Tipperary House in Grantham 1894


a story from the heart and beyond

Christmas in Grantham


This is a private creative project from Dr. Michael G Millett outside of his main work as a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, meta physicist and counsellor now based in Grantham in Lincolnshire.
Everything here carries full copyright © by Dr. Michael G Millett, Elevated Therapy
®. All rights reserved. 
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The Diaries of Mary Ann Wennell

Monday December 24th, 1894
Back to Tipperary House
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Christmas Eve

Lincolnshire Christmas

The goose were delivered in the morning. What a whoppa !

Victor arrived this morning as usual with the milk on his cart and Edmund came by with the bread a little later. Victor is off to spend Christmas with his sister over in Finkin Street after he`s done his rounds.
He is doing well is Victor now with getting over the death of his wife and stopping the drink. Poor Man !

Moving on, can be simple, but what you leave behind can be hard, I told him. He said he now feels he has gathered strength from life’s storm. Yes, there is a limit to the grieving that the human heart can do, I said.
I gave him a big kiss then and wished him `Merry Christmas`. He quite blushed up, he did. 

The Christmas Tree came early too, and Master James were up to help them bring it into the Front Parlour to stand in front of the bay window where it always goes.

I had all the decorations for it ready. The candles and candle-holders, gingerbread men, marzipan and hard sweets, some fruit, paper fans, tin soldiers, whistles, ribbons, glass baubles, wind-up toys, pine cones, dried fruits, nuts, berries, and trinkets of all kinds.
Been collecting them for years I have. Master James and the boys will decorate it this morning when the boys are up.

I left the Christmas Angel to adorn the top of the tree to one side for last. It has wings of spun glass and a crinkled gold skirt, it`s right lovely it is.

The family will place their presents for each other underneath the tree later.

Our "daily girl", Molly from College Street arrived soon after for the day.

She`s a good girl is Molly.

Alf, our gardener and handyman dropped by with his wife and baby in the perambulator. It were a bonny little thing ! They stopped by at the back door to wish us all a Merry Christmas.

John from over Watergate called too. I asked him was he over his nervous headaches and rheumatism ! He wasn`t quite sure, he said.

We did have a laugh ! Love his Gigglemug. He could make a stuffed bird laugh ! Wit is the Lightening of the mind, I always say.

Magnolia from over Vine Street shouted over to me from the other side of Dudley Road when she were passing and I was outside sweeping in front of the front door.
She were in a rush to get down to St. Catherine`s Road. I shouted “Merry Christmas” back at her.

Was glad to see the goose were plucked, so I didn`t have to do it this year, thank the Goddess ! Mrs. Chapman paid a plucker to do it, after I had a word with her last year about it !
Too much work and too much energy can kill a person just as effectively as too much assorted vice or too much drink, I always say.

We always get the goose from Walter since we came to Grantham. Fine geese they are too. Have to say. No-one can cook a goose as good as I can - not even the royal cooks of Queen Victoria, I`m betting !
Not that I`m a betting lass, mind ! They can keep their Baron of Beef, Woodcock Pie and Boar’s Head. It`s goose for me every time. I pride meself on my me goose cooking, I do.

Served breakfast to the family who sat around the table together. Master James were talking about the Chelford rail accident over in Cheshire which just happened 2 days gone. 
On the same day, the Dutch coast were hit by a hurricane. Oh My, we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read now.

Over in Cheshire, this high-sided wagon was blown out of its siding by the wind  just as the Manchester to Crewe express approached, Master James were reading aloud. I nearly dropped to the floor. Good Lord I thought !
The poor stationmaster then ran waving a red lamp but it ended up with 14 passengers being killed and nearly 50 injured. Oh, love them ! What kind of Christmas will that stationmaster and his family have and the families of all those folk?  Don`t bear thinking about.

I say we should all be grateful for so many things in our lives, and feel extra grateful when something good happens, although it is not everything that we might have wanted.

Master James was also taking about Robert Louis Stevenson dying over there in Samoa while opening a bottle of wine, and the Samoans burying him on a spot overlooking the sea. I loved "Treasure Island", I did. I wonder how Samoans celebrate Christmas, or if they even do ?
Then Master James went on to talk excitedly about Mackenzie Bowell just becoming Canada's fifth prime minister. I never heard of him ! Strange name though. 
Master James said him and his family came from Suffolk. They must have right strange names then down Suffolk way, I was thinking.
Probably a good name for a politician mind - chronic constipation, or just keep moving forward and do what you have to do, for you of course ! Bugger the rest of us ! Enough said !

Master James spoke of our prime minister too, Lord Rosebery who having accepted earlier the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the amalgamation, and of the City and County of London to reform London government for the unification of London now asked by the Home Secretary, Mr Asquith, to actually give effect during the next session to the recommendations of these same commissioners.
Well, I never knew London were split and needed unifying was my first thought ! Politicians make you think that they believe they understand you, but the truth is we don`t realise that what we heard is not what they meant. Oh, I am confused ! Master James couldn`t even work it out !
Then they say they will explain even though it`s complicated which doesn`t altogether upset me – them saying it like that, but I do get offended they think so much of themselves, they do ! Podsnappery with their blinkered self-satisfaction !

Even, the Whigs haven`t the stomach now to renew the fight in Ireland either, and the nationalists aren`t able to conduct effective action outside Westminster. Lord Rosebery has made it clear that he will not bring forward a new Irish Home Rule Bill. It would seem that the hope of attaining a legislature for Ireland within a certain time is no longer entertained by reasoning men. Unreasonable folk and particularly politicians abide in trying to adapt the world to themselves and not the ordinary folk they represent. Therefore, you can`t help sometimes thinking all progress depends on idiotic folk.
The cowl does not make the monk and certainly a thing may be lawful, and yet not honourable, and it often is. 

Got ready the sherry and mince pies. The gingerbread was cut into nice Christmas shapes for any callers throughout the day. Made lots of Mock Crab which I`m quite partial to meself to be honest.
The flavour of cheese prepared in this way is wonderfully like that of dressed crab.

Made a few Ground Rice Cakes too as I know young Tim likes them. Did a Blancmange also in the big fancy dish which had been wetted by dipping it into cold water after the mixture had boiled for six or eight minutes. Looked a treat !

I put some spiced oranges in a a few dishes, so everywhere would smell nice, and it did.

Ena Gardener from over the road called around to see Mrs. Chapman and exchange presents again this year. A right church-bell in my view - my, how that woman continues to cackle when she talks. Tongue wagging away as usual in that sauce-box, it does.

Life and death are in the power of the tongue, I always say. I howled at the thought. Molly wondered what I was laughing at. It would go completely over her head, poor lass !

We had a few other visitors, and neighbours on Dudley Road, and some important ones too at that, calling at different times with their Christmas Greetings and cards for the Chapmans and staying a while. Nice folks too, they were mostly.
Little Imp was all curious as she always is and you could find her anywhere, and everywhere.

Molly and I were preparing for tomorrow`s Christmas Dinner. Well begun is half done, I always say. I was making the Sage and Onion stuffing and bread sauce with onion and black pepper while Molly was peeling the potatoes and vegetables which we put into cold water and vinegar and safely stored in the pantry for cooking tomorrow. I put a knob of butter on the bread sauce while it were still warm to stop it forming a skin overnight, just like me Mam used to do up in Idle. Bless her.

Left the Christmas Pudding hanging from a sack in the pantry, but it`ll have to be boiled in beef broth for eight hours first thing in the morning, mind. Always use time as though you knew its value, I always say. Checked the Christmas cake to be ready for tomorrow too.
I made the Christmas cake back in October gone, and was thinking it must have been iced and decorated two week ago now. Time goes quickly, and you can't own it, it's for using. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.
My goodness, how the time has flown again, and things are getting pricier every year too, eggs are 2d. each now and sultana raisins 1s. a pound. Where will it all end !

Molly and I did have a little nip of sherry or three which fair went to our heads after a while, it did. It were right funny and we was laughing and howling lots, we were. Didn`t care, it`s Christmas ! 

The Chapmans had a light supper later in the day as they had been calling on friends and neighbours too throughout the day and been eating bits here and there as well as all that I had prepared.


Christmas Eve Evening. `Twas the Night Before Christmas

Christmas 1894

Later in the evening, all the family were up in the Front Parlour singing Christmas Carols around the tree which looked so lovely after they decorated it this morning. Molly and I were invited in to join the celebrations. Old Mrs Chapman used to say carols were a delightful form of musical entertainment, and a pleasure well worth cultivating. She were right, she were !
Mrs. Chapman played the piano and we all sang, `Once in Royal David's City`, `See Amid the Winters Snow`, `In dulci jubilo`, `O Little Town of Bethlehem` and `Away in a Manger`.
The Christmas Angel looked so grand looking down on all of us singing loud and joyfully together. I could swear the Christmas Angel was singing with us.

Archibald read aloud the yuletide poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" or "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" as others are calling it now. Imp was curled up sleeping on the sofa seemingly unaware of the celebrations with it being Christmas. 

Master James says they are arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American. Archibald read Clement Clarke Moore`s words aloud to us beautifully again.
He has been doing this now for a few years, so it has become quite a tradition here in `Tipperary House` on Christmas Eve night now.

We left the family together in the Front Parlour and took our leave.

The object of all ambition should be happy at home, and all are happy here. Oh, I love Christmas, I do.

Molly went home soon after, a bit the worse from wear with the sherry. She`ll be here again tomorrow. Great lass is Molly !

Before going to bed meself, put the goose on a low oven as it`s such a whoppa, so it can cook slowly all night. I always say, use moments wisely, then will not hours reproach thee.

In bed was thinking about time being such a precious gift... and we shouldn`t lose that child inside. Because if we do, then it`s our own fault in letting our child inside go, but some don`t even know it's there or know that we need that side of our character that can take over when we are faced with a challenge.
Yes, self-love and love are the greatest gifts of all.....................................................


Christmas Day

Christmas in Grantham, Lincolnshire 1894

Got up about 5am. He who would thrive must rise at five ! The early bird catches the worm as they say

In the morning, think of what you have to do in this day. And I have a lot to do in this day today. It`s Christmas Day ! Love it !

Went down stairs to the kitchen. 

Got water from the pump outside the back door and put the kettle on, and started to clean the range and fireplace after taking the goose out of the oven and started boiling the Christmas Pudding in beef broth.

Went up to St. Wulfram`s for the early morning service for 8am on me own. It were packed with folk and their Christmas clothes.

Nipped into the Lady Chapel again at the end, and said a quick personal prayer to the Lady as I always do in the real right way. She is always there. If we want to discover something greater than ourselves, we must look beyond ourselves and outside of ourselves.
But we don’t need to look farther than what is already in each other.

I always look at nature as well, I do as we are all part of nature. It is our great restorer. To retain happiness the link between ourselves and Nature shall not be broken. Have always noticed that after Christmas, the Sun will stay on the horizon for longer each day.
There is new life in the world for everyone getting stronger every day.

Again I felt all the good and gratitude pour forth as a white light from me heart and the palms of me hands, the way it does. I am reminded again of the importance of loving one another through service.

The family went to the later 10am service while I set up a fine table in the Dining Room after clearing away the breakfast things when I got back.

Laid it with the lovely white linen and lace table cloth and napkins, and laid the Christmas crackers out properly on the table next to the silver ware.

Used the best silver ware, fine bone china and crystal glasses. Decorated the table with ribbons, holly and ivy to encourage the return of spring and finished it off with the cream three-arm pearl and crystal candelabra as a table centre-piece that came from Lincoln.

It looked grand, it did. Christmas for me is more about food than gifts, because what you give to one another or to your friends is a feast in itself.

Put scored apples in with the goose for the last hour of cooking.


Christmas Dinner

Yule in Grantham, Lincolnshire

Started off with some Savoury Clear Turtle Soup and added some sweet herbs and a piece of bacon.

Master James carved the goose onto the main plates in the kitchen with the stuffing while Molly brought them into the dining-room where I had put out some side plates of ham and pork.
We did a selection of potatoes, carrots, cabbage and turnips. I brought in the roast chestnuts separately, so they could  peel away the tough outer skin and the white inner skin to get to the sweet kernel.

The bread sauce turned out well, and I made some gravy too and didn`t forget the apple sauce this year either !

Molly and I had our own dinner together in the kitchen and a couple of more tipples of sherry ! Imp joined us and I put some goose and gravy in her bowl. She wants a Christmas Dinner too does little Imp ! It's her first Christmas.

Afterwards served the Christmas Pudding with custard. Was wondering who would get the coin in it this year ? Molly carried it into the dining room on a platter, topped with a sprig of holly, after it was set alight. 
The boys were applauding and we was all laughing.

I remember, on Stir-Up Sunday at the beginning of Advent, Mrs. Chapman, Master James, Archibald and young Tim all took turns in beating this pudding made up of suet, bread crumbs, raisins, and spices in the kitchen. I got them to make a wish, stirring clockwise for good luck and Mrs. Chapman put the coin in the mixture.

Today, there were Mince Pies and had some sweet pickles and the Christmas cake laid out as well on the side station.

Had a jug of fresh water on the side table, and some Mulled wine with spices for Master James and some Elderflower cordial for Mrs. Chapman and the boys. 
I did a little Wassail punch too which I seasoned with cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Mrs. Chapman likes my Wassail punch particularly, just like her mother, Mrs. Clayton did, god bless her !

Everyone loved the Christmas crackers again this year. Who would have thought that Tom Smith, a London confectioner started adding a motto to his sugared almond bon-bons which he sold wrapped in a twisted paper package some years ago, and they have become these Christmas crackers now ?

It`s fun crossing your arms to pull all the crackers at once. Holding the cracker in your right hand and pulling the other person`s cracker with your free left hand. Young Tim were laughing away, Bless him !
Molly and I even had a go. Inside we all got a paper crown made from tissue paper, and we laughed at all the silly mottos.Young Tim started singing `Polly Wolly Doodle` again and we all joined in with him.

Archibald got the coin in the Christmas Pudding. 2nd time in a row, he did last year too ! Bless him ! We all cheered and laughed.

All the family went up to the Front Parlour and they asked Molly and I to join them in a while which we did. Master James had lit the candles on the Christmas tree today and they had given out their presents to each other earlier while we was preparing Christmas Dinner. When Molly and I went in, I was given a grand present of the book, `The Story of a Modern Woman` by English author Ella Hepworth Dixon , a copy of Cassell's Family Magazine edited by H. G. Bonavia Hunt and some money for Christmas. Molly got some money too.

We was both well pleased, we were.

Master James and Mrs Chapman were laughing as they had both chosen the same gift for each other and showed us these fine hand emroidered hankerchiefs.
Mrs Chapman had also received a beautiful hand mirror and some Cologne all the way from Paris. It smelt beautiful and she put a bit on Molly and me. We felt grand, we did, like fine French ladies on Les Champs-Élysées.

Mrs Chapman had also got Master James a new Vesta cigar case. A silver one.

Young Tim and Archibald had received a stamp album each, scarves, a wind-up soldier for young Tim and Archibald received a bound Chatterbox Annual. Archibald was well stuck in it.

Everyone was very pleased and happy. Bless `em ! 

Then it was time for some parlour games and Molly and I were asked to join in. We played Sculptures, "How? What? Where? When?" and finished off with Snap-dragon. Master James brought in the bowl filled with brandy and he added a large amount of raisins and set fire to the brandy. Molly was eventually declared the winner because she managed to pluck the raisins out of the burning brandy without setting fire to her fingers, her tongue or anything else ! It quite scared me, have to say. We all had a fine time and a great laugh.

Molly and I left them to it then, and they had a book reading session. Master James started reading 'A Christmas Carol' by the fireside to Mrs Chapman and the two boys while Mrs Chapman played softly on the piano.

Molly helped me clean up everywhere from earlier, and we had a light supper ourselves and some Christmas Cake together. She`s still not sure what to do about her Percival and Burghley House and getting herself a position at one of the other fine houses in Stamford or stay on here in Grantham.

Poor Lass ! I told her when you cannot make up your mind which of two courses of action to take, it`s often better to choose the bolder one. Then Molly went home to College Street deep in thought.

Mrs Chapman told me earlier not to worry about the family this evening as they would attend to themselves later with a light supper if need be, and help themselves in the kitchen. There was so much food anyways.

Felt physically tired and it`s been a long day, so headed for bed.

It`s hard to switch me mind off, so had a quick look at me new book, `The Story of a Modern Woman` which I know originally appeared in serial form in the women's weekly `The Lady's Pictorial`, it did.
The story of a woman of sensitivity, with an independent spirit accustomed to acting on her own. Sounds like me a bit, have to say.

I think I will like reading this book. Makes me think of the Committees and Societies of Women`s Suffrage in this country, and these campaigning women through the years of government inactivity and false promises who are still thought of as criminals and being force-fed during their time in prison. Terrible state of affairs !

I heard Emily Pankhurst has only just been elected to the position of Poor Law Guardian and is appalled by the conditions she witnessed first-hand in the Manchester workhouse.
It`s not fair that women over 21 got the vote in New Zealand last year, and this year they got it in Australia but no sign of it happening here, mind !!

I wonder what my `gentleman blue-eyes` from Dysart Park has done for Christmas and where he is right now ?

And me cousin Edna Wennell up Rotherham way, poor love – she never really got over that bad influenza she got a few winters back. Hope she had a good Christmas too.
Health is not valued until sickness comes, I always say. Goddess love her !

Thinking of Old Master Chapman and old Mrs Chapman in Lincoln too, all those years ago. They were fine folk, they were. Brings a tear to me eyes, it does thinking about `em.
Times may not seem so exciting when you are actually in the process.
But when you look back, even the most difficult of things can seem like fond memories.

Aah memories…………… Aah Christmas……………


Mock Crab Recipe
Christmas 1894

Once In Royal David's City
In dulci jubilo ~ The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

Grantham Christmas Tree

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