Christmas Concert and Lunch 2017
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Our Christmas Storytelling and Carol Concert, with a Golf Club Lunch

Archetypon Organizer
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*With special thanks to 'Kens Kamera' for the great photos

Concert and Lunch Report

(For some samples of what you may have missed, scroll down to below the last audience photo below)
Probus Christmas Entertainment - 12th December 2017

The Christmas concert this year was a little different from previous years at the club. Instead of relying on a local professional to provide the pre-lunch entertainment, the members were treated to an hour plus of 'home made' fun. The club members joined the local storytelling group (The Causeway Yarnspinners) for a themed 'session' of Christmas, New Year and Winter-time tales, all held together by our remarkable 'music master' (Reggie Patterson) slotting in a selection of Carols, for us all to join in and sing-along too.

Our club President acted as MC for the morning and first introduced the Story Leader for the Yarnspinners, to say something about the group - they normally meet on the Second Monday afternoon of each month at 13.45, in the Methodist meeting rooms on Queen Street, in Coleraine, EVERYBODY welcome (why don't you look in one Monday? - WebEd).

The President then got the entertainment of to a start, with a spoof tale about a King, far away and long ago, that on one very snowy winter evening (at the feast of Stephen, to be exact) went out with his Page to take food to a peasant - in other words a corny intro for Reggie to get us started with the first of the six Carols we were to sing during the course of the morning -"Good King Wenceslas".

Once the ice was broken, we were straight in to the 'wintery' tales, with club member John Graham treating us to a reading of 'The Cremation of Sam McGee'. This was followed by Yarnspinner Patrick Breslin, who gave us an account of livin in Drumlista ('Me and me Da').

After a second Carol, Maud Steele bought back many a Christmas time memory (especially for the teachers in the club), when she told us about organising the 'School Nativity play'. Our own Ken Parkes then reminded us about the excitement (and consequences) of Christmas presents, when he recounted the tale of Albert Ramsbottom and his present (it was a 'stick wi a orses ed andle').

After some more carols from Reggie, to sing-along with, 'new member to be' Colum McCloskey gave a reading of possibly the best/funniest tales of the morning, a Crawford Howard story called 'Happy Christmas Belfast'. Maud then gave an idea or two of what to do with the left over Turkey and Ken Parkes popped back to assure us that 'I'm awfully well for the state I'm in'.

Before the entertainment drew to a close with the last selection of Carols from Reggie, Patrick came back to remind everyone of the words to 'Auld Lang Syne', as there really is more to it than the chorus!

A Golf Club Festive Lunch followed the entertainment. Fortunately, the members and guests were in good spirits after the morning's Yarnspinner session, and the happy buzz of chatter, took everyone's attention away from a slightly less than enjoyable ready meal.
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Just 'Click' on the tabs below to get a 'flavour' of the Storytelling morning…
The Cremation of Sam McGee
(By Robert W. Service - 1907)

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that he'd "sooner live in hell".

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe.
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead — it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were numb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows — O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May".
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here", said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared — such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked";. . . then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm -
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Me and me Da By W.F. Marshall (The Bard of Tyrone)

I'm livin in Drumlister
An I'm getting very oul
I have to wear an Indian bag
To save me from the coul.
The deil a man in this townland
Wos claner raired nor me,
But I'm livin in Drumlister
In clabber to the knee.

Me Da lived up in Carmin,
And kep a sarvint boy.
His second wife was very sharp,
He birried her with joy.
Now she wos thin,her name was Flynn
She come from Cullentra,
And if me shirts a clatty shirt
The man to blames me Da.

Consarnin weemin sure it wos
A constant word of his,
Keep well away from them thats thin
Their tempers aisy riz.
Well,I knowed two I thought wud do
But still I had me fears,
So I skiffled back and forrit
Between the two, for years.

Wee Margit had no fortune,
But two rosy cheeks wud plaze.
The farm o lan was Bridget's,
But she tuk the pock disayse.
And Margit she was very wee,
And Bridget she was stout.
But her face was like a goal door,
With the bowlts pult out.
I'll tell no lie on Margit
She thought the world of me.
I'll tell the truth me heart wud lep
The sight of her to see.
But I wos slow, ye surely know
The raison of it now,
If I left her home from Carmin
Mr Da wud rise a row.

So I swithered back an forrit
Till Margit got a man.
A fella come from Mullaslin
And left me jist the wan.
I mind the day she went away,
I hid wan strucken hour,
An cursed the wasp from Cullentra
That made me Da so sour.

But cryin cures no trouble,
To Bridget I went back,
An faced her for it that night week
Fornenst her own turf stack
I axed her there,and spoke her fair,
The handy wife she'd make me,
I talked about the land that joined
-Begob! She wudn't take me.

So I'm livin in Drumlister
And I'm getting very oul
I creep to Carmin wanst a month
To thry and make me sowl
The deil a man in this townland
Wos claner raired nor me,
And I'm dying in Drumlister
In clabber to the knee.

by 'Graffiti Poet' - in memory of Marriott Edgar

The night before Christmas young Albert, was anxious and wanted to know,
"Is Santa still coming tomorrow, on account of the sleet and the snow?."

Mr. Ramsbottom assured him, “Of course he is lad, 'ave no fear,
he's got transport for all kinds of weather, what's powered by eight flying deer.”

“Should a thick fog descend in the evening, and no matter just how hard it snows,
he's another he's able to call on, what's famous the most for it's nose.”

Dad said “Have you written to Santa, to let him know what you want most?”,
Albert said “Yes, yes I have Dad, and I gave it to Mother to post."

Mother said "Let's leave Santa some Sherry, to have with a mince pie or two,
plus a saucer of milk for his Reindeer, and a Carrot for Rudolf to chew."

When Albert was finally sleeping, Mother turned round and told Dad,
“Fetch that stick with the 'orses 'ead 'andle, we purchased from Woollies for lad."

She said as she wrapped it in paper, and finished it nice with a bow,
“It's too big to go in his stocking, so under the tree it must go.”

When Albert woke up in the morning, he were eager and anxious to see,
if Santa had granted his wishes, and left him owt under the tree.

He charged round the room at a gallop, his shouting woke up Mum and Dad,
“It's the best thing I've ever been given”, both Mother and Father were glad.

“It's nice too see Albert so happy”, said Mum as she snuggled up warm,
"And with a stick with an 'orses 'ed 'andle, our Albert should come to no harm.”

Little did she know what we know, the troubles that present would cause,
if she had, she would not have let Albert, anywhere near Santa Claus!

"Happy Christmas Belfast"

by: Crawford Howard

Father Christmas was sittin' in Iceland,
He lives there, like, everyone knows.
He was toastin' his toes by the fire
And muttering, 'Good luck 'till yez, toes!'
Mrs. Christmas come in wi' a letter.
Says she, 'The post's landed at last!'
Father Christmas took one look and shuddered.
And says 'My God! The post-mark's Belfast!'

Mrs. Christmas 'rared up' like a tiger.
'You're not going back there no more!
Ye remember what happened ye last time.
Ye arrived back in Iceland half tore!
An' the turkey was burnt to a cinder.
An' you lyin' full in the sleigh.
An' you fell in the arm-chair half stupid.
An' I put the reindeer away.'

Father Christmas looked suitably sheepish,
'I got lost goin' over the hills.
I went down thon big chimney with smoke cornin' out,
Sure I didn't know it was Bushmills!
And the heat and the fumes of the whiskey.
An' me only out of my bed,
An' what with one thing an' another.
The whole thing went straight to my head.'

Mrs. Christmas says, 'Bushmills yer granny!
Ye never were there in yer puff!
Ye were rakin' around with them winos in town
Sure ye never could get half enough!
Ye were seen staggerin' 'full' outa Kelly's
Wi' thon three oul' men from the East,
An' you drove the oul' sleigh down Chapel Lane
the wrong way. An' nearly ran over a priest.'

Father Christmas says 'Give us the letter!
I've had just enough of your chat!
You've a tongue on ye worse nor your mother
An' there's not nothin' worser nor that!'
(Father Christmas's grammar was suspect
Though he went to a very good school —
The famous North Pole Comprehensive —
They don't turn out mugs as a rule.)

Father Christmas tore open the letter.
Then he started to laugh like a drain.
An' he says to the wife, 'This'll kill ye!
It's thon wee lad from Belfast again!
Do you know what he's askin' for this time?
It isn't a train or a bike.
He wants me to make them stop fightin'
In Belfast for Christmas, like!'

Mrs. Christmas says 'Make them stop fightin'?
There's no mortal body could do it
But still, though, you'll have to do somethin'
Or else they'll all say you have blew it!
You remember thon bottle of powder
Thon traveller left here thon day?
An' you thought it was only a gimmick
An' it's kickin' about in the sleigh?'
'And the label says, 'Full Strength Peace Powder',
And you sprinkle it over their heads,
An' it makes them feel all 'palsy-walsy' —
At least that's what the traveller said!'
Father Christmas says, 'Heavens, we'll try it!
I'd better get weavin' the day.
Get out there an' harness them reindeer,
An' throw my red suit in the sleigh!'

He was over Belfast in ten minutes.
He travelled so fast it would blind ye!
But as he said. Them reindeer can motor
If ye get a good tail wind behind ye!'
But in slowin' down over the city
He just missed a terrible fate.
He was nearly run down by the shuttle
That was cornin' in two hours late!

But at last he got into position
And he opened a kind of trap-door,
An' he emptied the bottle of powder
Right down through the hole in the floor;
And as it fell down on the city
The effect was immediate and drastic!
Father Christmas looked down in amazement.
And he says, 'This is fan-flippin'-tastic!'

Ian Paisley was sending out Christmas cards,
With tidings of gladness and hope,
And he sent one to Margaret Thatcher
And begod! He sent two to the Pope!
Yes, he sent one to Margaret Thatcher
Saying, 'Dear Maggie, Ulster says "Yes"
And as for your Anglo-Irish agreement;
I hope it's a roaring success!'

Some powder blew right down to Dublin
And it filtered through into the Dail.
Charlie Haughey grabbed Garrett Fitzgerald
And they both did a dance in the aisle.
Then they thought that a drink was in order
So they headed for Guinness's brewery
But Garrett says, 'Charles, get your motor!
The booze is far cheaper in Newry!'

Cardinal O'Fiaich got a sniff of the powder
And he did what you might think was rash.
He decreed that each Catholic church sevice
Should begin (and conclude) with the 'Sash'
The Hibernians marched up the Shankill,
The Orangemen marched up the Falls,
Sammy Wilson saluted the tricolour.
And John Hume was bawlin' 'Derry's Walls'

But up in the sky over Belfast
Father Christmas was chuckling with glee.
As the oul' rein-deer started to gallop
An' he headed back home for his tea.
An' he smiled as the city grew smaller
And muttered, 'How long will it last?
But a few days of peace — you deserve it —
So here's "Happy Christmas, Belfast".'

Cold Turkey

What the heck do ye do wi' a turkey.
When all the best bits hae been ate?
An' the longer you look at the carcass.
The more an' more scunnered ye get.

But it seems such a pity to waste it.
An' throw it straight out in the bin.
So ye try to compose a new recipe.
Where ye can slip all them oul' brown bits in.

So ye chop up some mushrooms an' onions.
An ye stir up a nice curry mix.
Then ye lob in the turkey left-overs.
And hey presto! a dinner for six!

It's not bad served wi' rice white an' fluffy.
Ye're a cookery genius, that's plain!
The weans take one look at the dinner,
An' say, 'Heavens, not turkey again!'

Maud Steele

I’m awfully well for the state I’m in

There is nothing the matter with me,
I'm as healthy as can be,
I have arthritis in both my knees
And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.
My pulse is weak and my blood is thin
But I’m awfully well for the state I’m in.

Arch supports I have for my feet
Or I wouldn’t be able to be on the street,
Sleep is denied me night after night,
But every morning I find I'm alright.
My memory is failing my head’s in a spin
But I'm awfully well for the state I'm in.

Old age is golden I’ve heard it said
But sometimes I wonder as I get into bed,
With my ears in a drawer and my teeth in a cup
My eyes on the table until I wake up,
Ere sleep comes O’er me I say to myself
Is there' anything else I could lay on the shelf?

How do I know that my youth is all spent?
Well, my "get up and go" has got up and went!
But I really don’t mind when I think with a grin
of all the grand places my "get up" has been!
I get up in the morning and dust off my wits,
Pick up a paper and read the "Obits"
If my name is still missing, I know I’m not dead,
So I have a good breakfast and go back to bed.

The moral is this, as this tale I unfold,
That for you and me who are growing old,
It’s better to say "I’m fine" with a grin
Than to let folks know the state I’m in!


Auld Lang Syne
A Christmas and New year poem
by Robert Burns in 1788
(Edited version)
(*C - chorus removed)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o'kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
Sin' auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.
And there's a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

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