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December 29

Saint of the day:

Saint Thomas Becket

Patron Saint of Portsmouth, England & clergy

5th Day of the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord


On the 5th Day of Christmas....
(The five golden rings represented the first five books of the Old Testament,

which describe man's fall into sin and the great love of God in sending a Savior.)

Saint Thomas Becket’s Story

A strong man who wavered for a moment, but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil and so became a strong churchman, a martyr and a saint—that was Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his cathedral on December 29, 1170.

His career had been a stormy one. While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II. When Henry felt it advantageous to make his chancellor the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas gave him fair warning: he might not accept all of Henry’s intrusions into Church affairs. Nevertheless, in 1162 he was made archbishop, resigned his chancellorship, and reformed his whole way of life!

Troubles began. Henry insisted upon usurping Church rights. At one time, supposing some conciliatory action possible, Thomas came close to compromise. He momentarily approved the Constitutions of Clarendon, which would have denied the clergy the right of trial by a Church court and prevented them from making direct appeal to Rome. But Thomas rejected the Constitutions, fled to France for safety and remained in exile for seven years. When he returned to England, he suspected it would mean certain death. Because Thomas refused to remit censures he had placed upon bishops favored by the king, Henry cried out in a rage, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!” Four knights, taking his words as his wish, slew Thomas in the Canterbury cathedral.

Thomas Becket remains a hero-saint down to our own times.





Saint Thomas of Canterbury Roman Catholic Church

59 Burgate

CT1 2HJ, Canterbury, United Kingdom

*A reliquary within the Martyr’s Chapel of this church, located within the right transept, contains three relics of St Thomas Becket. The presence of these relics are partially explained by the following sequence of events. In 1220 AD several cardinals from Rome who were present for the translation of the body of St Thomas Becket from the crypt to the main floor of Canterbury Cathedral took several small relics of St Thomas Becket back to Italy. Upon the destruction of St Thomas Becket’s shrine in 1538 these relics of the saint were preserved. In the past two centuries some of these relics and others from around Europe have been returned to Canterbury. In the 19th century the church received from Gubbio, Italy both a piece of his vestment and a bone from his body. Then in 1953 the Prior of Chevetogne, Father Thomas Becquet, presented to this church a piece of St Thomas Becket’s finger. All three of these relics are now within the Martyr’s Chapel as noted previously.

Watch his movie: 
Holiday Song: Hallelujah Chorus





Crumpet recipe


  • 12 fl oz/350ml semi-skimmed milk, warmed but not boiling

  • 1 lb/450g all purpose or plain flour

  • 1/8 oz/5g yeast

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • 12 fl oz/350ml warm water (approx)

  • 1 tsp Salt

  • 1tsp baking powder

  • Vegetable oil for cooking


  • Note: Give yourself 2 hours to prepare this recipe, otherwise you will not get the results like in the image.

  1. Whisk together the milk, flour, yeast and sugar.

  2. Once combined add half the water and beat into the batter, continue to add more water until the batter is thick and smooth.

  3. Stop adding water once it reaches the consistency of thick cream.

  4. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until foaming - about 1, up to 2 hours.

  5. Whisk the salt and baking powder into the batter then heat a heavy based frying pan on the stove to hot but not smoking.

  6. Dampen kitchen paper with a little oil and grease the base of the pan.

  7. Grease several crumpet (or pastry) ring measuring 3"x 1 " (8 X 3.75cm) approx.

  8. If you dont have any pastry or crumpet rings then use small, washed food cans to the same measurements.

  9. Place one ring in the heated pan, add enough batter to fill just below the top of the ring. Cook for five minutes when there should be many tiny holes on the surface and the crumpet is setting. Flip the crumpet over and cook for another two - three minutes.

  10. Repeat with the remaining batter until used up. Rest the crumpets on a wire rack until cool and reheat in a toaster or under the grill before serving. Serve with lots of butter and/or jam.

  • NOTE: If the batter seeps from under the ring it is too thin, whisk in more flour. If the crumpet is heavy and without holes, the batter is too thick, add more water.

Charles Dickens Punch
The original version of this recipe was written by Charles Dickens (yes, that Charles Dickens) in a letter to a friend. It was later published in the book Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl by David Wondrich (isn't that a fantastic book title, by the way?). The original punch calls for combining sugar and lemon peels to extract the oil from the peels—this is called an olea saccharum. To this you add a substantial amount of rum and brandy and light it on fire. For the punch, after making an oleo saccharum, you add a hefty amount of rum and brandy. Then you add a spoonful of fire. That is, you light a spoonful of the mixture on fire and gently lower it into the rest of the mix. The whole bowl—and by bowl I mean fire-safe container; I recommend a Dutch oven for this part of the process—will flame and catch into a cheerful blaze, which can you use to warm your hands for a couple minutes before extinguishing it by covering the pot with a lid. You finish the punch with water or tea and a squeeze of lemon juice. I've updated the recipe to suit my own tastes a little better—I reduced the amount of sugar, swapped the proportions of rum and brandy, and supplemented the tea with some apple cider. 

  • 1/2 cup sugar or demerera sugar, if you have it

  • The peels (no pith) from three lemons

  • 2 1/4 cups brandy (recommended: Courvoisier VSOP)

  • 1 cup rum (recommended: Smith and Cross)

  • 4 cups brewed strong black tea

  • 2 cups fresh apple cider

  • Citrus wheels and freshly grated nutmeg to garnish

  • A big ice cube or ring for serving in the punch bowl

  1. In an enameled Dutch Oven or heatproof bowl, rub the lemon peels into the sugar with your fingertips. Set this aside for 30-60 minutes to let the sugar leech the citrus oils out of the lemon peel. Juice the lemons and set the juice aside.

  2. Stir the brandy and the rum into the sugar and lemon peel mixture. Using a long-handled metal spoon, scoop up a spoonful of the alcohol. Carefully (CAREFULLY) use a match or lighter to light the spoonful on fire. Then, gently lower this into the rest of the mixture to start the whole bowl on fire. Sit back and enjoy the heat and glow of your fire for one or two minutes, then use a pot lid to cover the fire and put it out.

  3. Take off the lid and pour in the tea, apple cider, and the juice from the three lemons. You can serve the punch hot, but I prefer it cold. To do this, strain it into a punch bowl over a large ice cube. Allow to chill for a few minutes, garnish with lemon and orange wheels and a grating of fresh nutmeg, then serve.

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