News from Nelson: Christmas Spirit

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Nelson's HeadDear Friends and Fellow-Sailors!

I was sitting on my plinth one day, thinking about sailing through the eternal universe (as you do) when who walked into the Reading Room but the author John Banville.  Well John was delighted to see me and ambled over for a chat, as we are old friends.  He asked me if I ever wore a hat and I said no  – I am much too tough for that, unlike that fake Nelson in Trafalgar Square – my legion of fans will know that I am the first and the best Nelson. 

Time Pieces by John BanvilleJohn then presented me with his new book, Time Pieces: a Memoir of Dublin which I am reading in the evenings after everyone has gone home – I can really recommend it for your Christmas stocking.  It brings Dublin of yesteryear fully to life.

While we were talking, John reminded me that Christmas used to start on 8 December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception (I am told) when schools were free for the day.  O the excitement! as all the children and their parents descended on ‘the big smoke’ for the day to do their Christmas shopping and visit Santy (as he was always known in Dublin).  And this was far and away my busiest day of the year.   Thousands of little ones, with their harassed parents, climbed up inside my Pillar to the viewing platform, from where they had an unrivalled view over the city, and an unmatched closeness to my good self.  Needless to say, most of these families came ‘from the country’ as most Dublin families thought that they could always climb the Pillar some other time – and then that time was no more.  I miss the excitement of those heady days but am glad to have this safe and warm haven in retirement.

I was famous for looking after my sailors and I made sure that they had plenty of Christmas spirit to keep them going the rest of the 364 days.  Rum was their drink of choice but I encouraged them to carry the Christmas spirit in their hearts at all times.   It’s the best bulwark against loneliness and difficulties.  And on that note may I wish you all, my faithful readers, a merry and peaceful Christmas and a bright New Year!

bells  Santy  Holly

About Nelson's Head

The Head from Nelson’s Pillar is on display in the Reading Room of Dublin City Library & Archive.  As Admiral Nelson is a valued member of staff, we have invited him to write his own monthly blog.

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