It’s a Mystery???

So there I was idly surfing the cruise holiday sites when I saw something that really made me think “I wonder if ‘Herself’ would go for this.” You see I had seen something that stirred my imagination. A cheeky little cruise of 9 days (or 8 nights, if you prefer) where to? Well, at the time the answer was “I don’t know” It was a mystery cruise with Fred Olsen – another adventure as we had never been on a smaller ship nor with Fred. So lots to think about.

I mentioned it to Maggie and after considerable deliberation (about 30 seconds) I was phoning our travel agent and making the booking. Then I had to arrange a ferry to the UK and also accommodation in Rosslare, Burnham on Sea, and also at our Daughter and Son in Law’s (good chance to see everyone over there)

The cruise was in March and some weeks before the off we received a brochure of excursions. Well, we studied this book lots of “Googling” and still we had no clue of the destinations to which we were headed.

We booked two. The Tour “A” which was described as “A panoramic coach tour through the surprise destination. Admire the many points of interest, some of which date back from the 13th Century”

The other Tour was at the 4th destination Tour “J” “Enjoy a relaxing visit to a well renowned event. Explore at leisure your alluring surroundings – don’t forget to bring your camera”

We had an easy trip to Rosslare and to Fishguard on a very flat sea followed by an overnight stop in Burnham to arrive at Tilly and Martin’s house

We saw all of their families and another surprise was our other daughter Louise and her daughter Lily also called in from Hastings.

Saturday 23rd March 2019

After a relaxing couple of days we made our way to Dover to the secure parking which we had previously booked. A very painless exercise. Our paperwork was checked key handed over and the man said “I will put your luggage into the coach just get on board, we are just about to go”. In we got and soon we were being taken to the cruise dock at Dover.

When we arrived the cases were picked up by a porter and we went into the embarkation lounge. Very smart with refreshments available but not needed as we were straight to one of the desks where passports were checked, tickets checked, card checked (no actual money changes hands on board) and identity photographs taken and all information encoded onto our cabin key card. Within 10 minutes of entering the embarkation lounge we were boarding the good ship Boudicca.

We went for a light lunch and then found our cabin on deck 5. Our cases had arrived so we decided to unpack there and then so that job was out-of-the-way.

Our stewardess Dora was near and said “hello”. She is from the Philippines, Manila and is on a 9 month contract. They do work very hard, every day without a break for 9 months, followed by 3 months home leave to see her family. It is the same for the waiting staff.

The compulsory “lifeboat drill” was a simple matter when we heard the alarm and had to go to our muster point. We were shown how to put on a lifejacket and where our lifeboat was. A simple procedure, but compulsory for every passenger regardless of how many cruises you have been on. In fact, refusal to attend is one of the reasons that you can be put ashore and your holiday lost.

The ship left Dover and turned left. We were told to advance our watches by 1 hour,so it was obvious that we were not going to be in British waters.

Went to dinner and met our table mates Liz and James. James was a .Policeman who became a Vicar. Throughout the cruise we got on very well.

The entertainment in the Neptune Bar was excellent “Swing Show” Pity the venue is not tiered as sometimes at the back it is difficult to see.

We have been informed that the crew will be told of our first destination the day after tomorrow when all information about the port will be published.

And so to bed.

From Ships log

Dover UK

Weather Cloudy skies

Air Temperature 12°C

Sea Temperature 12°C

Wind Force 5 Fresh Breeze

(17-21 knots)


Sunday 24th March 2019

Awoke after a restless night (“different bed syndrome” nothing to worry about) Decided on a relaxing day so after breakfast went to the Observation Lounge to relax and read. At midday the Captain made his noon announcement “Hello ladies and gentlemen, today we are travelling in a easterly direction or is it westerly? Or south-westerly or anyway somewhere or other” All that was definite was that we would be coming alongside at 11am.

We had an enjoyable lunch and decided to watch a film “Bohemian Rhapsody” excellent!

Posh night so dress suit, bow tie and good frock. Another excellent meal

Gave the show a miss so watched another film “Biryani Blues”

And so to bed

En route to First Mystery Port

Weather: Partly cloudy skies

Air Temperature 10°C

Sea Temperature 10°C

Wind Force 6 Strong Breeze

(22-27 knots)

 Monday 25th March 2019

A good night’s sleep, I think it’s a combination of being tired, an extra pillow (Thank you Dora), and the gentle rocking all helped.

We awoke to bright sunshine and land in sight. After breakfast we went to the observatory Lounge to let the morning go by.

It was soon pretty obvious that we were entering Norway. The flags and the many islands were a giveaway. Exactly where were we are going is still a mystery. We are due in at 11am and our excursion (another mystery) is at 1pm.

The scenery as we cruise in is stunning and my guess is Oslo (and it is)

The excursion was a scenic trip around Oslo (Spoiled a little by the incessant chatter of two women which made it difficult to hear the courier). An interesting point was the Olympic ski jump

Ski Jump 1954 Winter Olympics

The houses and the flats were beautiful, especially in the trees and snow

We were told of the open air pre-school nursery which began in Norway and now two of our great-grandchildren go to a pre-school run on similar lines.

Maggie Pulled in Oslo

As we had missed lunch we decided (for the first time on any cruise for us) to have afternoon tea. Wow! It was wonderful I decided on having a cream tea complete with fresh (still warm) scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream. Wonderful.

After dinner we went to the show based on musicals of the cinema, then back to the cabin to another film Grace and Goliath then bed.

Mystery port 1 – Oslo, Norway

Weather partly cloudy skies

Air Temperature 6°C

Sea Temperature 6°C

Wind force 4 – Moderate Breeze

(11-16 knots)

 Tuesday 26th March 2019

Woke up in Gothenburg, Sweden

After breakfast we caught the shuttle bus into the city. Really, there was not much to write home about. It was a city with the usual shops etc. We did, however, visit a rather nice Cathedral. An unusual point was a children’s altar which was child size complete with small chairs. There was a cupboard with some toys (of a religious type) for the children to play with.

In the main church was a suspended crown of thorns and a “Book of thorns”  A record of lives and people who stand for something important and therefore also risked a lot. One has borne life, others have been imprisoned, subjected to murder attempts, driven away from their country and living in vulnerability and exclusion

Crown of Thorns

Book of Thorns

Children’s Chapel

Took it easy for the rest of the day and saw a film “Mr. Church” before bed Due to arrive somewhere at 8am

Mystery port 2 Gothenburg, Sweden

Weather Clear Skies

Air Temperature 11ºC

Sea Temperature 8ºC

Wind Force 3 Gentle Breeze

(7-10 knots)

Wednesday 27th March 2019

Woke up docking in Copenhagen, Denmark.

So we had a good breakfast and bought our tickets for the “Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) bus around the sights of the city.

First of all I wanted to go to the statue of the Little Mermaid so that Maggie could see it as she had missed it a few years before because she was ill. They tried to tell everyone that it was a 10 minute walk to the statue, but I said to Maggie that it was more like 20 minutes but for her a good 25. I had walked it before. So off we went.

Maggie and the Mermaid – At Last

Took a few photos and went round to watch a HOHO pull away so we caught the next one which was 5 minutes later. There was some confusion with the tickets as no one had told the driver that the tickets issued on the ship were valid. The driver said that as he was going near to the ship we could have a lift. At the ship there was a rep waiting who explained everything to the driver and so all was well and we then took a seat on the upper deck.

I do like the HOHO busses as they take an interesting route and there is a commentary in several languages you simply have to tune in to the one you want.

Hans Christian Anderson

We enjoyed the trip so much that we moved to the other side of the bus and went round again so we saw everything.

Went to the Observatory Lounge after a light lunch to let the world go by.

The evening theme was British Night. Oh dear! What a disappointment. The show was poor and as for the flag-waving etc. …

Mystery port 3 Copenhagen, Denmark

Weather Cloudy Skies

Air Temperature 11ºC

Sea Temperature 8ºC

Wind Force3 Gentle Breeze

(7 – 10 knots)

Thursday 28th March 2019

Awoke and we were in luck about to enter the Kiel Canal so at present we are in Germany. Now we are hoping for the Netherlands but we will see.

The journey through the German countryside is very peaceful and relaxing. The countryside is beautiful.

Cruising the Keil Cana

The show tonight was the Crew Show put on by the ship’s crew, including the engine room, waiters, hospitality staff, etc. Singing and dancing Filipino and Thai mostly

Great show, made up for that British fiasco of last night.

Kiel Canal

Weather Cloudy Skies

Air Temperature 16ºC

Sea Temperature 9ºC

Wind Force 1 Light Air

(1 – 3 knots)


Friday 29th March 2019


Arrived and cleared at 1pm and leaving tomorrow at 1pm

Our excursion left at 1.30pm and to the delight of Maggie we were given maps of the Keukenhof Gardens. We last visited it about 15 – 20 years ago. It was even better now than our memories remembered.





Missed our sitting for dinner as we were held up by a traffic accident in the city. So we went to the Secret Garden for a buffet meal. Far better than expected.

Was a lovely evening in the Observatory Lounge looking out at the lights of the harbour, reading, talking and listening to the piano music.

Mystery port 4 Amsterdam

Weather Clear Skies

Air Temperature 16ºC

Sea Temperature 11ºC

Wind Force 3 Gentle Breeze

(7 – 10 knots)

 Saturday 30th March 2019

Lovely day. We got most of the packing done by lunchtime.

The crew had several drills this morning.

Having trouble phoning from the Netherlands just won’t happen.

Set sail at 1pm

Back to Dover in the morning.

Overnight in the Dock Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Weather Partly Cloudy Skies

Air Temperature 11ºC

Sea Temperature 12ºC

Wind Force 1 Light Air

(1-3 knots)

Sunday 31st March 2019

Arrived at Dover at 6am had breakfast at 7am then left the ship at 8 am. Straight off and on to the coach picked up the car and off to Tills with a head full of happy memories.

Well would I do a mystery cruise again? Definitely YES! but perhaps a little later in the year

Would I use Fred Olsen again? Well, maybe. The entertainment could have been better and would have been helped if the theatre had been tiered. Cannot fault the food.

Total Distance Travelled – 1,782  N.M.,  3300  Km, 2051. M

Boudicca Facts

Cabins                       462

Guests                       880

Crew                          372

Refitted                     2011

Tonnage                   28,388 grt

Length                       205.47 m

Beam                         25.20 m

Max Speed               18.5 Knots

Engines                    4 Main

The Quiz (the hard one)

Well here it is

It’s back

Bern’s Christmas quiz

Good luck

1 Which countries men use the most deodorant?   Japan

2 Who played Billy the Kid in The Left Handed Gun?    Paul Newman

3 What was the first credit card?    Diners Club

4 What links Humphry Davie, Michael Faraday, Madam Curie?    Poisoned by chemicals at work

5 Hippophagic society members support what Eating?    horsemeat

6 What did Britain swap Havana for with Spain in 1763?    Florida

7 What is the crime of embracery?     Jury Bribing

8 Which country made the worlds first feature film in  1906?  Australia Story of

Kelly gang

9 Who wrote Gentlemen Prefer Blonds?   Anita Loos

10 What was Norman Bates hobby in Psycho?   Stuffing birds

11 What was Casanovas day job?   Librarian

12 Where is the worlds largest gold depository?   Federal reserve bank


13 Why did the state of Indiana ban Robin Hood in 1953?   Communist – rob rich

14 Angelo Scicilano better known as who?  Charles Atlas

15 How did George II die?  Fell off toilet

16 What did Marlon Brando and George C Scott refuse? Oscars

17 Why was convict 2599 unusual in Pen State prison 1924?  Dog doing life for

killing cat

18 What is 6 inches bigger in Summer? Eiffel tower

19 What two ingredients make the dish angels on horseback? Oysters – wrapped in


20 What was Charles Dickens last (unfinished) novel? Mystery of Edwin


21 Which sea on Earth has no beaches? Sargasso sea

22 Reuben Tice died trying to invent a machine to do what? Dewrinkle prunes

23 De Witt Wallace founded what? Readers Digest

24 Who is the Patron Saint of thieves? St Nicholas

25 According to his business card what job did Al Capone do? Sell second hand


26 Humans are 10,000 times more sexually active that what animal? Rabbits

27 Shirley Schrift became famous as which actress? Shelly Winters

28 In Kansas what can a waiter not do in a teacup (legally)? Serve wine

29 Which country has the smallest birth rate? Vatican

30 Which 1956 film caused riots in cinemas? Rock around the clock

31 Who did the USA buy the Virgin islands from? Denmark

32 Who played the scarecrow in the Wiz (all black wiz of oz)? Michael Jackson

33 What was or is a Waltzing Mathilda? Swagman’s Knapsack

34 Which country was the first to introduce old age pensions?  Germany

35 Which hats became popular with children in 1956?  Davy Crocket

36 Malden Serkiovitch famous as which actor? Karl Malden

37 What is it illegal to pawn in New York? American flag

38 What hospital did Dr Kildare work at?   Blaire General

39 Collective nouns – a smuck of what? Jellyfish

40 Who was Cleopatra’s first husband? Ptolemy Dionysus –

her brother

41 Who was John Dawkins better known as? Artful Dodger

42 Which film star has his statue in Leicester Square? Charlie Chaplin

43 Virginia McMath became famous as which actress? Ginger Rodgers

44 What is the name of Captain Ahab’s ship? Peaquod

45 Roosevelt won the 1932 election – who lost it? Herbert Hoover

46 Who wrote The History of Mr Polly? H G Wells

47 What is the first day of Lent? Ash Wednesday

48 Mr Chips said goodbye – from which fictional school? Brookfield

49 Who buried the treasure on Treasure Island? Captain Flint

50 Which TV series was narrated by Walter Winchell? The Untouchables

‘Ear we go again

Well it’s Tuesday and I am all of a jitter. You see I’ve been given a possible date for a bit of surgery over at Galway General Hospital. I’ve had a few dates over the last 12 months but circumstances have made it so that it wasn’t to be. (Things like Snow, multi injuries from Croagh Patrick, Norovirus, Auzzie flu etc.) Thankfully I am not in any real pain just a little discomfort and also some frustration with being limited with some of the things I can eat but all this will be cleared up by Thursday night if all goes well.

The radio show has now improved because I no longer spend the entire 2 hours alone as a young News presenter has joined the show and spends the last hour with me so the format has (In my opinion and that of some listeners) improved. I now play lots of music in the first hour then it’s the news and the remainder of the show it music with chat about anything. All this is thanks to the Lady Eleanor

There is much work going on in St Joseph Total redecoration renewal of the smoke detectors and the CO detector. (If the weather would permit the exterior will be repainted and some new flower troughs constructed, planted and positioned. The flowers are at the seedling stage at the moment. Having said all that we have decided to take a year off next year to do the things that retired people do.

Well I’ll call it a day for now and hopefully I’ll add another blog after my visit to Galway

Till then Keep smiling and spread a little sunshine.


Christmas 2017 THE ANSWERS














1 Carl and the Passions changed band name to what Beach Boys

2 How many rings on the Olympic flag Five

3 What colour is vermilion a shade of Red

4 King Zog ruled which country Albania

5 What colour is Spock’s blood Green

6 Where in your body is your patella Knee ( it’s the kneecap )

7 Where can you find London bridge today USA ( Arizona )

8 What spirit is mixed with ginger beer in a Moscow mule Vodka

9 Who was the first man in space Yuri Gagarin

10 What would you do with a Yashmak Wear it – it’s an Arab veil

11 Who betrayed Jesus to the Romans Judas Escariot

12 Which animal lays eggs Duck billed platypus

13 On television what was Flipper Dolphin

14 Who’s band was The Quarrymen John Lenon

15 Which was the most successful Grand National horse Red Rum

16 Who starred as the Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors

17 In the song Waltzing Matilda – What is a Jumbuck Sheep

18 Who was Dan Dare’s greatest enemy in the Eagle Mekon

19 What is Dick Grayson better known as Robin (Batman and Robin)

20 What was given on the fourth day of Christmas Calling birds

21 What was Skippy ( on TV ) The bush kangaroo

22 What does a funambulist do Tightrope walker

23 What is the name of Dennis the Menace’s dog Gnasher

24 What are bactrians and dromedaries Camels (one hump or two)

25 Who played The Fugitive David Jason

26 Who was the King of Swing Benny Goodman

27 Who was the first man to fly across the channel Louis Bleriot

28 Who starred as Rocky Balboa Sylvester Stallone

29 In which war was the charge of the Light Brigade Crimean

30 Who invented the television John Logie Baird

31 Who would use a mashie niblick Golfer

32 In the song who killed Cock Robin Sparrow

33 What do deciduous trees do Lose their leaves in winter

34 In golf what name is given to the No 3 wood Spoon

35 If you has caries who would you consult Dentist – its tooth decay

36 What other name is Mellor’s famously known by Lady Chatterlys Lover

37 What did Jack Horner pull from his pie Plum

38 How many feet in a fathom Six

39 which film had song Springtime for Hitler The Producers

40 Name the legless fighter pilot of ww2 Douglas Bader

41 What was the name of inn in Treasure Island Admiral Benbow

42 What was Erich Weiss better known as Harry Houdini

43 Who sailed in the Nina – Pinta and Santa Maria Christopher Columbus

44 Which leader died in St Helena Napoleon Bonaparte

45 Who wrote Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

46 What does ring a ring a roses refer to The Black Death

47 Whose nose grew when he told a lie Pinocchio

48 Who has won the most Oscars Walt Disney

49 What would a Scotsman do with a spurtle Eat porridge (it’s a spoon)

50 Which award has the words for valour on it Victoria Cross

Christmas Quiz 2017

This is it the 2017 Christmas quiz Usual rules

Good luck









1 Carl and the Passions changed band name to what Beach Boys

2 How many rings on the Olympic flag Five

3 What colour is vermilion a shade of Red

4 King Zog ruled which country Albania

5 What colour is Spock’s blood Green

6 Where in your body is your patella Knee ( it’s the kneecap )

7 Where can you find London bridge today USA ( Arizona )

8 What spirit is mixed with ginger beer in a Moscow mule Vodka

9 Who was the first man in space Yuri Gagarin

10 What would you do with a Yashmak Wear it – it’s an Arab veil

11 Who betrayed Jesus to the Romans Judas Escariot

12 Which animal lays eggs Duck billed platypus

13 On television what was Flipper Dolphin

14 Who’s band was The Quarrymen John Lenon

15 Which was the most successful Grand National horse Red Rum

16 Who starred as the Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors

17 In the song Waltzing Matilda – What is a Jumbuck Sheep

18 Who was Dan Dare’s greatest enemy in the Eagle Mekon

19 What is Dick Grayson better known as Robin (Batman and Robin)

20 What was given on the fourth day of Christmas Calling birds

21 What was Skippy ( on TV ) The bush kangaroo

22 What does a funambulist do Tightrope walker

23 What is the name of Dennis the Menace’s dog Gnasher

24 What are bactrians and dromedaries Camels (one hump or two)

25 Who played The Fugitive David Jason

26 Who was the King of Swing Benny Goodman

27 Who was the first man to fly across the channel Louis Bleriot

28 Who starred as Rocky Balboa Sylvester Stallone

29 In which war was the charge of the Light Brigade Crimean

30 Who invented the television John Logie Baird

31 Who would use a mashie niblick Golfer

32 In the song who killed Cock Robin Sparrow

33 What do deciduous trees do Lose their leaves in winter

34 In golf what name is given to the No 3 wood Spoon

35 If you has caries who would you consult Dentist – its tooth decay

36 What other name is Mellor’s famously known by Lady Chatterlys Lover

37 What did Jack Horner pull from his pie Plum

38 How many feet in a fathom Six

39 which film had song Springtime for Hitler The Producers

40 Name the legless fighter pilot of ww2 Douglas Bader

41 What was the name of inn in Treasure Island Admiral Benbow

42 What was Erich Weiss better known as Harry Houdini

43 Who sailed in the Nina – Pinta and Santa Maria Christopher Columbus

44 Which leader died in St Helena Napoleon Bonaparte

45 Who wrote Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

46 What does ring a ring a roses refer to The Black Death

47 Whose nose grew when he told a lie Pinocchio

48 Who has won the most Oscars Walt Disney

49 What would a Scotsman do with a spurtle Eat porridge (it’s a spoon)

50 Which award has the words for valour on it Victoria Cross


Still Rambling

There’s an election in the offing and there has just been one in the U.K. I am a little confused but wasn’t the last one for local Councillors? You know the people who represent the population on the Local Council. Those who run the refuse collection, street lighting, parks and gardens, etc. etc.. So just what did that election have to do with Theresa May, Jeremy Corben and the others in Parliament? To see the TV and the subsequent propaganda you could expect to see Boris Johnson humping dustbins and Amber Rudd digging the gardens and cutting the grass verges on the roadside. But no really it’s got next to nothing to do with them.

The latest election (one which, believe it or not, I still have a vote in) appears to be of the usual conflicting views however I ask should I be voting for the person to represent me or for the Prime Minister that I would like to really mess me up? Surely once again I should be voting for the best person to represent me in the Palace of Westminster. Let us not forget that there are 650 MPs and I should be voting for one of them. Theresa May is only one of them and she represents Maidenhead and Jeremy Corben represents Islington, So I urge people to think carefully before you cast your “X” The leader of the successful party can be sorted out later.


For a few months now I have been presenting a local radio show aided and abetted by my friend and cousin Peter. It is usually good fun and it does give a good reason to get up on a Monday morning. We have a simple format – the ramblings of two old blokes interspaced with some music. Some people enjoy it so feel free to listen in. We are there from 9 -11 am each Monday on Claremorris Community Radio 96.4 FM or There’s nothing heavy and we often follow a theme for each show.


We have been down to the bog and the turf has been cut so now we need some good weather so that it can be turned then footed (piled into stacks to finish drying) and brought home for the winter. We have been told that this is the last year for this bog for a number of years so the search is now on for next year supplier. Hopefully we will be lucky.


I quite often say this but I promise I will try harder to write on here more often but for now bye.


Christmas Quiz 2016

Well here it is – the big one

same as ever some easy some not so easy and some……

to get the answers simply run the cursor over the space after the question

but only after you have tried the question

Happy Christmas

  1. In what country, the world’s seventh largest by geographical area, is Christmas known as Bada Din (the big day)? India
  2. Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean, is a territory of which country? Australia
  3. ‘Three Kings Day’ is known by what numerical name (that’s ‘name’, not ‘date’) in Britain?Twelfth Night
  4. The North Pole, said to be Santa’s home, is located in which ocean? Arctic Ocean
  5. ‘And all the bells on earth shall ring, on Christmas day in the morning…’ is from which Christmas carol? I Saw Three Ships
  6. Marzipan is made (conventionally in the western world) mainly from sugar and the flour or meal of which nut? Almond
  7. What is the technical name of Mistletoe plant genus, and also Latin for glutinous? Viscum(hence the words viscous and viscosity, referring to semi-solid/semi-liquid and thick sticky substances – derived from the sticky quality of mistletoe berries, and also an early word for birdlime, a sticky substance made from the berries, used to trap birds)
  8. Peter Auty sang Walking In The Air in what film? The Snowman
  9. Which Christmas condiment is made from fruit sometimes referred to as marshworts? Cranberry sauce
  10. Which American-born English poet, having first names Thomas Stearns, wrote the poem The Cultivation Of Christmas Trees? T S Eliot
  11. Which Christmas slogan was introduced by Clarissa Baldwin of Dogs Trust in 1978? A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas
  12. Which British monarch (born 1865, died 1936) introduced the custom of giving thousands of Christmas puddings to staff? King George V
  13. In the UK it is traditionally believed that eating a what each day of the twelve days of Christmas brings happiness the following year: Sausage; Mince pie; Carrot; or Turkey drumstick? Mince pie
  14. The fortified wine drink Sherry is named after what town? Jerez (Spain – in Spanish, sherry is called Vino de Jerez)
  15. In Coldplay’s 2010 Christmas single video, the Latin phrase Credo Elvem Etiam Vivere (seen above the stage) loosely means what (combining an ironic rock’n’roll myth, with a seasonal sentiment popularised by Greg Lakes’s 1975 Christmas hit – and for two bonus points: name the Greg Lake song, and the Coldplay 2010 Christmas single)? I Believe Elvis Lives (Greg Lake’s song – I Believe In Father Christmas; Coldplay’s 2010 Xmas single – Christmas Lights)
  16. What is the surname of the family in the 1989 film ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’? Griswold
  17. Who composed the music known as The Nutcracker Suite, for the Christmas themed ballet The Nutcracker, premiered in St Petersburg, 1892? Tchaikovsky
  18. Which southern central US state, whose capital city has the same name, was the last to recognize Christmas as an official holiday? Oklahoma
  19. In which country, the largest of its continent, is it said that finding a spider web on Christmas morning brings good luck, and so Christmas trees are decorated with artificial spider webs? Ukraine
  20. What day of the week was Christmas day in the year 2000 (in the conventional western calendar)? Monday
  21. Charles Dickens is said to have considered the names Little Larry and Puny Pete for which character? (Bonus point: in which Dickens novel did the character appear?) Tiny Tim – A Christmas Carol
  22. Under which Puritan leader did the English parliament pass a law banning Christmas in 1647? Oliver Cromwell
  23. Name the two administrative and ex-colonial regions of China for whom Christmas day (as at 2010) remains a legal public holiday, whereas in the main country it is not? Hong Kong and Macau
  24. In which European country is it said that malicious goblins called Kallikantzoroi (or Kallikantzari – singular Kallikantzoros) play troublesome pranks at Christmas? Greece (the name is thought to derive from kalos-kentauros, meaning ‘beautiful centaur’)
  25. Very loosely related to Christmas, the predatory animal ‘uncia uncia’ is better known by what name? Snow Leopard
  26. Which traditional Christmas plant was once so revered by early Britons that it had to be cut with a golden sickle? Mistletoe
  27. In the song ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’, how many swans were a-swimming? Seven
  28. What former Egyptian president was born on Christmas day in 1918? Anwar Sadat
  29. Driving Home For Christmas was a 1988 hit single for which singer? Chris Rea
  30. Who composed the Lieutenant Kijé orchestral suite, for a 1934 film of the same name, including the Troika movement, commonly used as Christmas theme music, usually with prominent sleigh bells? Prokofiev (Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev)
  31. In Mexico, it is said that wearing what colour underwear on New Year’s Eve ensures finding new love the following year? Red
  32. The Latin word meaning ‘coming’ gave us what term which still refers to the coming Christmas period, and also to a particular tradition popular with children? Advent (as in advent calendars – the ‘coming’ basically refers to the birth of Christ)
  33. In which country does Santa have his own personal postcode HOH OHO? Canada
  34. In 2004, the post office of which country (international dialling code 49) gave away twenty million free scented stickers, to make Christmas cards smell like fir trees, cinammon, gingerbread or honey wax? Germany
  35. ‘Nadolig Llawen’ means Merry Christmas in which western European language? Welsh
  36. ‘Olive the Other… (what?)’, is a Christmas book by Vivian Walsh and J Otto Seibold? Reindeer
  37. In which country, an archipelago of 6,852 islands, is it considered inappropriate to send red Christmas cards? Japan (because funeral notices are customarily printed in red)
  38. The early pagan religious winter festival celebrated by archaic Scandinavian and Germanic people, later absorbed into Christmas celebrations, is still referred to in what alternative word for the Christmas season? Yule (or Yule-tide)
  39. What is the chemical formula of snow? H2O
  40. Which charity in 1949 was the first to produce a Christmas card? UNICEF (originally the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, now called United Nations Children’s Fund)
  41. What red-blooming Christmas plant came originally from Mexico? Poinsettia (Euphorbia Pulcherrima)
  42. Brandy is made from distilling what? Wine
  43. What was Girls Aloud’s 2002 UK Christmas number one single? Sound of the Underground
  44. Which famous comedy double-act partner made the first ever UK mobile phone call, New Year’s Day, 1985? Ernie Wise
  45. White Christmas, a cake made of coconut, crisped rice and dried fruit, is popular in which country? Australia
  46. Quaid-e-Azam’s Birthday is a 25th December celebration in which country? Pakistan (also known as Muhammad Ali Jinnah he is considered the country’s founder)
  47. Who is the narrator in the 2000 film The Grinch Who Stole Christmas? Anthony Hopkins
  48. What was the cyclone named that hit Darwin, Australia, in Christmas 1974? Tracy
  49. Pine needles are said to be a good source of which vitamin? C
  50. What drink invented by Francis Showering has a fawn mascot? Babycham
  51. What creature, noted for feeding on its berries, is linked by name to the mistletoe plant? Mistle thrush
  52. In which Christmas carol does this line feature: “Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither”? Good King Wenceslas
  53. What is the birth sign of people born on 25 December? Capricorn
  54. The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus on or around 1 January celebrates specifically what happening to the baby Jesus? Circumcision
  55. Complete the famous rhyming line which follows: “At Christmas play and make good cheer, … ? For Christmas comes but once a year (from Thomas Tusser’s instructional poem A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry, The Farmer’s Daily Diet, written in 1557 – also the source of ‘A fool and his money are soon parted’)
  56. ‘Full of Eastern Promise’ is an advertising slogan of what exotically positioned chocolate product? Fry’s Turkish Delight
  57. Which poem written by Clement Moore was originally titled A Visit from Saint Nicholas? The Night Before Christmas
  58. What was the title of the first Christmas TV special Peanuts cartoon? A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
  59. What celebratory receptacle is falsely claimed to have been modeled on the breast of Marie Antoinette? Champage coupe (or champagne saucer, more loosely, champagne glass – the flat saucery one, not the long thin pointy one)
  60. Which author and creator of Jekyll and Hyde, gave his birthday by formal deed to Anne Ide because she disliked her own birthday of December 25th? Robert Louis Stevenson
  61. What animal is the Scandinavian Christmas Julbock symbol? Goat (precisely a Yule Goat)
  62. Christmas Crackers was the first Christmas edition of which popular UK comedy series? Only Fools and Horses
  63. What song topped the UK charts at Christmas in 1957 and in a medley version in 1978? Mary’s Boy Child (Harry Belafonte and Boney M, respectively)
  64. Which hugely popular actor was born on Christmas day 1899? Humphrey Bogart
  65. What British spacecraft was lost on Mars at Christmas 2003? Beagle 2
  66. What was Queen’s 1984 Christmas single called? Thank God it’s Christmas
  67. American cartoonist Thomas Nast is credited with creating the traditional image of which popular Christmas character? Santa Claus (Father Christmas)
  68. Jackie Wilson’s re-issued song Reet Petite became the 1986 UK Christmas number one after helping to advertise what brand? Levi’s (Levi Strauss & Co)
  69. What is the name of Dorothy Gale’s dog in The Wizard of Oz? Toto
  70. Born Christmas day 1908, by what name was gay icon author of The Naked Civil Servant popularly known? Quentin Crisp (born Denis Charles Pratt)
  71. What is a baby Turkey more correctly called, other than a chick? Poult
  72. La Befana is the legendary character who delivers Christmas presents to children in which country? Italy (Befana loosely means a witch)
  73. Who is the central businessman character in the film It’s a Wonderful Life? George Bailey(played by James Stewart)
  74. In technical astronomical terms what is the duration of the winter solstice; an instant, a day, three months, or six months? An instant (in the northern hemisphere between 21-22 Dec each year; in the southern hemisphere between 21-22 June)
  75. What Christmas-time song did James Pierpont compose in 1857? Jingle Bells (or, One Horse Open Sleigh)
  76. What is the title of biggest selling Christmas single, globally? White Christmas (by Bing Crosby)
  77. Gwyl San Steffan is the name for 26th December (St Stephen’s Day or Boxing Day) in which country? Wales
  78. Which actress singer who charted with Santa Baby and starred as Catwoman died on Christmas day 2008? Eartha Kitt
  79. What Christmas item takes its name from the old French word estincelle, meaning spark? Tinsel
  80. Who is regarded as the first Christian martyr? St Stephen
  81. Kiritimati, the first inhabited place to experience each New Year, is more commonly known as what? Christmas Island
  82. What Paul McCartney hit song video featured the First World War Christmas Truce meeting of German and British soldiers in no-man’s land between the front line trenches? Pipes of Peace
  83. Who was said to have presented the baby Jesus with Frankincense? Balthazar
  84. In which city was the Salvation Army founded? London (1865, orginally the Christian Mission, by William Booth)
  85. When the Julian calendar was switched to the Gregorian calendar how many days were dropped? Eleven
  86. What drink advert launched the slogan ‘The Right One’ in 1970? Martini
  87. What is Virgil Hilts’ nickname in the film The Great Escape? The Cooler King
  88. Before the tradition of hanging stockings up at Christmas what did Dutch children hang by the fireside? Shoes
  89. In which country is it a tradition to hide all brooms in the house on Christmas Eve? Norway(according to legend, witches would steal them otherwise
  90. Who wrote the songs for the 1954 film White Christmas? Irving Berlin
  91. Which US President banned Christmas trees from the White House? Theodore Roosevelt
  92. How many courses are there traditionally in a Ukrainian Christmas Eve supper? Twelve (each one is dedicated to an apostle)
  93. In the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, how many pipers are there? Eleven
  94. From what does the month of December take its name? Ten (Latin, decem – it was the tenth month of the early Roman calendar)
  95. What did Scottish students take from Westminster Abbey on Christmas day 1950? The Coronation Stone (or Stone of Scone, or Stone of Destiny)
  96. The surname Chandler derives from the making or selling of what? Candles
  97. Who are the four ghosts in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? Christmas Past, Christmas Present, Christmas Yet to Come, and Jacob Marley (one point for each correctly named ghost, and a bonus point for all four)
  98. What liqueur goes into making a ‘snowball’ cocktail? Advocaat (or advokatt, pronounced ‘advocar’ – normally a blend of brandy, egg yolks, vanilla and sometimes other ingredients – award yourself a bonus point if you dare order one next time you go to the bar.)
  99. What is the English title of the carol written in 1818 by Austrian priest Josef Mohr originally called Stille Nacht? Silent Night
  100. In Victorian England what people were popularly called robins because of their red uniforms? Postmen