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Viscountess Boudica’s Christmas

December 26, 2018
by the gentle author

On Boxing Day, we remember our dearly beloved Viscountess Boudica of Bethnal Green

Let it be said that if anyone in the East End knew how to keep the spirit of Christmas, it was the Viscountess Boudica of Bethnal Green. At this time of year, her tiny flat near Columbia Rd was transformed into a secret Winter Wonderland where the visitor might forget the chill of the gloomy streets outside and enter a realm of magic, fantasy and romance in which the Viscountess held court like a benevolent sprite or fairy godmother, celebrating the season of goodwill in her own inimitable style.

Boudica had already been at work for weeks when I arrived with my camera to capture the Christmas spectacle for your delight, yet she was still putting the finishing touches to her display even as I walked through the door. “You see these bells?” she said, reaching up to add them to the colourful forest of paper decorations suspended from the ceiling, “I bought them in Woolworths  in Tottenham for 45p in 1984. When I think of all the people they have looked down upon – if only these bells could talk, they’ve seen it all!”

Evidence of the season was apparent wherever I turned my eyes, from the illuminated coloured trees that filled each corner – giving the impression that the room was actually a woodland glade – to the table where Boudica was wrapping her gifts and writing cards, to the corner where a stack of festive records awaited her selection, to the innumerable Christmas knick-knacks and figures that crowded every surface, and the light-up reindeer outside in the garden, glimpsed discreetly through the net curtains. “This is thirty years worth of collecting,” she explained, gesturing to the magnificent display enfolding us, “that set of lights is older than I am.”

In common with many, this is an equivocal time for Viscountess Boudica who does not have happy childhood memories of Christmas. “It was hell,” she admitted to me frankly, “We didn’t have any money to buy presents and, in our family, Christmas was always when fights and arguments would break out. The reason I have so many decorations now is to make up for all the years when I didn’t have any.” Yet Boudica remembers small acts of kindness too. “The local shops used to save me their balloons and give me scraps of fabric that I used to make clothes for the kittens in the barn – and that was the beginning of me making my own outfits,” she recalled fondly.

“People should remember what it’s all about,” Boudica assured me, linking her own childhood with the Christian narrative, “It’s about a little boy who didn’t have a home. They should think of others and remember there’s poor people here in Bethnal Green.” Naturally, I asked the Viscountess if she had a Christmas message for the world and, without a second thought, she came to back to me with her declaration –  “Be kind to each other and get rid of discrimination!”

Boudica contemplates her Christmas listening – will it be Andy Williams or Jim Reeves this year?

“Whenever I hang up these bells, I think of all the people they have looked down upon over the years”

Wrapping up her gifts.

Filling her stocking

Nollaig Shona Dhaoibh!

Drawings copyright © Viscountess Boudica

You may also like to read

Viscountess Boudica’s Domestic Appliances

Viscountess Boudica’s Drawings

Viscountess Boudica’s Blog

Viscountess Boudica’s Album

Viscountess Boudica’s Halloween

Viscountess Boudica’s Valentine’s Day

The Departure of Viscountess Boudica

Read my original profile of Mark Petty, Trendsetter

and take a look at Mark Petty’s Multicoloured Coats

Mark Petty’s New Outfits

Mark Petty returns to Brick Lane

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Kristine permalink
    December 26, 2018

    I agree with Viscountess Boudica’s Christmas message to the world, “be kind to one another and get rid of discrimination.” After all, Christmas is the celebration of the Christ child who taught us that the greatest thing we could do was to love one another. On another note, I love seeing Viscountess Boudica’s collection of vintage Christmas decorations, I’m a bit envious of it too.

  2. December 26, 2018

    Have you heard from Viscountess Boudica since she moved two and half years ago?

  3. the gentle author permalink*
    December 26, 2018

    Yes I get regular messages, she is as full of beans as ever and now planning to return to London!

  4. Sarah B Guest Perry permalink
    December 26, 2018

    Wonderful that she is planning to return. Can hardly wait to read about more of her adventures and her fabulous decor.

  5. pauline taylor permalink
    December 26, 2018

    Very pleased to hear that you are still in touch with Viscountess Boudica. Her Christmas decorations are a sight to behold, thanks for letting us see them again, a real boost on a damp, dark, dreary Boxing Day morning.

  6. Jill Wilson permalink
    December 26, 2018

    Fabulous stuff and a perfect message for Christmas. The decorations remind me of my friend “Glittery Richard” who also used to go completely over the top at Christmas time – although he only used to have one massively over-decorated tree (the rest of his flat was done up like an Egyptian tomb…!) It is great to have people like this to brighten up our lives.

  7. December 26, 2018

    Wonderful to hear from you again! Wish you all the best!

    *** MERRY CHRISTMAS! ***
    *** JOYEUX NOËL! ***

    Love & Peace

  8. John Barrett permalink
    December 26, 2018

    Hope she does return this super chick to London with lots of new copy. Poet John Poetry Soc

  9. Millie Bird permalink
    December 26, 2018

    SO happy to hear that she is returning to London at last. I was sad to think of her outside this wonderful and inclusive city. This is a great Christmas gift indeed. I look forward to an update soon! Thank you so much for all that you bring to us.

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