In the Workhouse – Christmas Day (George Robert Sims – 1879)
It is Christmas Day in the Workhouse,
And the cold bare walls are bright
With garlands of green and holly,
And the place is a pleasant sight:
For with clear-washed hands and faces
In a long and hungry line
The paupers sit at the tables,
For this is the hour they dine.
And the guardians and their ladies,
Although the wind is east,
Have come in their furs and wrappers,
To watch their charges feast:
To smile and be condescending,
Put puddings on pauper plates,
To be hosts at the workhouse banquet
They’ve paid for – with the rates.
Here’s our banquet, arrived in box. On the way from the hotel it took a few knocks. The damage not drastic, ’twas wrapped in plastic. To the table everyone flocks!
The turkey was tasty and the clam chowder soup also went down well. The giblet gravy got very mixed reactions as did the ‘squash’. The cranberry and apple sauce was very tasty but the potato puree was altogether too liquid. Thankfully, Mrs S had cooked some excellent roast spuds and veg to substitute. Desert was a concoction of Britishness by mixing mince pies with brandy cream sauce, which was very well received.
Our Christmas table was short of quite a few people we’d liked to have had there. Of those who should have come we were missing sister-in-law and youngest nephew as they were sick. Those who we were unfortunately not expecting include – father-in-law (at sea, literally), my entire collection of family & friends (in the UK), other friends (spread everywhere between Ełk and Oslo) and many Warsaw friends who have left the city to spend Christmas elsewhere (around Poland or in the UK). Warsaw is amazingly quiet at this time of year, a blissful loneliness.
We fed the animals too. Nelson had a packet of Whiskas plus some Xmas turkey. For the birds we filled the feeders for a mixture of Blue Tits (Modraszka), Great Tits (Bogatka) and Greenfinches (Zaganiacz zwyczajny) with the Jays (Sójka) picking up the seeds dropped to the ground.