...otherwise known as Boxing Day or, if you are a Catholic or tend towards the higher reaches of the Anglican candle, St Stephen's Day.
The name Boxing Day derives from the tradition of the well-to-do giving money or gifts to fill up the Christmas boxes of tradespeople and servants. All very Downton Abbey (a bit more of that later). St Stephen was an unfortunate chap who turned up in the 'Acts of the Apostles', attempted to preach the Word and got stoned to death for his efforts, an image that's a little at odds with turkey sandwiches and Match of the Day.
Despite my recent blogging about my personal faith, I didn't go to church, though I did listen to choirs singing on radio 3 on Sunday, whilst I warmed samosas and made some hummus - a poor excuse but there you go. I cooked dinner, didn't drink too much but did watch a lot of telly, tuning in to housewives specials such as 'Call the Midwife' and 'Downton Abbey'. I get laughed at work by some of my more intellectual colleagues for liking 'Call the Midwife' but, for all its cosiness, I do like how it reminds us of what a difference the NHS made to ordinary people's lives.The part about the poor old girl who lost all her children in the workhouse may have been over-sentimentalised but such stories are not derived from fiction.
On Downton Abbey, far more of a Tory favourite, I imagine, with its nostalgic view of the hard-working, loyal lower classes who certainly knew their place and woe betide them if they didn't, the blue-eyed-boy from the 'Line of Beauty' ended up dead in a ditch, reminding us that death is no respecter of class. Likewise, the cousins in the Glens were there to remind us that even the poshest of toffs will find their lives sad and empty if deprived of love. (That last bit sounds a bit like a Vanessa Redgrave's voice-over in 'Call the Midwife'.)
Much less preachy and a lot more fun, the 1995 film adaptation of 'Restoration' with Robert Downey Jnr. on one of the cable channels was a jolly picaresque through the ..err.. Restoration..as experienced by physician come wastrel Robert Merivale. It didn't do justice to the book but a comic cameo from Hugh Grant as an ambitious and foppish artist and a good turn as a Puritan doctor from David Thewlis lent it something, and Robert Downey Jnr. was funny and cute.
Today it's raining, so I have postponed my walk and shall, instead, try to write a 50 words story for the book gathering on Saturday. I think that calls for a guilt free, festive, Feast of St Stephen brandy and a few chocoates.