@damienmulley the High King of the Irish Blog Awards, was asking about savings clubs for Christmas, on Twitter the other night. Not those Clubs organised by the large stores but private ventures. It brought the memories rushing back.
When I was a youngster mammy belonged to such a club and it was called The Diddly.
Gus and Nora friends of my parents (they were like adopted family to us) ran the Diddly. Week by week from early January, mammy set a sum of money in the silver teapot on the sideboard, for the Diddly and it was given to Nora on her next visit. No receipts were needed, it was a matter of trust. Nora diligently collected instalments from all those taking part right through the months until the end of November.
Round about 8th December Nora passed over an envelope with our families contributions. There was never a need for checking or counting, each side knew how much the envelope would contain.
The Diddly paid for Santa Clause and the Christmas fare too. In those days it was one present per child and no filled stockings or pillowcases. Back in the pre TV days of Ireland, brand names and peer pressure were unknown. Santa brought surprises and we were grateful for them.
Cidona an apple-based soft drink, was the ‘Coke’ of our childhood and it was very much a treat for Christmas, alcohol was available for the adults. A tin or two of Jacobs Afternoon Tea biscuits, and a large tin of sweets were all taken care of by the Diddly.
We were never just eight to table at Christmas, Granny, an uncle, an aunt and sometimes if we knew of someone on their own they were asked to join the noisy throng.
A large hen turkey, a full ham and a joint of pork with stuffing, sprouts, carrots and celery sauce, roast potatoes & parsnips, and gravy were all prepared in the kitchen. This feast followed a starter of mammy’s soup, it would put hair on your chest, or so daddy told us. After a rest we had a choice of Christmas pudding, trifle, or mince pies and tea or coffee. Christmas cake was saved for later in the day.
I sometimes wonder how we all remained like stick insects with all that food!