Friday, 19 December 2008


'The holly bears a berry, as red as any blood. . .'

Ilex aquifolium  'Golden van Tol'

What is this dreadful word Winterval?  I won't have a bar of it, I won't, I won't!  Who coined it? Woolworths?  The world's Bankers?  It's smarmy and horrible, a loathsome politically correct mongrel!  Almost as cringe-making as 'Crimbo' or 'Crimble.'

I wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas, but I'm told that could be offensive for some reason, so I've been torturing my brain to come up with a suitable name for midwinter merrymaking.   I gather that quite a few people did Yuletidy things – hung up holly, kissed under the mistletoe and gave gifts – long before the birth of Christ, so I presume all the feasting has something to do with celebrating the winter solstice.  

So I've come up with the perfect PC greeting.   Since 'perinatal' means 'the time immediately before and after birth,' I thought a similar word derivation might do for the period immediately before and after the winter solstice.  I admit that the result sounds a bit like intestinal movements but that, after all, is what goes on rather a lot, when one's eaten turkey, plum pudding, Christmas cake, mince pies etc. etc. etc.

So here goes:  Look below the picture for your brand new, perfectly PC, seasonal greeting –

'Lo, how a rose e'er blooming. . .'

Rosa 'Scharlachtglut' in snow.


And just to stick to the anatomical, may I also wish you, for the 1st of January, 2009, 
a joyful Circumcision.  Ouch!  But I trust you get the point!

'In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Snow had fallen, snow on snow .  . .'

Snow in the apple orchard at Careby, circa 2000

I'll be back in the blogosphere, subject to not being scragged by grandchildren, alcohol poisoning and the Credit Crunch, early in the New Year.  Until then. . .


  1. thanks for kind comment to my blog closedown Nigel - I would have liked to explain more personally as you've been such a frequent correspondent but I don't have your email. I may try to keep going as an individual pundit, but don't know whether I can come up with enough interesting material! Would love to show you around here sometime - James A-S has my email details if you'd like to get in touch - won't post them publicly to prevent spam and nutters!

  2. R Pete Free - thanks. I've just emailed Mr H.A.T. and will be in touch soonest.

  3. I can't believe you want us to use Perisolstice instead of winterval... (rolling eyeballs)

  4. Winterval should be the name for that small pause each year at the beginning of the panto when the audience realises they've heard all the Dame's jokes before... Traditionally the name for this point of the year is yule or yuletide, and was originally a 12 day (pagan) feast. Good cheer!

  5. Your WV's suggesting joyche as a alternative greeting.

    Have a lovely time, no matter what you care to call it!

  6. Happy Christmas, old bean. Perisolstice is a bit too like perineum for complete comfort. In Persian mythology, by the way, a Peri was a sort of superhero.

  7. I thought a Peri was a fairy?

  8. I thought a peri was Babycham - we have all been fooled.

  9. I've just had some junk mail calling this season between Christmas and New Year 'Twixmas'. ugh!