Posted: 24/11/2014 at 07:22
Happy memories of good singsongs around the fire in the local pub Pansyface - even if it was in Suffolk.
Growing up on a farm, there was always work to be done and stock to be fed, even on Christmas Day - so big presents didn't get opened until after Pa had been out and fed and watered the animals and come back in for a cooked breakfast. Christmas Day was the one day that unless they were very mucky the pigs didn't get cleaned out, but just had a layer of fresh straw on the old (making cleaning out doubly hard on Boxing Day of course).
I remember one Christmas morning very clearly - Pa had been out and fed the pigs and come back in and we were all eating breakfast prior to opening the big presents, when the phone rang!
It was the Misses Bs in the thatched house across the way - please would Pa come and retrieve his pigs - they were all over their garden and rampaging through the veg patch!!!
In Pa's hurry to get back indoors that morning he must've not shut one of the yard gates properly, and a dozen half-grown porkers had made it their business to leave the farmyard, run across the road, through the hedge and into the Misses Bs' garden - we all (even we children) pulled on our welly boots and coats, hats and gloves and went out to herd the pigs back.
They were having a lovely time and weren't that keen on returning home. Fortunately Mr F, who worked for Pa but had Christmas Day off, had heard what was happening from his house up the road and he came and joined in the pig-herding and eventually they were all safely back where they belonged.
Ma made everyone mugs of hot cocoa and Pa arranged with Mr F that he'd go over to the thatched house later in the week and put the garden to rights - fortunately there wasn't too much damage, but lots of piggy footprints in the soft soil!
That Christmas we didn't open our presents until after our Christmas lunch!!!