Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. Apparently just over 1.45 people a day viewed my blog. Warms your cockles, doesn’t it?

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 530 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Filed under Memories

Matilda’s Magic Christmas

Last year I wrote a Christmas verse for my grandchildren, self-published as an illustrated booklet. This year I thought it might be fun to try to turn the verse and pictures into a cartoon video. You can see the result above.

It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this, so it’s something of an experiment. But I hope you enjoy it.

For those interested in the technicalities, I used a combination of PowerPoint, Adobe After Effects, CrazyTalk Pro, CyberLink AudioDirector, and Serif DrawPlus and PhotoPlus, pulling the whole thing together in MoviePlus.

Matilda’s Magic Christmas

Matilda’s a genuine penguin, you know,
Her wings are like flippers and she lives in the snow.
But Matilda’s quite special, shall I tell you why?
One day in each year she’s able to fly.

It happened one Christmas when old Santa’s sledge
Got stuck on an iceberg, high up on a ledge.
‘Twas Matilda who found him, marooned, in despair,
Santa, his sleigh, and some tearful reindeer.

“Can you help us, Matilda, we’re lost and alone.
I’d call the AA, but I’ve forgotten my ‘phone.
We left late last night with a full reindeer flight,
But Rudolph got sick and had to go home.

It was just outside Sheffield he started to cough.
He said that the carrots he’d had for his tea had gone off.
I thought that the others would be quite enough
To get round all the children and drop off their stuff.
How many are left? Well, there’s still quite a few…
Seven million, ten thousand, nine hundred and two.”

Said Matilda, “Oh Santa, I’d love to help out.
If I knew any reindeer, I’d give them a shout.
I would if I could take Rudolph’s place on the sleigh
So you could finish your journey before Christmas Day,
But though I’ve got wings, I can’t fly.”

Then Santa just smiled, and with a gleam in his eye,
Said, “If your heart has wings
There’s no end to the things you can do.”
If Santa says that, thought Matilda, it’s got to be true.
So she wiggled her wings and proudly stepped up to the trace
And at the head of the reindeer there and then took her place.

Santa laughed loud and picked up the rein,
Reindeer and Matilda took up the strain
Like eagles in flight, skyward they came,
As Santa whistled and shouted and called them by name:

“Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen,
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blixen;
Follow Matilda, away through the night!”
And as the stars twinkled down, they were soon out of sight.

Matilda’s the happiest penguin I know,
Though her wings are like flippers and she lives in the snow.
You see, she’s quite special, and now you know why…
At Christmas each year she’s able to fly.

So Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year
When things seem impossible, never despair…
Remember Matilda and be of good cheer,
Close your eyes, make a wish and wiggle one ear.

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Filed under Poems, Stories