Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Christmas Past in Essex

I am pleased to say that my latest book Christmas Past in Essex has just been launched in England and that I will be in the U.K. next month for book signings, radio and other events.
As I collected the wonderful stories, traditions and customs of the people of Essex, I began to feel as excited as the interviewees who shared their most personal recollections. I was pleased to discover that families still sing songs on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that I sang as a child. It was comforting to know the songs and traditions that came with Londoners and others who migrated to Essex are still observed and flourishing. Londoners brought their own special blend of customs that merged nicely with the centuries’ old traditions of Essex. Traditions such as stirring the Christmas pudding three times in a clockwise direction, breaking the wishbone for luck, and wishing a family good health and wealth with the first footing ceremony (Scottish tradition) on New Year’s Eve.

Within the covers of Christmas Past in Essex, a reader will not only discover personal glimpses into the hearts and minds of the people of Essex, but will also find many stories, sketches and photographs that have not previously been published. There are heartwarming stories of a little girl placed in an orphanage, a family who took in prisoners-of-war, policemen, firemen, nurses and physicians all of whom offer an intriguing and unusual insight into their lives at Christmastime.