Today’s Pictures: 26 Dec 20, Boxing Day

This long flight of steps leads through the trees to the local school. Given that sort of route, I might’ve been keener to go to my old school!

So, what exactly is ‘Boxing Day’? In the UK, it’s the day after Xmas day, 26th December, which also happens to be a saint’s day; in this case, some bloke called Stephen.

But where does the term originate? The answer is ‘no one really knows’. There are several theories, of course. For me, as a writer, I go first to the etymology, in this case via the Oxford English Dictionary. It cites the first use in Britain as in the 1830s, referring to the then custom of giving postmen, errand boys and some other servants a ‘Christmas box’, a term dating back to the 17th century when it meant ‘a gratuity given to those supposed to have a vague claim on the giver for services rendered’. But I also like Samuel Pepys’ suggestion, from his diary entry of 19th December 1663, that describes a custom linked to an older British tradition where wealthy families allowed servants a day off after the Xmas celebrations so they could visit their own families. Many would also provide them with a ‘Christmas box’ containing gifts, perhaps a bonus, and some leftover food.

So generous of the excessively wealthy to give a servant a whole day off in the year, eh?

For those who love the sea, here’s a calm picture of the Mediterranean. Taken July 2015

The more people who share this post on social media, the more it will let those who are stuck indoors, due to Covid 19, enjoy it. And it’ll reach more people to show them our wonderful world. Maybe, between us, we’ll restore some love and respect for nature and slow down the damage to our environment. Thank you.

Almost all the greenery here in this valley is ivy using the trees as support. All the leaves have long fallen.

If you like my pictures, why not have a look at my gallery? You can find it here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

23 thoughts on “Today’s Pictures: 26 Dec 20, Boxing Day

  1. Pingback: Today’s Pictures: 26 Dec 20, Boxing Day | In the Net! – Stories of Life and Narcissistic Survival

  2. Boxing Day Test Match at MCG in Australia is one of the biggest events. Typically, the stadium has a crowd of 85,000+, but due to the pandemic, they have limited the crowd to 30,000. It too describes Boxing Day as a Victorian Era tradition of giving gifts to servants the day after Christmas.

    Nothing like watching The Ashes being played at MCG on Boxing Day. It’s one of the two stadiums on my bucket list, the other being Lords.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the comment, Aithal. But, at the risk of offending millions, I’ll leave the cricket to the fans. I suspect my lack of interest stems from a childhood incident at school. The games master, a strapping great 6-footer, selected me, at the age of 11, as his first target. A small, skinny kid, I was placed before the wicket without benefit of shin pads and holding a bat nearly as big as me, as he thundered down his run-up and hurled the ball at me as fast as he could. My first attempt at a stroke dragged the oversized bat along the ground and the ball smashed into my unguarded shin. I chucked the bat on the ground and stomped off the field, swearing never again to play the game!
      In practice, of course, I did play with the lads later, but with a soft ball and a bat I could actually lift. But the experience certainly ensured I failed to make cricket a favourite sport.
      Hope you enjoyed the Ashes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. Yes, I do enjoy The Ashes. It warms my heart to see the crowd-size in the stadium throughout all five days of riveting cricket (although, some may say that watching a cricket match is akin to watching paint dry), and that too not just one match but all of them. I wish it was true for the rest of the Test-playing nations. Unfortunately, you only see the stadium brimming to its capacity during ODIs and T20s. As you can tell, I can go on and on about cricket 🙂 After all, being an Indian, cricket is in my blood.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Of course I love the sea picture, but I would walk to school, too, if I had that path to take! Thank you for explaining boxing day! I never knew. I will post your explanation on my FB page along with the proper attribution, of course, for those of us ignorant Yanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you found the bit about Boxing Day interesting Noelle. Thanks for sharing it with your friends.
      Walk to school by the sea, eh? Don’t want to make you jealous, but as a child, from 5 to 7 years old, I walked to school along the beach, as we lived on the cliff top in a converted railway wagon (still on its wheels). For much of that period I never wore shoes, and the soles of my feet were like leather. Lovely times!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Very beautiful photographs my friend. I love the history lesson as well, and I am glad that you said it as I was thinking it,
    “So generous of the excessively wealthy to give a servant a whole day off in the year, eh?”
    It is truly hard to imagine knowing the family you work for better than the family that is yours but I guess that is what it was like. Certainly it was like that for slaves. But it breaks my heart to even go there.
    Hope you and Valerie are having a wonderful Christmas Stuart. We have enjoyed ours. I shouldn’t have baked but I did and we ate too much. Back to the salads on Monday. We only eat two meals a day, breakfast and dinner at 3:00 pm and then yogurt in the evening for a treat. Please let me know when you start hearing about your villagers getting the vaccine. I will also be in the third category here as well but it will likely be February. We are just continuing to stay safe which I know you two are doing as well. Sending love and hugs to you both. xoxoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Joni.
      Servants in Britain were pretty much the same as slaves for much of our history. They could be discharged without references or wages for the most petty reasons, and the young women were considered sex objects for the benefit of the men of the house.
      We also ate too much, but we’re having a less generous meal today.
      No news yet on our vaccines, but I guess it’ll be end of January, beginning of February.
      We took a lovely walk yesterday in bright sunshine. Today, it’s been dull all day and we took an unusual start to our walk by using the main road through the village. It’s closed to traffic as the brook has flooded part of it with such violence the road surface has been lifted and torn in places! Fortunately, none of the houses has been flooded. We’re expecting a fairly strong storm overnight, so be interesting to see what the morning brings. Extreme weather almost certainly exacerbated by climate change, of course.
      You and Scott keep safe and stay well.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We will, thank you Stuart. I hope it doesn’t flood any of the homes. So much damage can be done by water. I was in Louisiana on a mission trip
        helping to do anything I could be helpful doing after the horrible hurricane hit. I have never seen such horrific damage in my life. Boats going through the middle of homes. I was glad I wasn’t there helping when my daughter went as there were still so many floating bodies still. I would have love to have stayed there a month. You two stay safe and warm. I hope your brother’s home doesn’t get flooded at all. Be safe and I am glad you had some sunshine today.
        We have seen movies about what it was like for slaves or, the help, pretty upsetting. The south and history of slavery here breaks my heart.
        On a different subject, the Brits know how to do television. We absolutely love it when we get a chance to watch anything British. My daughter has been to London so many times on business but I have never been. I would love to go sometime.
        Sending you and Valerie hugs and love. 💕❤️🤗 Joni

        Liked by 2 people

        1. All dry again here, now, Joni, apart from a rapidly melting inch of snow. So no likelihood of the homes being flooded.
          My brother lives in the Yorkshire Dales, high above the local river, so he’ll never be flooded. But in heavy rain, the back alley behind his house does sometimes run with water as it passes by on its search for an escape from the stone wall and flagstones. It never invades the house.
          Yes, I think our TV is admired almost everywhere. The BBC, in particular, are very good with drama, comedy and documentary work. Good production values and a reasonable sense of balance combined with no need to pander to any commercial organisation (they don’t run adverts at all) mean their stuff is very good quality.
          I bet you’d love it here in Britain, for a small country, we have a great variety of scenery. London isn’t a place I enjoy – like all cities, it’s noisy, dirty, and too busy for me. But I imagine the historical content would be interesting to visitors.
          Keep safe and stay well.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh I am glad your brothers house is way above the flood zone. Glad it is dry. Have you finished your cover or heard from your publisher? I imagine you will be busy soon finishing the fine details of your work.
            You are so right about the BBC. One thing we also love about the BBC is the way the great actors look more like real people. This makes everything seem more real. No one walks around in real life completely flawless.
            Oh if we visited anywhere we would like to stay in off the beaten path places. I probably wouldn’t like London much. When we went to Spain we stayed in adorable hostels, where you had your own private bed and bathroom. We loved exploring on our own. Hope you have an amazing day my friend. Sending love and hugs to y’all. 🤗💕❤️Joni

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Nothing from the publisher yet, Joni. But it is ‘that time of the year’, so I’m not expecting anything until next month at the earliest.
              Your visit to Spain sounds great. I’ve been there only once, when Kate was 5 years old (she had her birthday there and they made a cake for her!). We’ve visited many of the Greek islands, Germany, France, and Italy on our various holidays over the years and generally explored on our own, sometimes getting lost along the way, but always enjoying our outings.
              By the way, I was wrong about this morning’s snow. Not only has it not melted, it’s snowed a little more and our 5 mile walk this morning was mostly accompanied by light snow! Due some more overnight, apparently.
              You and Scott stay safe and well.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Oh I can’t wait to see your pictures. I am so far behind in my reading and responding. You guys have a wonderful week. I bet it will be so beautiful with the old trees dusted with snow. I imagine your publisher is busy, I didn’t even think of that. Everyone is slowed down this time of year. Sending you both lots of love. I am glad your daughter got to travel, I wish I would have been able to travel like my daughter when she was young. I think it is a great thing for people to see other parts of the world. It was great of you two to take her traveling, she will always have those wonderful memories. Sending love and hugs and you two please continue being careful. Stay away from anyone who is visiting from another country. I think I read that the UK had closed their borders again. Be careful you two. Love you guys, Joni

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Oh, sorry, Joni. I’d already scheduled posts for the whole of December, as I knew I’d be busy. I’ll try to get a couple of the snowy ones up when I start on January. Can that really be only a couple of days away?
                  We’re keeping away from everyone, as much as we can. This new Covid strain is much more easily caught.
                  The snow is still just a light covering, and it’s already starting to thaw on the roads. The trees have now shaken most of it off, too, so I’m glad I managed a few shots on yesterday’s walk with my phone.
                  You and Scott keep safe and stay well.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Yes I think that is a good idea. I have been following UK in regards to the new strain and how much easier it spreads. Please be so careful. You two be safe. That is the most important thing now. Yes it is almost January and it is truly hard to believe. What a crazy year. I hope this new year will be full of light. I can’t wait to see your photos with a dusting of snow. Sending love and well wishes to you and Valerie. 🦋🤗💕❤️Joni

                    Liked by 1 person

  5. Samuel Pepys’s explanation for Boxing Day is the one with which I’m familiar. Agreed – how great that the hardworking servants were given a whole day, with leftovers, too!

    In much of Canada, it’s a stat holiday. It used to be that it was used as a extra family day, but for about 30 years now it has been a frenzied sales day, way ahead of Black Friday (that sale makes totally no sense in Canada). Some retailers even try to have “Boxing Week” sales. I dislike shopping at the best of times and would never deliberately go into a packed store to buy sales items. I have known a few people who try to do all their shopping for the following Christmas on Boxing Day. Yikes.

    Great photos.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Our Boxing Day is also traditionally a time for special sales, Lynette. This year, of course, most non-essential shops closed at midnight last night, so people will inevitably take to online shopping to get their ‘fix’ of bargains. Valerie and I are with you on the shopping – it’s something we do only from necessity. Never understood this fashion for shopping as a leisure activity. If we didn’t have to eat and cloth ourselves, we’d never go shopping!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Interesting – your shops were open on Christmas Day? Is that usually the case or was that related to a covid shutdown? In many parts of this country, stores are prohibited from opening on Christmas Day, and in other parts, the amount of overtime that stores are required to pay employees makes it undesirable to open.

        It has been interesting (and frightening, frankly) watching the various provinces grapple with whether they were going to allow stores to stay open during the Christmas shopping period in spite of the rising coronavirus cases. One far-sighted province closed down in mid-November, hoping that they could loosen up for Christmas. It worked (helps that this province is an island – Prince Edward Island) as they got their cases down to zero. The premier then allowed some loosening around shopping and gatherings. A couple of other provinces have had significant success with a similar approach. In our largest provinces, though, the premiers decided to put business ahead of people’s health and despite sky-rocketing caseloads and pleas from health professionals, only closed non-essential businesses at midnight Christmas Day. All three of these provinces are facing extremely serious consequences as a result. Just so stupid (and controlled by business interests, no doubt).

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Sorry, Lynette, my comment was probably slightly misleading. Our shops are generally closed in the main on Christmas Day. But the rules concerning Covid changed at midnight yesterday, meaning that in many areas of the country non-essential shops couldn’t re-open until further notice.
          We, too, have had ‘national’ variations in the approaches to the pandemic. Wales, Scotland, and Northern Island have all set their own rules, often quite different to those in England. Over Xmas, however, the 4 nations came together. Mind you, the rules for Xmas changed only days before the day itself.
          This pandemic has exposed a weakness in Government here: the clear underlying approach was one of attempting to create ‘herd immunity’, but because the ruling political party is divided and the PM is an idiot, their approach was half-hearted and the outcome was constant change in the rules, causing confusion. The fact that the man advising the Government on policy in this area then blatantly broke the rules he set and was not dismissed meant that many people lost respect for the decision making process and also broke the rules. The whole situation has been defined by utter incompetence. And, as in some of your provinces, our Conservative Government has constantly allowed business interests to underpin all decisions in fact, while pretending that the driving force was concern over the overwhelming problems caused to our medics in the NHS. I hope the voters recall this fiasco when we have the next election, but I fear most will forget the realities once the pandemic if under control.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Yes, I remember reading about that advisor and was shocked that he wasn’t dismissed. Unbelievable. The three provincial governments who have left coronavirus to grow exponentially in order to “preserve” businesses are all conservative. As you may have guessed, I’m not a supporter. One of these premiers has been referred to as “Trump Light,” and it’s not far from the truth.
            But on a semi-related note, what is it with these wannabe despots and their creepy hair?? 😉

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Creepy hair, Lynette? You’re surely not suggesting there’s anything odd, unusual or even comical about the hairstyles of Trump, Johnson, or even, if I may include him in that company, Hitler?
              Yep, Conservatives worldwide seem to be a very odd bunch indeed!

              Liked by 1 person

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