Monday, December 26, 2011

On The First Day of Christmas - A Venetian Ornament from Juliet Greenwood

 The first ornament on our RNA Christmas tree comes from Juliet Greenwood...

This little gondola is my favourite Christmas ornament. 
My family bought it when we went to Venice in the 1960s, when I was about eight. My parents had escaped backgrounds of utter poverty in the 1920s and 30s to become teachers, and so loved travelling. They would pack me and my brother into a clapped-out camper van (Volkswagen, of course) and take us all over Europe for six weeks each summer. We would break down regularly and camp in the wilds, getting caught in forest fires, and every now and again, woken in the middle of the night by suspicious soldiers with guns. That year, we spent a day in Venice, complete with a ride on a gondola. 
Ever since then, the little gondola came out each Christmas to have pride of place on the windowsill as the entire extended family packed into a little cottage in the Welsh hills. When the lights finally broke, we wound new fairy lights to light up the little lanterns so it could continue to be part of the Christmas spirit. 
I love this little gondola because it holds so many memories. It’s very frail, but it still comes out each Christmas to sit in state. It should be a slightly tacky souvenir, but it’s the associations that make it beautiful. It’s inspired at least one story, and I’m sure it will many more. 
And yes, that is Mr Darcy standing next to the gondola. A friend made it as a Christmas card, and it also comes out each year. The beginning of a new memory, perhaps? 

To find out more about Juliet visit her here.


Juliet Greenwood said...

I'm just switching on the gondola before the family arrive for Boxing Day. It was nice to live with the memories again!

I'm looking forward to the rest of the ornaments.


Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

I love the story behind your Christmas ornament.

Juliet Greenwood said...

Thanks, Debs!

I've just had a family Boxing Day dinner with the gondola looking down on us. Happy memories!


Jane Odiwe said...

That's a gorgeous story-what fantastic memories you must have!