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IX - Christmas Tales

Q thoroughly enjoyed many of his annual routines such as the Fowey Regatta but, as Frederick Brittain described in “Q: A Biographical Study”’, there was nothing he more enjoyed than ‘Christmas for which he prepared long in advance. On Christmas Eve, the house had to be carefully decorated. On Christmas morning went to church. They spent the rest of the day at home and Q invariably passed part of the afternoon in his study, reading Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales’.

Indeed, Q himself wrote that ‘This is Christmas: a festival of great ceremonies in this small house’.

Doubtless this reflected Q’s committed Christianity, his conviviality and his devotion to his family.

This volume contains five, Christmas-related, short stories published in anthologies over several decades-;

  • I Saw Three Ships
  • Shakespeare’s Christmas
  • My Christmas Burglary
  • Colonel Baigent’s Christmas
  • Pilot Matthey’s Christmas

I Saw Three Ships tells the tale of three wrecks at Christmas and the appearance of a mysterious sailor who disrupts the routine of a coastal community.

Shakespeare’s Christmas recounts the astonishing solution devised by Shakespeare and his colleague Richard Burbage to the outrageous demands of their puritanical landlord of The Theatre where he had produced staged many of his plays and gives a fascinating insight into life in Elizabethan London and which was, literally, resurrected as the, more famous, Globe. Q’s references to the Vanity Fair also demonstrates this factional story to be a reflection on the effects of puritans on peoples’ everyday lives where many forms of entertainment were banned as immoral.

The remaining three stories are quaint and gentle tales of a Christmas burglar, an Indian army officer returning to Winchester, the city of his childhood, at Christmas and the adventures of a Cornish fishermen and crew desperate to get home for Christmas.

All five provide fascinating and entertaining insights in Christmas celebrations of times gone by, etiquette and traditions which are now long forgotten.

Series I                      Series II                     

I         The Arrest of Captain Bligh

II        The Roll Call of the Reef

III       The Last Siege in England

IV       Tales of The Looe Die-Hards I - The Short Stories

V        Tales of The Looe Die-Hards II - The Mayor of Troy

VI       Tales of Ardevora I - Prisoners of War in France

VII      Tales of Ardevora II - Smugglers and Elections

VIII     Tales of Ardevora III - Ia

IX       Christmas Tales

X        Highwaymen