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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas afloat, 1954

In December 1954 my parents and I were on our way from England to New Zealand, aboard the good ship RMS Rangitiki. We steamed home via the Panama Canal, arriving back in Auckland on 1 January 1955.

Rangitiki Postcard, courtesy of the web site

Christmas aboard the Rangitiki looks like it must have been fun and relaxing for the passengers. I went to the children's  fancy dress party in a crepe paper Christmas tree costume my mother had created for me, and won a prize. (I've posted this photo in a previous blog but I think it bears repeating). The next photo is of a fragment from my outfit that Mum stuck into a scrapbook of the trip. It's quite well-preserved really, so you can imagine what the photo looked like in colour.

My mother's scrapbook also includes both the children's and adults' menus for the various Christmas events.

Children's Fancy Dress Party Menu

For Tea on Christmas Day the children enjoyed Fillet of Cod au Gratin, Cheese Salad, Roast Chicken and New Zealand Ham, with Peach Creams, Neapolitan Ices and fruit for dessert. Fried Lambs Sweetbreads and Sheeps Tongue were included in the menu at the Children's Xmas Party on December 24 - not my idea of party food, but I think in those days they were believed to be good for children. They were also served coffee ices, which seems a bit strange too.

Boxing Day Children's Menu Cover

The adults dined pretty well on Christmas Day, once the children had been fed and safely put to bed, not that I was always safe - apparently one night during the voyage I somehow escaped from the cabin, and if a purser hadn't discovered me wandering about on deck, I might not be here to tell the tale!

 The adults' Christmas Day Menu cover appropriately featured the New Zealand Kowhai Ngutu, also known as the kaka beak flower, 

A Sumptuous Xmas Feast: Rangitiki Menu, Dec.25, 1954
Scotch Woodcock is apparently a dish of soft scrambled eggs on toast with anchovy paste, which seems an odd thing to serve for Christmas, but perhaps it was included for the vegetarians, as there was not very much else offered for them.

And yes, Santa did manage to find the RMS Rangitiki on the high seas, somehow or other!

Best wishes to everyone for the festive season, wherever you may be, from Merry Melbourne, where it's presently around 40 degrees in the shade. Thankfully Xmas Day is not predicted to be quite so hot!  I hope you all have a very happy and relaxing time with family and friends. To close, here are some Melbourne icons for you, with a little added Christmas flavour - they're neither old nor sepian, but I hope you enjoy them, regardless!

Gingerbread model of the Melbourne Cricket Ground., which also plays host to Aussie Rules in winter.
Melbourne Town Hall lights up with a festive light show each night before Xmas

No one's watching the football, they're all queueing up for some fun at that other Melbourne icon depicted here in gingerbread, Luna Park at St Kilda Beach.

For more festive season memories,thoughts and wishes, just lie back, relax and head for  Sepia Saturday 208