Celebrating friendship with festive fun – 15 December 2021

What a dazzling array of Christmas bling greeted seventeen of our members as they clicked on the Zoom link for our seasonal knees-up last night.

Jeanette’s warm welcome included special mention of Hazel (her first AWC Zoom), Jean back with us from Coll, and the return of past member, Eddie (with wife Edwina).

First on the programme was a chance to learn how members were celebrating and representing Christmas in their little Zoom box – great fun and very festive. Jokes featured too, my personal favourite being John’s contribution: “Did you know that Rudolf was originally called Olf? That was until he started telling naughty jokes!” You had to be there, and apologies, John, joke telling is definitely not one of my strengths!

As for seasonal decorations, my (unverified) count was a win for the reindeers (5?) closely followed by penguins, lots of festive earrings, tons of tinsel, Santa hats, Christmas mugs, stacks of Christmas cards, along with Baa Humbug, a sparkly dog, snowy skiers, a singing tree, an animated advent calendar and best of all, a life-size elf with a jingle bell hat!

Our traditional Christmas Flash Fiction competition was up next. This year, the first placed writer was to receive a stylish quill and ink pot, kindly donated by Gill Sherry, and competition was fierce. With a limit of only fifty words, and a theme of “The Night before Christmas”, this was not an easy task. Eleven plucky participants offered their pieces, reading them to their audience and, thanks to Zoom technology, members shared their top two favourites via the CHAT function so that Ajay could tot up the votes.

By that time, we were more than ready for a short break, to top up our tipples and adjust our attire before the second, seriously competitive part of the evening – CHRISTMAS QUIZ TIME.

 

Maggie Morton had generously offered to provide us with a three-round quiz, and an accomplished Quiz Presenter she proved to be! Each round had twelve questions, presenting the opportunity to achieve a mighty thirty-six points, for the top score.

Round 1 quizzed our knowledge of classic novels, Round 2 featured nothing but Christmas themed questions, with Round 3 testing our facial recognition skills in order to identify twelve ‘famous faces’! For me, there is nothing more frustrating than knowing that you KNOW an answer, but that your memory is NOT playing ball!

After much head scratching, and not-so-silent sighing, answers were revealed, and points totted up.

The results? As Maggie began her count down from the top score of 36, we held our collective breaths. And the winner was…. Linda Brown shamed the rest of us with her top total of 29, followed by second equal Hazel, and tag team Eddie and Edwina, on 24.

 

The final part of the programme was a BOOK TALK feature, where members were encouraged to talk about books they would like to be gifted and those they love to give. Jeanette proved an excellent host for this part, encouraging and prompting interesting responses on a long list of books from a wide range of genres, including chick-lit, heists, short stories, how-to-books, fantasy, cook books, inspirational material, the joy of antique books, old maps, crime noir, faction, psychological historical fiction, murder mysteries, musical icon autobiographies, historical detective work and an impassioned call for action on climate change. Lots of good ideas for future reading lists.

 

And like all the best award ceremonies the BIG announcement was kept for last.

 

The 2021 CHRISTMAS FLASH FICTION COMPETITION, by a landslide, went to Marion Husband for Santa’s Christmas Eve Email, in which Santa strove to avoid digestive disasters by circulating the dietary requirements of his reindeer team – hilarious and very clever. Congratulations, Marion.

Joint runners-up were Hazel with her Jungle Bells, a clever parody of Jingle Bells, and Matt’s sobering but beautiful The Wind off the Clyde. Well done, the two of you.

 

And, with a flurry of Seasons Greetings, we bade farewell to one another, til we meet again in 2022.

Thanks to all for participating in a lovely, warm, festive ‘gathering’. For those of you who did not manage to be there, the Zoom was recorded and will soon be available to members. No cheating if you try the quiz, now!

Carolyn O’Hara

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