Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 27, 2010

Saturday, 25th December, 2010 [CHRISTMAS DAY]

I spent about 4 hours at the radio station last night, only a few minutes actually on air. Would have liked it to have been longer, but with three programs lined up over the weekend, I knew I had to protect my voice and throat, and for most of the evening, I was not feeling that well. To be honest also feeling quite annoyed  – at the office over the past couple of days, our fanatical little ‘boss’ had insisted on being in the office despite carrying a heavy dose of the flu. I’d have preferred she had stayed away, but no, duty comes first!!! So even before I left the office shortly after midday yesterday, I could feel that her virus had infiltrated my system, and I was not happy.  So a restless sleep on Christmas Eve, with a fear as to how I was going to be feeling over the weekend  –  I had avoided any serious flu viruses this winter but the weekend ahead looked ominous.

Anyway, ‘Dr’ Kirk dosed himself up with panadol in the 18 hours leading up to 8am on Christmas morning  –  seemed to have some degree of preventative reaction, because while still not feeling 100% this morning when I woke, better than  anticipated by the time I was up and reached the radio studio. With one exception later tonight, I would be the only live presenter to put in an appearance.  Our annual Christmas ‘gift’ swapping and Dinner would take place after midday over at my wife’s family home  –  I’d bought Susie a little collection of books which she had expressed an interest in, so left one of them, suitably wrapped, outside her bedroom door when I left this morning. Boyfriend Jimmy, had stayed the night also, but I didn’t really hear them return last night, such was my state of exhaustion at that stage.

I think this was the 5rh year that I’ve ‘hosted’ a Christmas morning program on air, and in the absence of nearly all other presenters on that day – we are all volunteers, so there is of course no compulsion for anyone to give up their Christmas Day and come in –  but it is something I feel I want to do for those in the community who on a Christmas morning need the comfort of a few hours of music which I always carefully select as appropriate for that morning.  The following was the manner in which I had promoted this particular broadcast:-


This is your opportunity to relax for a few hours beside the radio, with that cup of Christmas coffee or tea, and that little gift packet of shortbread, before the rush of families, friends, present opening, and Christmas Dinner takes over for the rest of the day.


Tune in to 99.3 FM, your Sunbury Community Radio Station – 3NRG –  between the hours of 8am and 11 am on Saturday, 25th December [Christmas Morning] for 3 hours of traditional Christmas inspired music and song, presented by your Christmas host, Bill.

[there were a couple of pictures here, but they don’t seem to have shown up in the translation, lol]
So that is what I did –  for 3 hours, a variety of Christmas carols, and music, in the main from traditional sources, choirs, and orchestras etc –  most of the other on-air programs in the weeks leading up to Christmas, tend to play versions of Christmas carols and songs [note,  there is a clear distinction between the two as far as I’m concerned – every time I hear some kind of Christmas style ditty referred to as a ‘carol’, I grind my teeth in annoyance] sung by popular current artists, pop stars, etc, who are simply in my view, cashing in on the season, with their annual cds of ‘Christmas’ music!  Mind you, I did break that rule a couple of times this morning – playing some exceptional versions of carols by people such as Josh Groban and Charlotte Church. And then towards the end of my three hours, I relented with a couple of tracks by Brook Benton and Frank Sinatra!!

While all this was happening, I was trying to protect my voice – with two more shows tomorrow –  but from the reactions of the people who rang in during the program, there was no evident problem, which was pleasing, and I felt reasonably happy with the way things went. Also pleased at a number of phone calls and text messages from listeners that came through during the morning – the effort of putting on this show was satisfaction enough for me, but from the view of someone who gets very limited feedback throughout the year, it was an added bonus to hear from so many listeners on Christmas morning, and to realise that the very nature of the program, and simply the fact it was on, when all of the regular presenters were missing today, was being appreciated.  Even received texts from Susie, and sister-in-law up in Queensland, though neither of them were actually listening to me!!!

Christmas Dinner and all of the associated ‘delights’ of Christmas – family, presents, the meal, etc, followed at around midday by which time I had finished with the radio for the day. Our Christmas tree at home, had been surrounded by gifts, etc, when I left this morning, but while I was out, Susie loaded all into her car, so I actually arrived at the family home empty handed!  Now at my age, I don’t normally expect or look for much in the way of Christmas gifts, but enjoy the giving part. And yet, as with today, I always seem to do very well, feel somewhat undeserving, but at the same time pleased.   Since 1973 [the year of my marriage] I have been reading the books written by Wilbur Smith – have them all, except a couple which came out a few years ago. Susie became aware of that, and apparently went searching for them on the internet, and today, produced them both for me!! My collection is now complete, and while I am currently partway through two or three books, couldn’t resist making a start on of one the Wilbur Smith novels later tonight!  As well as a couple of book gift vouchers, cds, and a dvd of the recent Australian film ‘Australia’, I was also presented with the latest Bryce Courtney novel – he seems to come out with a new book just in time for Christmas, each year!  I must say that my family is very much a ‘book reading’ family, not all of them, but enough for most of ‘my’ Christmas shopping to have been undertaken at a couple of major book retailers.  Especially Susan, who seems to be becoming almost as avid a collector of books as her dad!

I stayed over at Goonawarra for the whole afternoon – got ‘dragged’ into taking part in a new board game, although my enthusiasm for it was not quite at the same level as those of my ‘kids’ who were involved  – in fact, that was a very noisy few hours, I had anticipated a quiet afternoon of dozing after Christmas Dinner or settling down with a new book. The opposite occurred, and I must admit that by about 5.30 pm, although originally intending to stay for the evening meal, I decided I’d had enough of the afternoon’s excitement and noise. And one or two younger members beginning to show the affects of an over indulgence of wine!  Also had a bit of concern for my second son –  he was due to work later tonight [as a baker] and went off to get some sleep after the meal & gift swapping etc. As he mentioned a couple of days later, he’d not achieved much sleep whilst the board game was happening  – I’m glad it wasn’t me, I would have been voicing a few more complaints than Adam did!  I guess in some ways, my ‘fatherly’ concern tempered to some degree my enthusiasm for the afternoon ‘games’.

Irrespective of that, I can’t complain. It was a good environment all afternoon, and I considered myself rather lucky, that despite being a part of a now long term broken marriage, we were all able to join in with family celebrations of this nature without any form of acrimony or dispute, but good friendly relationships,  each year

I was home by 6pm, but it was some hours later before Susan returned. I don’t think I really bothered about eating much this evening, though I did have another helping of ‘Christmas pudding’ which Susie had brought home for me.  Her Mum’s mother cooks this each year, using the recipe that my own mother had used through her life, and it was a lovely link with the past. In recent years, she [Shirley’s mother] has often cooked an extra pudding  – just for her former son-in-law’s benefit, but I didn’t hear any mention of that treat this year J

Switched  the TV on tonight, just in time  to hear the Queen’s annual Christmas message from England.  There was an interesting combination of subjects tonight in her speech which the Queen actually apparently rites herself each year. The following are a few notes of the speech, taken from on site reports.

In a break with tradition, the Queen decided to tape this year’s message in the Royal Chapel at Hampton Court Palace near London, the residence of King Henry VIII, instead of the usual broadcast from Buckingham Palace. Wearing a matching purple dress and coat topped off with a large brooch and three strands of pearls, the Queen briefly touched on the last year’s Christmas message: the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.  “One only has to think of the injured men and women of the armed forces to see how an interest in games and sport can speed recovery and renew a sense of purpose, enjoyment and comradeship,” she said.    Her message, which is written by the Queen herself, is a rare chance for the monarch to express personal opinions.  Making the broadcast from the palace built for Henry VIII was a break from tradition. The Queen’s annual address is normally recorded from Buckingham Palace. The change was suggested by the Queen, because Hampton Court was where, in 1604, King James commissioned the bible, which took seven years for translators to complete. The Queen said the King James Bible was “acknowledged as a masterpiece of English prose and the most vivid translation of the scriptures”. She added: “The glorious language of this Bible has survived the turbulence of history and given many of us the most widely recognised and beautiful descriptions of the birth of Jesus Christ which we celebrate today.”

What the Queen's message was really about; The Queen poses for a photo during the recording of her Christmas Day Speech to the Commonwealth; Getty

The Queen poses for a photo during the recording of her Christmas Day Speech to the Commonwealth Photo: Getty

The Queen also included reference to sport in her subject matter  –  where she explained  why she believes sports and games enrich communities and build harmony, and  teach all of us valuable lessons about life and building communities.   “It is as important as ever to build communities and create harmony and one of the most powerful ways of doing this is through sport and games,”  “I’ve seen for myself just how important sport is in bringing people together from all backgrounds, from all walks of life and from all age groups.”   The Queen said that the many sporting events this past year — from the World Cup in South Africa, the Vancouver Winter Olympics and the Commonwealth Games — have demonstrated how sports can do far more than improve physical fitness.   She said athletics plays a key role in bringing together people from all backgrounds, ages and walks of life.   “No team can hope to succeed without co-operation between the players,” the 84-year-old monarch said, noting that athletes must also respect their opponents. “This sort of positive team spirit can benefit communities, companies and enterprises of all kinds.”

I agree completely with those sentiments of Her Majesty, but the problem is, those attributes of team spirit etc, seldom seem to carry into the rest of life, and so often, the bringing together of different cultures, etc, disappears when the ‘games’ are over! Nevertheless, it was an interesting conversation piece from the Queen, probably not the kind of message people would have generally expected to hear from her at this time of year.

Meanwhile, an interesting little comment about the Queen’s broadcasts, made by Charles Moore in The Telegraph where he wrote:-

It was not much noticed at the time, but 2010 marked the Queen’s 70 years as a broadcaster. On October 13 1940, with her younger sister, Princess Margaret Rose, sitting beside her (“Come on, Margaret,” she enjoined her when it was time to say goodnight), Princess Elizabeth broadcast on the BBC’s Children’s Hour on radio. Her message was chiefly directed to the children of the Empire, including those sent overseas from Britain – because of the Second World War – to Canada, Australia, the United States and so on.

Princess Elizabeth, aged 14, reassured her audience that children who, like she, had remained behind in “the old country” were full of “cheerfulness and courage”. “In the end,” she promised, “all will be well… God will care for us and give us victory and peace”. After victory, she said, it will be “for us” – her generation – “to make the world a better and happier place”. It is touching to think that she is now almost the last of that generation still publicly engaged in this task.

Later, I found it interesting to fins a film on the internet of the Queen’s first televised Christmas message – in 1957, a young Queen Elizabeth, delivered 25 years after the first Christmas message delivered by her grandfather

Back to the present – my Christmas was fairly inactive, still not feeling over well, and quite an early start planned for the next morning, though as usual for a Saturday night, sleep did not come easily or smoothly! Noticed a few fire crackers being let off earlier in the evening, but thankfully they didn’t go on for too long!


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