Monday 3 December 2012

Partnership in Practice [6]

But First ... 
 Advent Alphabetical Almanac 

C is for Calendar
No-one has ever suggested that Jesus was born on the 25th December. Back in the year dot, births marriages and deaths were personal occurrences. Apart from the need to register for taxation purposes (hence the Joe and Mary trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem) nobody bothered with accurate paperwork. And even if they had, repeated punch-ups in the Jerusalem area would have ensured that any files were long-since splattered.

We have usually been taught that Christianity "pinched" the pagan mid-winter knees-up because it looked such good fun. But the pagan additives to the real Christmas were tacked on long after the December date was adopted, at least in the West.

About 300AD we find the first references to a celebration of Jesus' birth and when Augustine arrived at Canterbury in about 597AD to convert the pagan Saxons, he brought the date with him. He also established Canterbury as the HQ of Christianity in Angle-land; which is why we have an ABC not an ABL!

The more likely explanation is that the very early Christians chose December 25th for theological reasons. Their idea was that Jesus was conceived by the power of God on the same date on which he died 33 years later. 9 months from Easter or immaculate conception is (roughly) 25th December. Although there is no documentary evidence for such a piece of portentous parallelism, it would have helped people's understanding of the "reason for the season".

Mary hears the angel's prediction.

Mary was deeply troubled by the angel's message, and she wondered what his words meant. The angel said to her, “Don't be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus."

Quote from Luke's Gospel, Chapter 1 verses 29 & 30. Wot? No wings?
Back to the Blog
 Investigation Monday 12th November 
Supertram Link - Somewhat Lacking [1]
In "Considering Cynwald's Marsk [4]" fbb commented on the "Mission Impossible" of discovering and correctly interpreting the timetable for Stagecoach's new Link between Killamarsh and the Supertram at Moss Way (read again).  The stagecoach version of the timetable did subsequently appear.

As an aside, he also wondered whether the advertised connection would be reliable.

Part of the Sheffield trip on 12th November aimed to try it out in practice. After the exciting circular tour to Rininglow (see last week's blogs) the interpid travellers caught a Sheffield Community Transport service 5 to Firth Park.
This runs via parts of picturesque Grimesthrope Road (!) that historically have never had a bus service. Here newer housing is replacing a decaying wasteland whilst retaining a delightful view of the city's East End industrial heartland.
The bus was well loaded with some of Sheffield's "ethnic minorities" who are now very much in the majority in the Grimethorpe area. Thus the bus ran late, fbb missed his connection and so his pre-planned schedule was compromised.

Not to worry, however, because the next few bits were all on ten minute frequencies, so plans proceeded adequately. The next bus was a partnership revised route 76. To reduce excess provision between Sheffield and Chapeltown, the 76 has been diverted at Firth Park to serve the "flower" estate, Wincobank and Meadowhall. Historically this flowery route was the other end of service 4 from Bents Green thus taking us back (once again) to last week's posts.
In ever helpful mode, Travel South Yorkshire's electronics was telling us all about the 75 and the 17, but not a squeak about the 76. Likewise, publicity for "upgraded" 75 and 76 services in First's web-site was still showing an unhelpful and out-of-date route map when this blog was composed last week.
fbb has sent First a corrected version, but it has, as might be expected, been totally ignored!
Anyway, despite the lack of electronic help, the 76 duly arrived ...
... and, unlike other partnership services observed earlier, carried a healthy load on its  new route. From Meadowhell, after a brief but necessary "personal needs break", it was a tasty tram ride ...
... back into the city for a connection that would take us to Mosborough and our Supertramlink 3 connection.

Being Sheffield, you nearly always meet someone you know, or more likely, has known or met you. The tram ride was no exception because a fellow passenger was a Sheffield Transport Study Group member (and vehement tram enthusiast) who had experienced fbb's talk last October (poor chap!).
Anyway, an efficient advertised connection at Fitzalan Square (The stop always used to be called "Commercial Street" pre-Supertram when fbb "were nobbut a lad") set the fbb party on their search for Supertramlink success!
Once upon a time a huge monster began to invade the lives of the residents of a green and pleasant land. Soon everything that this happy breed wanted to do was under the control of the beast. There was just one tiny part of their lives that was untouched. So it was that the monster decided that it would steal Christmas and lure all the people into its seasonal clutches.

As the peasants entered the monster's domain to exchange their groats for a few essential comestibles, even the security barriers were draped with propaganda for the horrific hydra of hype.
The mark of the beast had even usurped the age-old season's greeting.
Christmas decorations throughout the lair of the beast are bedecked with fake trees and stylised baubles, all accompanied by the unmissable name of the big monster.
Apparently it's now even the monster's little things that make Christmas.

Wasn't the celebration once about the gift of the Saviour of the World; the Messiah, the Christ? Surely there's a clue in the name? Soon, even that tentative and near-forgotten reason for the season will go.

Happy Tescomas, everybody?
 Next Bus Blog : Tuesday 4th December 


  1. I'm not a Tesco fan but, in fairness, our local branch has just provided an enormous amount of help to our Foodbank collection weekend. Yes, they benefit as people buy more and donate it, but they didn't have to provide staff to help, storage for the donations and facilities for the collectors.

  2. Ditto here on the Island. Tesco isn't all bad, of course, but I felt that to adulterate even decorations with the all-pervading brand was a step too far.