Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Trafalgar Tree

I went down to Trafalgar Square after work yesterday to see the Christmas tree, donated every year by Norway to show appreciation to the UK for its support in World War II. It was just lit five days ago and seems a pretty healthy specimen. Hard to believe it was standing in a forest outside Oslo just 19 days ago. I'm sure if it could express itself it would wish to still be there.

That's the National Gallery behind the tree, with a Christmas market laid out in front. (I didn't peruse the market.)

Also in the square is this creche, by sculptor Tomoaki Suzuki. Apparently Suzuki won the commission after the previous manger scene was demolished in 2004 by rowdy rugby fans. According to the Guardian, Suzuki "is not a Christian and had to be told the Nativity story."

Maybe that explains why one of my co-workers described the creche as "bizarre." I don't think I'd go that far, but it's not often you see a reclining Joseph (at right) or baby Jesus so...isolated. Why is everyone so spread out? Is it a Covid Christmas scene? There's also a donkey to the left of Mary that I couldn't even fit into the frame.

Here's a view across the square with the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (which sponsors the manger scene) in the background.

And that was about the only exciting thing I did yesterday. I brought the plants inside in the morning, as I planned, and today I might cover our banana and our tree fern. (Although Dave is pretty blasé about them and thinks they'll be fine unprotected. Our banana has come through past snowy winters but it always looks like hell by the time spring comes.)

Last night I watched most of "Blonde" on Netflix -- it's almost three hours long so I'll have to finish it tonight. It's a very interesting movie, a fictionalized life of Marilyn Monroe based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, with some engrossing camerawork. I've enjoyed it. We also recently watched "The Good Nurse" with Eddie Redmayne, about a nurse who travels from hospital to hospital killing his patients (and based, horrifyingly, on a true story). That was also worth watching, if you're looking for TV tips.

Oh, and thank goodness Warnock won in Georgia! Whew!


River said...

Poor Baby Jesus, perhaps he needs a nappy change and no one wants to get near that smell.
Interesting that your tree comes from Norway.

Andrew said...

It's very sensible to take a photo of the tree at night when it's lit. Remembering last year, it didn't look much in the daylight.

Who is the female figure who may be tied if not nailed in an elevated position looking down on the scene? Is she God? Japanese seem to struggle with Christmas, as I am sure you have seen a photo of Santa nailed to a cross.

crafty cat corner said...

We watched 'The Good Nurse' and thought it was a decent film for a change. We also watched 'Argo' the other night, another good film that we had missed.
As for the Christmas tree, being a tree lover I hate that they are all cut down and then discarded after the event, but that's just me, lol

Moving with Mitchell said...

I’ll start with Warnock. What a relief. There’s been quite a bit of better political news lately.

Thanks for sharing your photos. It all looks grand and festive. As for the creche, it does approach bizarre. It looks like a scene from a sci fi movie (well...). Beautiful figures though.

Ed said...

Live nativity scenes used to be all the range back in the late 80's. I'm sort of glad they have disappeared... or at least I haven't been asked to participate nor have I scene one in many many years.

I don't have a horse in the Georgia fight so never really looked at the candidates issue wise. But I tend to rebel against anyone who used their past celebrity to create political power. Also, although he hasn't been charged or convicted, Walker sounded like he wasn't the "nicest" of people. Warnock, appeared to be a more ethical person. I guess we shall see over the coming six plus years. I pretty much believe the personality type to get elected to national office pretty much assures that there are many proverbial skeletons in the closet.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I am surprised that Suzuki didn't stick a Suzuki motorbike in the nativity scene. Much speedier than a donkey.

The Bug said...

I read someone recently who wondered why Mary is always standing or kneeling in nativity scenes since she'd just recently given birth. Probably because men create them. Ha!

Pixie said...

I don't think I've been to Trafalgar Square but who knows. We wandered around a fair bit but I was with my mum and it was thirty years ago. I don't like how they lit up the tree. It looks like they've strangled the tree with lights, poor thing probably would prefer to be back in it's native forest, alive.

Marcia LaRue said...

Such a tall, slender tree and beautifully decorated!
We have a live nativity display at the Lutheran Church every year!

Mary said...

Trafalgar Square always evokes a lot of memories for me. Love going to the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Around the corner is a great little artist store. And St Martin's in the Field has a good cafe in the basement with reasonable prices for everything from just a coffee/tea to full meals--also nicely atmospheric down there. The church also holds live classical concerts on a regular basis. In fact, tomorrow night (8th), they are hosting the London Gay Men's Chorus singing Christmas songs. A very active community.

Ms. Moon said...

I agree with Pixie on the tree. It doesn't even really look like there's a tree in there!
And to be honest- the creche scene is as accurate as any. We're just so used to the more traditional groupings and arrangements and those are no more true to what a birth scene would look like than that is.

ellen abbott said...

Very strange creche. Weird that they commissioned a non-christian to do it.

I too thought it looked like just strings of lights making the tree shape. It's so tall and skinny. Plus you can sort of see through it at the bottom. Christmas trees all look fake to me now, pruned constantly to make that perfect cone shape.

I think I remember hearing about that nurse. And yes, thank the powers that be that Warnock won.

Sharon said...

Great photos of the Christmas decorations. I love seeing them.
I was at friends house last night watching the Georgia returns and we all let a cheer up when it was called for Warnock. It is good news that he won. However I find it disturbing that 1,719,868 people were okay voting for a representative who lies about everything and can't form a coherent sentence. I know, they also voted for a President like that. It's still mind-boggling.

NewRobin13 said...

Nice to see the holiday lights and displays there. I know nothing about creche. In fact, this may be the first time I've seen that word. Or maybe I've seen it and never even wondered what it meant.
When I saw the news last night that Warnock had won I was so happy and relieved. Yay!

Linda Sue said...

But where are the natives> That scene takes up way too much space for what it is and Yeah, what Bug said!
Nice that you got out after dark to see the shining Norwegian, poor thing. I bought a tree yesterday and felt so sad that it got chopped down, but there it is.
Dodged another bullet , Hershal is a walker- sashay away!

Kelly said...

A Covid Christmas scene! 😂 One of the figures (wise man?) on the left looks like he's about to throw something at the baby Jesus.

Watching Walker on the news, it always appeared to me that he's suffering from whatever that brain damage is that so many pro-football players end up with. And he was always sweating! Eww.

Jim Davis said...

I'm with you on the tree, much better to have left it where it was growing. Huge sigh of relief on Rev. Warnock's win. But I will forever remain horrified that it was that close.

Colette said...

I'm SO happy that Rev. Warnock won! And, that is a strange creche.

Jeanie said...

I have Blonde on my watch list but haven't got around to it yet.

It's a gorgeous tree and I loved the photo with St. Martin's in the background in it but you're right about that manger scene. I love the Covid idea! I'm surprised someone hasn't slipped out under the cover of darkness and moved the family a little closer together. That's super weird. I suppose Joseph is just tired after that long donkey ride but what about the woman who just was in labor? Maybe Joe had sympathy pains...

James and Brigitta said...

Like others I just can't understand why Georgia was this close again? I expected by the huge turn-out that people were horrified it came so close the first time and wanted to make sure it didn't happen again ..
London during Christmas-time, it's on my bucket-list.

Margaret said...

That's a beautiful tree, but the creche is certainly unusual. Avant-garde!

Boud said...

Great relief in Georgia. Such an insult to the Black population to put up a totally unqualified candidate because they'd simply vote Black. Not when there was a hugely qualified and successful incumbent, also Black. Poor Walker, really didn't understand how he'd been used.

I wish they'd stop cutting trees. A flagpole with strings of lights in the same shape would be fine.

Jennifer said...

I don't think the word "bizarre" is going too far! I laughed at the reclining Joseph...if anyone should have been having a lie-down, it should have been Mary, since she was the one who just gave birth.

And yes, SO happy about the Warnock win!

Red said...

There are some very creative people when it comes to Christmas decorations.

Angelicastar said...

Hi Steve, Olga and Dave. I said hooray!!!!when i heard Warnock had one. One must remember that blacks didn't put Hershey walker to run for senate nor did they help put Donald Trump in the whitehouse. I am so sorry Herschel walker was used by the Republicans just to fill a seat for them and not what they thought he could do for the country. After Pulling his badge out at a debate I saw him holding a football at one of his rallies. We all know Donald Trump didn't win his first term but he had Russia to cyber the electoral votes.He tried to replace the real electors with fake one this time but it didn't work because he was being watched. They used Herschel walker the same as they did Kanye West when he was trying to be President. Trump supported him to do that so some of the black or rather minority votes will be taken away from Joe Biden. So this is also the story behind the candidate Herschel walker. Minorities might be poor financially but not dumb in the head. Most voted for Herschel was white republicans. But it wasn't enough. The good and educated people are tired of natural bullshit being elected to office and all they are occupying is a seat.

Steve Reed said...

River: It seems silly to bring a tree from so far away, but I'm not sure England has any forests with conifers of that size.

Andrew: I'm assuming she's an angel, but it's interesting that she has a pink dress. It's not often you see an angel in pink!

Briony: When I was watching "The Good Nurse," I thought how scary it would be to anyone going through a medical crisis. So it's interesting that you liked it! I saw "Argo" in the theater and liked it a lot.

Mitchell: Yes, Trump is not having many good days lately!

Ed: I'm not sure I've ever seen a live nativity scene. If I did, I've forgotten it! I think Walker proved himself an unsuitable candidate in many, many ways.

YP: Or a violin lesson!

Bug: Well, as Jennifer noted, it IS funny that Mary is kneeling while Joseph is lying down! Like HE did anything!

Pixie: Trafalgar's main feature is Nelson's column, which I didn't even include in these pictures. If you saw the column you might remember it.

Marcia: They're definitely going for height, aren't they?!

Mary: You know, I've never been inside St. Martin's, even to the cafe. I should check it out!

Ms Moon: I'm sure the real birth (assuming there was one) would have been much dirtier than anything we depict on Christmas!

Ellen: These Norway trees tend not to be very dense so I suppose decorating them with traditional, circumferential lights would not only be tedious but sparse-looking.

Sharon: It IS astonishing how many people went for Walker. They literally are in an alternative universe.

Robin: It's interesting how many different words are used to describe these nativity scenes. "Creche" is the one I learned, but some people say "manger scene" or "crib." Funnily enough, "creche" is also used in the UK to mean a baby nursery.

Linda Sue: I know! Why is the platform so big and the characters so comparatively small?

Kelly: Ha! That guy DOES look like he's about to stone Jesus. That's a good point about the head injuries -- I didn't even think of that but it would explain a lot.

Jim: It IS astonishing that so many people supported Walker. I don't get it.

Colette: Isn't it?!

Jeanie: Maybe he's paralyzed by fear or grief at the idea of having to raise the son of God?!

James and Brigitta: I know! Then again, though, compared to some other recent races, it wasn't THAT close. And Georgia has so often been a red state in the past.

Margaret: That's putting it kindly! :D

Boud: I'm surprised Norway still does it, to be honest. Those trees have to be old and the world has changed so much since the tradition began 75 years ago. I was encouraged that people didn't just go for name recognition with Herschel.

Jennifer: That's what we said! Why is HE lying down?!

Red: That's for sure -- for better or worse!

Angelicastar: You're right -- having Herschel run was insulting both to him and to the people of Georgia. I actually feel bad for him. He was so out of his element.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I will never tire if seeing Christmas lights, so thanks for these views, Steve. Years ago, my hometown in NJ was always sell decorated with several department stores joining in by decorating the entire store interiors. Sadly, thise days are long gone.