December 24, 2010

Richard Armitage Christmas Greeting to Supporters Everywhere(sincere thanks to Annette for hosting it-link below) + Wassail Origins + New Christmas Vid by Phylly3 + An RA Holiday by elvirasweeney

24th December 2010

Dear One and All,

Its that time again, time to get together, eat drink and be merry. 'WASSAIL'. I will be doing quite a lot of wassailing in the next 48 hours make no mistake. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you again for all your support this year, for the kind gifts and kind words which have been bestowed on me. Thank you also for all your generous donations placed on 'just', over the four charities; Childline, Barnardos, Shelter and The Salvation Army you have donated over £8000, and in a year when we are all tightening our belts, thats pretty amazing.

I haven't been as attentive as I would like this year, either on line, by letter or in person; but in a zeigeist of information overload, I am enjoying the silence, and as Oscar Wilde once pointed out:

"I am but too conscious of the fact that we are born in an age when only the dull are treated seriously, and I live in terror of not being misunderstood"

So in a brief moment of terror I succomb, to wish everyone a really thoroughly Merry Christmas. 2010 has been a challenge and next 365 days look like another 'mountain' to climb. I know I say it every Dec 24th, but please 'take a little and give a lot', and resolve to do it better next year, you know I don't just mean Christmas.

Thanks to Annette for sharing this message on her wonderful site. Thank you to all the other who work so hard on their site's all over the world. This is for all of you.

Have a wonderful Christmas, holiday or whatever you are celebrating and Love and luck for 2011....yikes!


PS. I apologise in advance for next year as there may be a slight delay with the return of signed photos and thank you notes; as I may be spending some time on the other side of the planet, possibly wearing a beard.

Post from 09 Christmas season:  Who will you kiss under the mistletoe?

Wassail research..say that 5Xs really rapidly:)  Sort of like Bugs Bunny's nemesis Elmer Fudd (who has an adorable lisp) saying "you wascally wabbit."

Anyhoo, holiday schedule change #100 = guests will not be arriving 'til the morrow...wassail research is making me wax poetic;)  (We're finally getting to enjoy all the Christmas Eve shows that we've missed every other year, since it's usually our time for wassailing.) 

Wikipedia's take on the origins of the word and tradition..
You can blame Sue for awakening this wassail curiosity :) she commented that there was an orchard wassail tradition of which I'd never heard one iota. (need to look up origins of that strange word next;) [Update: Definition of IOTA

1: the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet
2: an infinitesimal amount : jot
 Origin:  Latin, from Greek iōta, of Semitic origin]

Continued from original remarks:   I do believe we should designate Sue as the RA universe's official orchard wassail queen(see below).  She did mention a particular fondness for holiday cider - will approach her to learn if she's willing to accept the title:) Believe we know who she'd ask to be her king..don't we?
In a comment below I'd groped around for lyrics from the only Christmas carol I can recall that mentions wassail--drew a few blanks but the first search result came to the rescue...

From Wikipedia:  >The practice has its roots in the middle ages as a reciprocal exchange between the feudal lords and their peasants as a form of recipient initiated charitable giving, to be distinguished from begging. This point is made in the song "Here We Come A-Wassailing", when the wassailers inform the lord of the house that
"we are not daily beggars that beg from door to door but we are friendly neighbours whom you have seen before."
The lord of the manor would give food and drink to the peasants in exchange for their blessing and goodwill, i.e...

"Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you
a Happy New Year"

... which would be given in the form of the song being sung. Wassailing is the background practice against which an English carol such as "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" dating back to sixteenth century England, can be made sense of.[3] The carol lies in the English tradition where wealthy people of the community gave Christmas treats to the carolers on Christmas Eve such as 'figgy puddings'.[4]

Although wassailing is often described in innocuous and sometimes nostalgic terms, the practice in England has not always been considered so innocent. Wassailing was associated with rowdy bands of young men who would enter the homes of wealthy neighbours and demand free food and drink in a trick-or-treat fashion. If the householder refused, he was usually cursed, and occasionally his house was vandalized. The example of the exchange is seen in their demand for "figgy pudding" and "good cheer", i.e., the wassail beverage, without which the wassailers in the song will not leave; "We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here."[4]

 The Orchard-Visiting Wassail  -  In the cider-producing West of England (primarily the counties of Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire) wassailing also refers to drinking (and singing) the health of trees in the hopes that they might better thrive.

An old rhyme goes: “Wassaile the trees, that they may beare / You many a Plum and many a Peare: / For more or lesse fruits they will bring, / As you do give them Wassailing.”

The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn.{"England In Particular", Common Ground 2007} The ceremonies of each wassail vary from village to village but they generally all have the same core elements. A wassail King and Queen lead the song and/or a processional tune to be played/sung from one orchard to the next, the wassail Queen will then be lifted up into the boughs of the tree where she will place toast soaked in Wassail from the Clayen Cup as a gift to the tree spirits (and to show the fruits created the previous year)<

Christmas treat 'I Wish You Love' to RA fans by ThePhylly3..


Musa said...

A very Merry Christmas RicRAr to you and your family!
It was a wonderful day for me when I found your fabulous blog and I've enjoyed so much sharing RA love and GoT and all else with you this year. All the best for the New Year! Think Stannis-LOL

To Richard Armitage, what can I say. If you read this, I truly found you 100% at a difficult time for me and you have brought me joy and forgetting. Now with your wonderful Christmas message I know it is a privilege and honor to be your fan (we need a new word or a new definition!).
Merry Christmas to all who love RA!

Ricrar said...

ahhhh, Musa, your kind words have brought tears to my eyes. I'll not only second your recommendation of Richard as Stannis, but also the warm sentiment reflected in your moving message to him.

Know we're both expecting guests, but want to wish you the merriest Christmas possible while there are still a few quiet moments to do so:)

A sincere thanks for all your thoughtful & interesting blog comments during the year. Hope I've made it clear that they are always sincerely appreciated.

Warm virtual hug to you & yours,

Ricrar said...

YooHoo! Sue:) While checking the index of comments to delete spam (you would not believe some of them) found the message from you earlier today with a heads up that Richard's message had been delivered -- Thank You so much! You are a peach(meant in an RA fan's strongest sense of the word...well, maybe not quite the same context haha. I'm certain you know what I mean;)

Enjoy your cider wassail - it sounds like something that will warm your innards on a cold winter day.

I've always thought of wassailing as Christmas carolers going from home to home singing - then drinking the hot spiced wine offered by their grateful neighbors.

You're the expert - always thought of it as an English tradition. The one specific time an American hears that word is while listening annually to the carol.."here we go awaisalling among the dum de dum so green" it obvious I don't really know the lyrics to that one;)

Ricrar said...

p.s. Thanks as well Sue for your blog comments during the year. I know Musa would agree with me that it's great to have someone on the ground in Richard country - to give us a first hand report on 'all things Armitage';)

Hope you won't be a stranger as we approach the new year and look forward with excitement to all the new RA adventures.

Merry Christmas with *hugs* for you and yours

Anonymous said...

Hope you had a Merry Christmas RiCrAR!

Thanks for the explanation from Wikipedia, 'We wish you a Merry Xmas' does make (more) sense now.

I found funny you used 'I'd never heard one iota', we use a similar expression in spanish (at least in Peru), the literal translation of our saying would be 'I don't understand one iota'

OML :)

Anonymous said...

He was totally wassailing already when he wrote that message. ha ha, love that guy. He is awesome. Cheers, Richard!


Ricrar said...

Very happy you enjoyed the wassail research OML:)

Don't know why I'd taken it for granted that you were in Spain and now learn you're on the same continent as me. That's neat!

Yes, some Americans do use the word iota, but I'd never looked up the origins before. Guess I didn't care one iota about it in the past:) It's not only a strange looking word but sounding as well, isn't it.

Ricrar said...


I was tempted to correct at least one spelling mistake in Richard's message, but then decided the li'l mistake probably reflects the fact he typed it up himself(although that might be naive of me to think so:)

It just seems that if he asked an aide to take care of the message, that person would have proof read more carefully. It's endearing to think of RA sitting at his computer thoughtfully composing the message for all of us.

How many of today's entertainers take the time to acknowledge and thank their fans for their support -- if there are any, I've never heard of them.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I live in Spain but I'm Peruavian. I wrote 'in Peru' because so far I haven't heard anyone say it, while back home it's not so uncommon.

I think he might have send it to someone from his team and then it's been emailed to Annette. It is endearing though, to picture him in front of his laptop writing it and emailing it himself.

I can think of a couple of 'stars' that have written messages to their fans through their official webpage (before Twitter). Besides that I think the Richard's initiative to write us a message is indeed unique.

OML :)

Sue said...


I was thrilled to discover that Richard had left a Christmas message (it's becoming a British tradition, a bit like listening to the Queen's speech on Christmas day!). He's a doll!

I'm impressed by your research into wassailing and I certainly wouldn't mind Richard being my wassailing King, to my Queen, there's nothing like a bit of cross-pollination to improve fertility!

My family over in Australia regularly go on skiing holidays to New Zealand, so I'm betting Richard might just go off piste now and again!

Ricrar said...

There's skiing in NZ? - that's a surprise - thought the climate was similar to Aus. Well then, we know there might be an exhausted dwarf ready to grab some R&R on the slopes whenever filming schedule allows.

Sue, Queen of the Wassail -- has a ring to it:) Those wine-soaked pieces of toast might not make it to the tree branches. haha *remember to share*

Sue said...

One of the reasons my folks go on skiing holidays in New Zealand is to get away from the awful heat (they are Brits after all). See the link below for more info:

I've no idea where The Hobbit is being filmed, but I think the producers may not like the idea of Richard breaking a leg (or anything else) while he's filming Thorin.(I second that, although I'll always volunteer to rub it better for him!)

Sue said...


Almost forgot, there's a British actor called Luke Roberts who I think looks a bit like Richard (a poor man's substitute perhaps). He also trained at LAMDA like Richard, although he's a good few years younger.

What do you think?

If you look at the gallery on the website, under "other" there are some quite interesting pics!I know I've a one track mind, and it's a dirt track I'm afraid!

Ricrar said...

..a dirt track..teehee. No, Sue it's a loving, human track. If it wasn't for such thoughts, the human population would've tapered off many moons ago:)

Thx for the links, I'll check them out and file a report back here.

As for Richard skiing - didn't he say he took short ski breaks while filming Spooks? Although, you're right about The Hobbit - a huge amount will be bankrolling that film, so possibly the actors are required to sign contracts for insurance purposes to protect the investors.

Ricrar said...

Enjoyed the photos of Luke at that site, Sue. There were maybe 4-5 where his eyes reminded me of RA expressions. I watched him in a Holby City excerpt--poor man had a terrible time fighting off 2 very aggressive women. Tough job but someone has to do it:)

Saw the hottie pix you referred to, but the waxman did not cometh so found that to be a disappointment--me like clear view of the manly muscles. Find chesthair is a turnoff...wonder why that could be;)

Luke has cute dimples(facial:) and he has a charming way about him in the morning interview. See it and a couple pics in the latest post.

Thanks for the idea for a poll. All suggestions are welcome during this Richard drought. Hope there will be many eyes on the ground once TH begins filming in Feb. We'll really need an RA fix by then, won't we;)

Will hit the NZ ski slopes next...hmmmm, how can we fit that one into a poll?...*scratching her head*