gifts takes place on the festival of The Three Kings (12 days after Christmas). Other countries have similar traditions, so not packing everything into a 24 hour day. Perhaps we have something to learn?

Now in the first month, we have dry January. A month of fasting, a kind of secular penance to oneself. Alternatively, not a familiar term – a drizzle January – what is that?


The indulgence of the festive season comes at a time when both the main television and radio stations remind the viewers and listeners that parents are foregoing meals so that their children can be fed. This is not fiction.

Invitations are open to visit the Christian charity centre in Leicester’s ‘Open Hands’ where queues of people wait for provisions donated by fellow humans. The clients all have a story to tell. They are not scroungers, a delusionary view of some people

A meeting several years ago when I was talking to a taxi driver (not while driving,) he had been a right wing extremist – flog them and starve them! Then came a change. He lived in Rugby, within a few miles of a young offender’s centre. He became a visitor. His attitude changed when he saw how inadequately equipped for life these young boys were. It was not difficult to imagine how they had come to be incarcerated. So, today life has brought these adults and families reluctantly to ‘Open Hands.’


Omicron. Why has this letter from the Greek alphabet been chosen by the World Health Organisation to name the latest Covid variant? Knowledge of the Greek alphabet helps.

The letters preceding omicron (there is another o – Omega the final letter in the Greek alphabet) are mu, nu, and xi. Nu sounded too like new and xi was a not uncommon name identified with a particular country and its leader! The next four letters are pi, rho, sigma and tau. Which will be chosen?

Cornish happenings

This is a brief description of what happened one late evening before Christmas in Truro, Cornwall, 2021. Walking home one evening after dark, passing a neighbour’s house, he stopped and counted the number of illuminated Santas (St.Nicholas of Myra) in the front garden. There was 21. Nearby in a front garden was a simple illuminated crib with Mary and Joseph.

Later, in the early hours of the morning, a commotion was heard outside. The lights illuminating the crib were still blazing as the off switch had failed to function. What was the disturbance? As the husband and wife looked from the bedroom window to their front garden, what did they see? Two brothers were kneeling in front of the crib. Why? They were worried about their mother’s addiction to drugs, so together the brothers asked for God’s help and by-passed the statuesque 21 Santas!

52 February 2022