Posted in Ivan's Adventures

Festive Felicitations From a Fire-breathing Flyer!

I knew having a dragon co-host was going to pay off in a good title one day…

So, one thing you all need to know about Ivan, our favourite tiny dragon, is that he loves Christmas. Loves it! I, personally, suspect that this is because it’s the one time of the year that the house is a sparkly as he is.

Any more sparkly, Ivan, and we can just use you as the tinsel!
Look at him! How can anything wrapped in tinsel look this pathetic?

Of course, when you are as tiny as our Ivan, actually decorating for Christmas is a little tricky. He tries hard, of course, but even the simplest things can be fraught with potential disaster.

I mean, look at the mess he managed to himself into here! It’s very hard to untangle a tiny forlorn-looking dragon when you’re laughing yourself sick at the same time! And of course he never stays still either, he’s like a cat that way.

It’s no good you looking at me like that, young dragon! You got yourself into this mess!

No scratching of fire though, which is a relief! The whole house would have looked like a badly-judged lighting of the Blue Peter Advent Wreath otherwise!

Well, having rescued the dragon from an excess of sparkle, something which I did not expect to ever write, we turned (which some trepidation on my end) to the matter of the Christmas tree, and the real topic of this post.

Much like we discovered at Easter, there is a sad lack of Christmas dragons, despite the clear and obvious link of the abundance of treasure available, and the many things that are set on fire around the place at this festive season: puddings, candles, log fires all being on the approved list.

Yes, Ivan you are absolutely enough of a star to sit on the tree!

Now, Ivan had been looking forward to doing the tree, as he had been hoping to light all the candles himself. Naturally, I explained that we did away with candles on the Christmas tree years ago, what with the significant risk of setting the room on fire. I happen to be very fond of this house, it would be a shame if it went up in smoke!

Thus, we now use fairy lights, like sane people.

Ivan briefly cheered up at the notion that I had somehow contracted a fleet of fairies to sit on my tree for the duration of Christmas, but then out came the electrics!

Still I looked into the invention of the humble fairy light, and I am happy to say that fairies do actually play and important part!

Now, in 1882 on 22nd December, a chap called Edward H. Johnson – a chum of Thomas Edison – stuck a whole load of tiny red, white and blue light bulbs “the size of walnuts” on a Christmas tree as an advertisement of the Edison Electric Light Company. Hilariously, this was so weird and innovative, the newspapers refused to report on it locally! Fortunately, it was published by a Detroit newspaper reporter, and Johnson went on to become widely regarded as the Father of Electric Christmas Tree Lights.

She doesn’t entirely fit into the frame, but I think the fairy on the top of the tree is actually bigger than the dragon…

However, this is not actually the beginning of the fairy light at all! Over the pond in the UK, a year earlier in November 1881 the British inventor of the electric light bulb, Sir Joseph Swan, was commissioned by the Savoy Theatre to help them make little lights for the fairies to wear in their production of  the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Iolanthe.

According to a review written of the performance, the girls wore the lights in their hair and powered them by battery packs which they carried on their belts so they were all mobile and sparkly. This is why the strings of tiny lights were called fairy lights, as they were always associated with the little magical critters.

Fun Christmas Fact: The Savoy Theatre was the first public building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity, fitted out with 1,200 incandescent light bulbs, instead of gas or candles! Yes, you can pull that one out in a lull in conversation over Christmas dinner!

Right, I’m off to dissuade a tiny dragon from lying in wait for Santa. I think he’s hoping to make a friend out of Rudolf, and I’d hate for him to cause a delay in a busy man’s schedule! Either that or he’ll be filching the mince pies again…

Merry Christmas to you all! See you in the New Year!


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Posted in Ghosts & Gowns, Short Stories

The Ghost in the Machine

It was said in the old days that evil spirits couldn’t walk the earth on Christmas Eve. I suppose that the coming of Jesus was such a holy time that no evil could stand it. Regardless, this gave rise to the tradition that Christmas Eve night was the time to tell your friends and family your very scariest ghost stories, and still go to bed safe in the knowledge that all the terrifying ghosts and ghouls you’d been talking about couldn’t get you this night.

Continue reading “The Ghost in the Machine”