Powerful Plum Pudding (Christmas History 18)

Windows into History

Mrs Beeton Plum Pudding A near-contemporary illustration to this extract, from a Mrs Beeton book.

In Journals 5 we looked at one of the travel journals of Max O’Rell, one of my favourite 19th Century travel writers, who infused his work with a great sense of humour.  For this Christmas History snippet, I have found a quote from his first book, John Bull and his Island, published in 1883.  It is an exploration of England from the perspective of a Frenchman, and includes some explanation about how Christmas was celebrated in England in the Victorian era.  The plum pudding he describes sounds somewhat powerful!

Christmas is the great family fete day in England. Rich or poor, every one dines at Christmas. Even the poorest carry, the day before, a miserable little bundle of rags to the pawnbroker, in order to obtain the wherewith to buy a dinner of meat and pudding. Familiar faces…

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So Where Is The SNOW? Is A White Christmas on the Way ?

Pictured above is the snow plow (in French:  Chasse-Neige) that belongs to the Chemin de Fer de Provence railroad that runs between Nice, France and Digne. It is parked quietly on the turntable in Annot (midway between the two cities) just waiting for the dispatcher to call a crew.


Isola 12-17-15 at 02.16 PMAbove is the reason: this in noted ski resort ISOLA 2000. The trails and slopes have man-made snow, BUT look at the top of the mountains.

Same conditions in North America. Lots of railroad snow equipment just sitting and waiting on a quiet track waiting for a dispatcher to call a crew.

Cities and railroads are ready. But AccuWeather thinks no White Christmas.

the weather pattern is dashing the hopes of many for a white Christmas this year.

Due to the strong El Niño unfolding, many places that typically have a good chance of seeing snow on Christmas Day will miss out this holiday.

This includes the East Coast I-95 cities, where meteorologists say chances are slim.

“There’s just not going to be enough cold air to support accumulating snow,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

In the meantime, we have a good WebSite or two where you can see a lot about railroads with snow!!!

Comets 5 vs. Americans 2

The Utica Comets got off to a good start Wednesday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium and didn’t look back, as they defeated the Rochester Americans by the score of 5-2, giving them their second straight win and third straight win against the Amerks.

Alexandre Grenier (1-0-1), Mike Zalewski (1-1-2), Linden Vey (1-0-1), Jordan Subban (1-1-2), and Brendan Gaunce (1-1-2) each scored for the Comets, while Richard Bachman took home another victory with a 28-save performance.

The Comets took a quick 1-0 lead just 1:44 into the first period on Grenier’s fifth goal of the season. Grenier streaked down the middle of the ice and ripped a slapshot from the slot past Makarov. Subban and Ashton Sautner recorded assists on the goal. The goal, his 39th as a Comet, catapulted Grenier into sole possession of first place on the Comets all-time goals list.

Mike Zalewski stretched the Comets lead to 2-0 when he was on the receiving end of an incredible between-the-legs pass from Blair Jones that sprung the New Hartford, N.Y. native on a breakaway. Zalewski’s seventh goal of the season came as a result of a wrist shot from just above the face-off dot that screamed past Makarov’s blocker. David Shields picked up the secondary assist, his first point as a Comet.

Utica then went ahead 3-0, 8:49 into the second period when Vey collected a loose puck on the far side of the net, and quickly wristed a shot past Markarov before the Rochester goaltender could dive back into position.

The Amerks put their first dent into the Comets lead 10:14 into the second on a Tim Schaller breakaway goal.

Rochester cut the Comets lead to 3-2, 16:04 into the second on Schaller’s second goal of the night. The Amerk slipped a shot past Bachman’s left side after he received a pass from D’Amigo.

The Comets stormed right back and took a 4-2 lead with 41 seconds left in the second. From the corner, Gaunce connected with a pinching Subban at the top of the circle to Makarov’s left. Subban unleashed a wrist shot that found its way through heavy traffic in front, and into the back of the net.

The Amerks pulled their goalie with just over a minute to go, and Brendan Gaunce took advantage, sending the puck down the entire length of the ice and into the gaping goal frame to give the Comets a 5-2 win.

Utica outshot Rochester 33-30 while improving their record to 13-10-2-1. The Comets power play went 0-for-3, while the penalty kill went a perfect 4-for-4.

The Comets will be on the road Friday, traveling to Springfield, MA to take on the Arizona Coyotes AHL affiliate, Springfield Falcons. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

September 1942 (1)

Pacific Paratrooper

SeaBees wade through a flood on Guadalcanal SeaBees wade through a flood on Guadalcanal

1 September – the Naval Construction Battalion (CBs), better known as the “SeaBees” and famous for their swift and ingenious engineering work while under combat conditions, landed on Guadalcanal. [A coverage of the SeaBees will appear in the Intermission Stories between 1942 and 1943].

SeaBees building the airfield, Guadalcanal SeaBees building the airfield, Guadalcanal

3 September – Gen. Roy Geiger arrived on the island to command the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing – nicknamed the Cactus Air Force, after the codename for the Guadalcanal operation.  When Hideki Tojo replaced Togo as Japan’s Foreign Minister, there was no longer any civilian personnel in the Japanese government – the military was in complete control of the country.

3-11 September – Japanese reinforcements landed at Bana, New Guinea.  But, the Special Navy Landing Force were compelled to withdraw from Milne Bay due to the heavy defense of the Australian 7th Brigade and…

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JOHN ESCREET TRIO + EVAN PARKER || Live at North Sea Jazz Festival

Jazz You Too

Evan Parker was also present at the Festival Jazz Contemporâneo Setúbal 79, he played solo, the best way to display his creative and innovative music. Some years later, here he is at the North Sea Jazz Festival playing along with the John Escreet Trio.

John Escreet (Piano) — John Hébert (Bass) — Tyshawn Sorey (Drums, Percussion) — Evan Parker (Saxophone)

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By the Mighty Mumford


Time to cut down the collection

And take up less room on inspection…

Eight containers

Of rolling stock remainders,

With more needing commercial connections!

I have a “knuckle coupler set”

Which I’ll keep with no regret…

The “Rapido” couplers

Get suitably shuttled,

Along to another ones net!

–Jonathan Caswell


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