Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's your fave Betty Christmas?

Christmas is coming...

So I thought it might be fun to nominate our favorite Christmas scenes from Betty’s oeuvre.   You know, like in Winter Wedding, when Emily sits around her miserable cottage and makes paper chains to ensure that the twins will have a proper holiday, and then gets the best Christmas surprise ever when sis and bro-in-law return to take back their babies and promise her a marvelous reward.  (Seriously, I would love to know what they shoved under the tree for Emily that year – fan fiction, anyone?)

If you’ll respond with a favorite or two in the comments section – perhaps the scene where Theodosia and Hugo go shopping at Fortnum’s with her great-aunt’s list of hams and cakes and cheeses required for Christmas dinner – I’ll take the top nominees and create a survey monkey or something.

Then we can vote for this year’s #1 favorite.  I wonder if it might be the van den Berg Eyffert’s Christmas of 1970, all balanced on Cornelius’s bed and hiding their preparations from Julius.

I realize it’s a bit early for this, but I’m going to offer you two weeks or so to sort about for your nominee scenes, such as Mary Jane’s nimble fingers constructing pincushions and toy mice from the old velvets and taffetas she drags from the attic, in hope of earning a few extra shillings at the festive season.

Lurkers, please do come forth in as much anonymity as you choose – this posting was inspired by an anonymous comment of a few weeks back, so you know you can make a difference.   And I shall look forward to hearing from all our regulars, too, as Christmas comes closer.


  1. Good idea. Good thing you gave us "two weeks or so". The Christmas stories are easy to find, finding the Christmas scenes in the other books however... Good thing I'll have a few days off from work next week.
    I cannot see the Christmas Is Coming video in my country. Sniff. But I saw B v S and Betty Debbie and the Betty from Munguía (you know, the place in the Basque country mentioned in Saturday's Child). And just now I could see either Army Betty or the Betty who always gets to the library before Army Betty.
    The Christmas Lights 2012 in Oxford Street, London, are on. And this year's sponsor... Merry Christmas from Marmite.

    1. MARMITE!! Yesterday my British Army neighbor brought over some Marmite on bread and butter cut paper thin as only a proper British Army wife can cut for elevenses. Oh my stars, what a vile concoction! I had no idea it was virtually the same thing as Vegemite, which I learned to avoid after briefly sharing quarters with an Aussie in Bosnia.

      I managed to choke one slice down (thank heavens they were small) without gagging. Thank the good lord elevenses are so brief.

      Fortunately, my beagle was happy to dispose of the leftovers.

    2. It's an acquired taste. It's quite tasty, actually - in small doses. You are not supposed to eat much of it anyway so as not to OD on the vitamins.

    3. I bought a jar at World Market two weeks ago, and I have yet to summon the courage to try a bit on toast. I've opened the jar twice, taken a sniff, and put it back. I will eventually take the plunge. Maybe.

      Horlicks, on the other hand, is not half bad. On nights when the insomnia takes over, I drink a cup then go to bed to read. I think it helps a bit. I thank the Betty books for that.

      I've become quite addicted to the McVitie's Digest Biscuits. :) I should never have looked at the British food section.

      Betty AnoninTX

    4. Digestive....... Betty AnoninTX who can't type

    5. I adore Marmite - when I was a kid, you could get McVitie's Mini Cheddars cheese biscuits that had been flavoured with Marmite, and they were my favourite lunchbox snack! Funnily enough, though, I loathe Horlicks. Foul stuff. The chocolate one isn't so bad, but plain Horlicks is not great!

      If you end up lumped with a jar of Marmite that you find inedible, you could always use it in your cooking. It's great in stews and pies - especially shepherd's pie or cottage pie - and it's pretty good in bolognese sauces, too. Just adds a nice salty depth, like Bovril or gravy granules, I suppose.

      If, however, you like it, please allow me to recommend two things: Marmite with crumpets (and butter, obviously); and beans on cheese and Marmite toast. The beans have to be Heinz, of course. It just gives the cheese and the beans a lovely kick. It's great!

      Uh, and back to topic: my favourite Christmassy bit is in Caroline's Waterloo - specifically when Radinck gets home to hear Caro rehearsing her choir, and then goes out and back whence he came before phoning home to warn of his early arrival. I thought that was adorable!

      Betty Rhiannon in Gloucester

    6. Betty AnoninTX, for your very first taste of Marmite I suggest you spread no more than 1/8 teaspoon on your lavishly buttered toast. Enjoy.

  2. I don't need two weeks. How can anything top Georgina's Christmas in Damsel in Green? Yes, there's the regrettable and really silly plot device where Georgina puts on her mother's ring, but at least that farce doesn't last long.

    There's none of the uncertainty about "what this means" as brides of convenience receive family jewels for Christmas and offer calendars and picture frames and silver mice in return. A refreshingly straightforward Christmas, heavily populated by children.

    And Georgina even gets to visit Great Aunt Polly and deliver fine champagne from her RDD.

    Lots to love there!

    1. You haven't gotten to A Girl to Love yet, have you?

    2. Alas, I have not. It is on my Christmas list for Santa (read: the other luitenant-kolonel in the household), as is Caroline's Waterloo.

      I have read Winter Wedding, and all of the books with Christmas in the title, none of those can hold a candle to Damsel in Green.

    3. I also love Damsel in Green. Just have to say though that our brides of convenience don't get all the family jewels they would like until after the last page!

  3. Hi all! I would nominate the scene from Caroline's Waterloo wherein Caro (it is Caro, isn't it?) teaches the entire staff Christmas carols in order to please His Duch Doctorness. :-)
    And yep... I've become a lurker, mostly becuase I don't get over here as often as I'd like to. Work has been overwhelming lately, but things are calming down now.
    Betty Cyndi

  4. Hello, I didn't know where to put my first comment so I thought I'd start here. I found this blog when googling for info on Betty Neels. I have been ordering the new releases from Chapters for years and it seems that no new (to me) titles will be available in the new year!

    I started reading from the beginning of the entries, working forward, and have reached March 2010. I felt like a voyeur, (which sounds slightly more interesting than a "lurker"), so I thought I'd better check in and say "Hello".

    You Bettys are crazy, (which I mean in a good way). May I suggest a warning button at the top: "Drink tea while reading this blog at your own peril."

    1. Welcome, Betty Mary Lou! How did you discover Betty Neels?

    2. Thanks for the welcome, Betty van den Betsy.

      I bought my first Betty, The Daughter of the Manor, from the drug store when I was sick with a horrible cold.

      It wasn't until a few years later that I discovered another one. At first, I just read them, then I became obsessed with cataloguing certain details. I now have an Excel spreadsheet that keeps track of the following information:

      - book title, year of publication
      - heroine's and hero's names
      - her occupation
      - his occupation
      - was he Dutch? A doctor? A Jonkheer? etc

      There is one little bit of information I must confess up front: I have not kept any of my Bettys. Please don't judge me: I have no room for them. I live in a condo that would make a Neels heroine, (the ones who live in bedsits) feel sorry for me.

    3. If you have not kept any of them, how can you re-read them, let alone re-re-re-re-re-read them? Got a Kindle? No? - Get a Kindle.

    4. In Europe & the UK: The complete collection, Book 1 through 134, for Kindle!!!
      In the United States: 92 new releases for Kindle in 2012!!! on

      The Mills & Boon Betty Neels Collection on, Sister Peters in Amsterdam Book 1 – An Ordinary Girl Book 134.


      Betty Neels eBooks on

      I don't have a Kindle. I have the books.
      Betty van den Green Complexion Anonymous

    5. Welcome, Betty Mary Lou! I think I gave my first five or six Betty books to my local Friends of the Library group. I read them, loved them, but thought I probably would not re-read them. What was I thinking??? Then I had to buy them again. ha

      I vote for the Kindle also. I would admit the following fact/s only to the Bettys here. I own all the books in paperback. I have all the available books on my Kindle also. I have 59 large print copies, too, that I bought for Betty AnoninNM. I'm taking her a stack of 17 "new" ones on Thanksgiving. She's so darn cute. She officially turned 89 several weeks ago. She's reading The Magic of Living right now. I found her a like new copy of A Girl to Love! (squee) I'll tell her to read that first in the new stack. It's a constant search for those.

      Betty AnoninTX

    6. OK. I just became very excited then crashed and burned. Fate Is Remarkable, An Ordinary Girl, A Christmas Romance... all available on the Amazon UK??!! Wow! Let me buy them now! Oh, UK customers only. Not US. Not me. Throwing myself down on the floor and having a tantrum. NOT FAIR! Waaah!

      Betty AnoninTX

    7. I will have to seriously consider getting a kindle. Maybe a present for myself for Christmas. I hadn't thought of rereading them (until I found this blog) because I hadn't read all of them.

      I wanted to post a link to an article I read online this week. However, as I don't know if there are rules about newbies posting, (in case you think I am a robot or a very talented monkey with a laptop) I will just suggest that you google:

      Telegraph Britain's longest serving nurse

      The article, in The Telegraph, is about a woman who began nursing in the UK in 1956. It immediately reminded me of Betty.

      Note: the search brings up lots of similar hits. The one posted on Nov. 14 is a more complete article and also has a video.

    8. Thank you, Betty Mary Lou! Great article. Very Betty elements in it! It would have been OK for you to put the link in. Here is the link. Britain's longest-serving nurse hangs up her uniform
      And it is blue!

      We never needed notebooks in those days, we used to write everything on the underside of the hem.

  5. While I love Damsel in Green with all of the preparations for Christmas and a big loving family, I think A Christmas Romance wins by a narrow margin - partly because it's a nice quick read. I don't have my copy around (Betty Marcy & Betty Iris still have a bunch of my Neels), but I'm really wishing I did right now!

  6. I don't have to think. I absolutely love A Christmas Romance. I love Theodosia. I love how she keeps a great attitude even with her hardscrabble life. I love Hugo and how he gradually realizes he can't live without Theodosia. The scene where he's stuck in traffic and sees her shopping for a dress in the Oxfam store always makes me tear up a bit. And I love the ending. How hateful of those aunts to un-invite Theodosia! But she buys those cheap little decorations and a Christmas pudding so that she can make the best of it. There she is, all scrubbed up and in her bathrobe, when Hugo comes to see her. "I love you and there will be no reason for anything I do unless you are with me." Melts my heart every time. Just love that book.

    Second choice for me is The Mistletoe Kiss. The scene where Ruerd kisses Emmy under the mistletoe... wowzers. (True story: during the first kiss with the PRT, my cat threw up a hairball! hahaha I had to stop the smooch to clean up the hairball. He married me anyway. It set the stage for life with me. We still laugh about it.)

    Betty AnoninTX

  7. I have to agree with Army Betty. I live downunder but I must be the only one who hates Vegemite. It is an acquired taste but its a yeast extract. When I arrived here as a migrant 50+ years ago I saw someone eating it on their sandwich thinking if was chocolate paste, because that's what we ate in Holland, but oh my, when I opened my lunch bag, yuck, what a shock, thus its not my favourite breakfast spread.

    1. Reminds me of my first (and last) taste of kelp. A friend of the family I staid with was from the Maritimes and had been there on vacation with her husband. They brought back several lobsters for a merry little feast and also gave us some kelp to taste. Apparently, it is considered a treat in the Maritimes...
      Speaking of lobsters, I am watching a movie (Rosamunde Pilcher) and the housekeeper is putting two of the beasts into the pot! But wait, there is more. She is slicing spring onions when along comes the master of the manor (beautiful location), recently returned from America, by the way, after 20 years, to take over his inheritance, in a white dinner jacket and he holds out his wrists - for her to put in his cufflinks. Which she does. With her smelly spring onion-y hands. Ha ha!

  8. How can you forget Sadie from A Girl to Love. It's without a doubt my favorite Betty Neels. Remember how Sadie puts the amber silk dress on the hanger so she can just look at it.

    1. Awww Bettie Patti,

      Finally a Betty who loves My Sadie!!!!

      I was so in awe of Miss Sadie when I first read her and re-read her over and over and over because of her willingness to work so hard.

      She is a wonderful inspiration to me when I feel too indolent to get up at 6 every moring to light all the fires and the boiler and make tea and porridge from scratch!


      Betty Francesca

    2. I have not quite decided yet, but at the moment Sadie's story is my top favourite. I think it has to be the Christmas-iest Neels of all.
      Buying dolls for the little girls (before she has even met them).
      Making clothes for the dolls.
      Making old-fashioned paper chains. (Oliver making a botch of them.)
      Carol singers, mince pies, Christmas cards.
      Putting up decorations.
      Everyone crowding on Sadie's bed to open their presents.
      Sadie shedding tears of joy over her gift from Oliver.
      Church in the morning.
      Christmas turkey, puddings, cracked nuts.
      Asking people over for drinks on Boxing Day.
      Betty A. feeling very Christmas-y craving a nice bowl of porridge - yum. Thank you Betty Francesca!

    3. Et tu? Betty Annoymous?



    4. Last night I could just taste it - right now I am tasting it, that nice bowl of porridge. Yum! So thank you again, Betty Francesca.

      Sadie retired to the kitchen, made the coffee and took it in with a bowl of porridge. 'I never eat the stuff,' declared Mr Trentham, and then at the sight of her downcast face: 'Oh, all right, I'll try it.' She had the satisfaction of seeing a bowl scraped.

      'Would you like to put some milk in Tom's saucer?' asked Sadie. 'It's under the table there, so he can have his milk first and then a little bowl of porridge. Do you like porridge?' They looked blank. 'It's nice,' she went on, 'we have it every morning with lots of sugar and milk, and do you like bacon?'

      As to being called Betty Annoymous (Freudian slip?), ha ha ha, I guess I can be annoying sometimes.

  9. I still cannot see the recent comments. Is it just me?

  10. I couldn't see them when logged in on Chrome. Switched to Firefox and all is well. Not sure whether just closing and reopening the browser would have been sufficient or if the browser switch was what fixed it....

    1. My browser was Firefox. Tried InternetExplorer, my dad's computer (newest Firefox version), Google Chrome. All to no avail. I cannot see the recent comments. sniff From now on I will miss all comments to older posts. sniff
      Betty A. rushing off so her tears won't fall onto the keyboard. I wish I had your third-grader here to fix the problem. sniff

    2. Now I can't see them in either Firefox or Chrome, about to try Safari. Will put my third grader on to it right after school. Usually her first question is "have you updated your browser", so I'll check for system upgrades first.

    3. My dad has the latest Firefox version, recently updated. I googled the "Unable to retrieve spec" bit. This seems to be a universal problem.

      Gadget van Recent Posts geeft melding 'Unable to retrieve spec for HTTP error 403

      No aparecen comentarios...

      Не работает виджет...

    4. Betty Anonymous:
      I happen to have a big brother who is a software engineering professor.

      He referred me to this standard answer from Blogger:
      (start quote)
      Many blog owners, using a "Recent Comments" or similar gadget in their blog, are observing that the gadget is not currently working. Other blog owners may find their blogs mysteriously redirecting - or requesting authentication, to continue.

      In some cases, the problem involves user contributed gadgets, hosted in "googlecode . com". We've asked Blogger Support to find out if the unavailability of the user contributed programme libraries involve action by Blogger / Google - or by the contributor / owner of the non Blogger code.

      Some people have reported that referencing the broken gadgets produces advice from Blogger, simply that they should remove the gadgets. It's possible that this constitutes final advice from Blogger.

      If the gadget now missing from your blog was "Recent Comments" or "Recent Posts", consider replacing that with the Blogger supplied "Feed" gadget - properly setup. Avoid uncertainty, from use of third party gadgets, when possible.
      (end quote)

      My brother assigned some of his computer forensics students to find the break. It seems the free gadget used by the vast majority of bloggers included some code incompatible with the most recent update to Blogger software. Blogger and Google don't always move in the same direction, and as Google becomes more massive, they care less about playing nicely with other software providers. This is my brother's layperson translation of the incomprehensible babble he spouted at first, which he says is "accurate enough for non-programmers".

      In short, the simplest fix is for the Fabulous Founding Bettys to replace the existing gadget with the Blogger Feed gadget. My brother's students (grad students) still haven't been able to create a patch to make the old gadget work, and even if they did, it would only work until the next software update.

  11. Hm. Another of my comments wiped out? And I have not saved it. Rats. Wonder if it will reappear later on.
    Thank you, Army Betty, for the information.
    Google had been busy again. Today, with my old Firefox browser, I could only read Goog when the page opened. Now I have Firefox 17, didn't even know the version was out yet. Google looks normal again. I have noticed the first changes. Marking text on some pages is now a fiddly business...

    A third-grader who can fix your everyday problems and a big brother who is a software engineering professor. WOW. I am impressed. And you are doubly blessed.

    1. Something for which I am eternally grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. I am adding When Two Paths Meet to the contenders' list.