Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Child's Christmas In Wales 1987

A Child's Christmas in Wales

"I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six."

I watched this on television the first Christmas I spent with my husband in 1987, before we were even married.  I knew he was the guy for me, because he appreciated the sweetness and beauty of this holiday classic.  Not many people even know this DVD exists, which is a shame.  Our family had the pleasure of traveling to Wales five years ago (although in the summer) and parts of Wales are still almost as rustic as in this film.  In fact, this was filmed on location in Montgomery Wales, which is probably little changed from when Dylan Thomas was a boy in Swansea.
Old Geraint telling his grandson Thomas about Christmas past...

This sweet film is based on the poem by Dylan Thomas which was first published in 1954 after his death.  It is really more like a lyrical piece of prose as only Thomas could write.  In 1987, a collaborative effort between Global TV in Canada and HTV in Britain (now known as  ITV Wales & West Ltd) brought this to television, and it was shown on PBS in the USA as well.  It is rare to see this on television anymore, so you'll have to invest in the DVD if you want to see this (a wise investment for years to come...)

"One Christmas was so much like another, in those years..."

"December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats."

"It's loovely Grandad."

The Welsh scenery is gorgeous and lets you feel as if you are truly traveling back in time.  The film is a combination of present day (well, 23 years ago) and flashbacks to what looks like the time period just before WWI.  The children all have authentic Welsh accents, although I believe the adults are all Canadian actors except of course the wonderful Denholm Elliott (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Trading Places, Room with a View) who was English, but does a wonderful Welsh accent.

"...once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now, alas, no longer whinnying with us."

The music will also stay with you after watching this, particularly from the cozy scene at the end, where the family are all singing by the fire, quaint Welsh carols like "On To Bethlehem Town" and "All Through the Night".

"Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground..."

As I was watching this tonight (research, you know) both my 16 year old son and my husband made their way into the room where I was and watched the last half with me.  Well, this has really gotten me into the Christmas spirit.  I will try to hold onto this feeling as I finish my Christmas shopping this weekend (fingers crossed) and not get caught up in the things that don't matter.  Happy Holidays!

N.B.  The screen captures above were borrowed from a beautiful blog

Click for the full text of the Dylan Thomas Poem A Child's Christmas in Wales.

The above post is a rerun again from last year (sorry, but I thought it was worth another run, and I have not quite finished with the feasting, visiting and general excesses of the season. I'll be back to the blogging again soon, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the above).


  1. I too, LOVE this sweet movie. Dylan's beautiful lyrical prose shines throughout: who else but Dylan would describe "the Welsh speaking sea"?

  2. @Anonymous- I have to read this again, Dylan Thomas is such a gem. I did not know before that the sea spoke Welsh!
    I think one of my fave quotes is
    "Were there postmen then, too?"
    "With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and mittened on them manfully. But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells."
    Happy New Year!

  3. I too love this movie. I had it on VHS for years, this after trying to locate it for FIVE YEARS! Just last Christmas I upgraded to a dvd. You cannot go wrong with this movie at Christmas. It is Christmas! Another point, I took a trip to the town where the movie was filmed, Montgomery, Wales. Go there if you get a chance. Those who have seen the film will recognize the town. Also, just go there for the people. The citizens of Montgomery live up to the Welsh reputation: nice and hospitable.




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