Bob’s Blog part 10 – Appears first in the Congleton Chronicle.

Bob's Blog Senior Forum

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” as the song goes.  I’ve had some nice comments about my Christmas pullover – hope you are getting into the spirit of things and wearing yours!    D’you know I love Congleton – Christmas Lights Switch On could have been a real washout (literally) but in spite of the torrential rain loads of folk turned out and it was business as usual!  Christmas- time.

Last week’s Blog got me thinking and reminiscing about my childhood days  – Winter days; thick snow;  frozen pipes; coal fires; smoking chimneys.   Best of all, my sledge, lovingly made from old planking and bits of roofing felt for the runners !  Quick as lightning down festival Hill!   And what about liberty bodices?  My sisters wore them as soon as it turned cold – sort of thick fluffy stuff with seams – probably something Madonna would be happy to wear now – but my sisters were always rebellious when Mother got them out for Winter!  Goose fat – not for cooking with but for rubbing on your chest!   Or olive oil warmed on a spoon over the fire and rubbed in your chest and back after you’d had your weekly bath.  None of your Vicks vapour rub in those days!   And we never wasted water –on bath night the littlest had the bath water first, it progressing chronologically up the family – Dad got in last but the benefit was there was nobody in a queue telling him to get a move on!  We were always told how lucky we were to have real presents at Christmas – Dad kept up the tradition from his childhood – in our stockings we each had an apple and an orange, and a sugar mouse –and a shiny new penny !”    Christmas puddings were on the hob for hours and hours – the house windows dripping with condensation.   Mum used pieces of old sheets to cover the puddings- I used to have to put my finger on the knot as Mum tied the covers on with string.

I like family tradition, and Congleton is a great place for Christmas traditions.   There always the carol singing opposite Argos, Santa and his sleigh doing the rounds, and as usual  lots going on in town.   Pop into the Tourist Information Centre and pick up a free copy of ‘Christmas in Congleton 2015’ – everything ‘s in there.   Well not quite everything – Lyndon Murgatroyd from St James Church said that somehow their church events had been missed out, and  could I let you know that on Saturday 12th December  they are holding a coffee morning at Congleton Library.  On Christmas Eve their carol service is aimed at families and children, and you can help to build the crib, Midnight Mass is 11.30 and their Christmas Day  service at 10.00am.   Details of all the other church events are in the booklet.

I’ve made a note on my calendar of some not-to-be-missed  events … tonight 17th December Carols with Rode hall Silver Band  at St Peter’s Church 7.30pm.

Saturday 19th December Congleton Choral Society at Congleton Town Hall – tickets from Tourist Information Centre

Sunday 20th December Foden’s Band in the Town Centre round the Christmas tree 11.30am-1.30pm

Christmas  all sounds so jolly!  But I know I’ve had some tough ones!!  Sometimes  Christmas can all seems a bit too much – too many sad memories- makes you feel alone and isolated.    I keep some numbers in my phone book  so I’ll pass them on in case a listening ear….

Silverline is  a confidential helpline – information, friendship and advice for older people- open 24/7 every day of the year including Christmas Day  – 0800 4708090

Samaritans are there 24/7 as well 08457 909090

The Royal Voluntary Service Cheshire has a Good Neighbours Scheme, they provide company if you’re on your own, and also help with small practical things like shopping or picking up your pension.  Ring them on 0845 600 5885

And don’t forget Royal British Legion– they particularly want to help isolated, older  people in Congleton who have connection with the armed forces – ring Gillian McKinnon on 0808 802 8080. Or email her at

That’s it from me – Bob Bear signing out till next week….