Last Thursday I caught up with an old friend at late night shopping in town – working fulltime sure does interfere with your social life! I took along the camera hoping to capture some of the hustle and bustle in the streets and the beautiful Christmas lights, but my camera – and my talent – weren’t up to it. I did however get an acceptable photo of the Nativity which is traditionally set up in the Market Square, under the Christmas Tree. These wooden figures are the third set we have had in the last nine years. What happens to all the old ones?
Well we have a little secret at work. As you know I work in the old lodge which has extensive cellars – three separate rooms, one of which holds the old kitchen range. When people ask me what there is down there, the answer is always old records and …. Baby Jesus.
Yes we have the Holy Family camped out in the cellar. This is the old set I remember from my childhood. When I first worked here they were collected by the Parks Dept every November and returned the following January. The lads always used to carry the ox and the donkey by the ears which was most undignified and rather careless. Now however they never get their annual outing and have been left to languish in the dark, superseded first by a papier mache set and then the wooden ones which are out now, these are provided and looked after by the local Catholic church.
Our little family are dusty and pretty badly damaged now – there are ears, feet and hands missing, chipped paint and bits and pieces glued back on. It is all very sad. Having been objects of veneration for years I think they deserve some sort of respectful retirement or decommissioning. Perhaps the old pagan practice of breakage and ritual deposition would be preferable to being forgotten in a cellar.