THIS will the final TRM of 2018 (who said 'thank the Lord for that'?)

So it's a good time to follow the traditional Christmas activity of looking back to bygone days, remembering some yules of yesteryear, when the kind of presents Santa brought you were a game of Ludo or Snakes and Ladders, a box of dates, the latest "Giles" annual.. and your 'big' prezzie was a toy trumpet.. much to the dismay of immediate neighbours and nervous moggies.

I've previously "penned" a few of my early Christmases... the homemade, super-de-luxe dandy my dad made for me... my lucrative carolling on the Rath with Mike Walters, a guitar and a harmonica... the lost purse full of cash my mum had just withdrawn from the Post Office... and the year I thought my parents had "lost it," when, during my pre-Christmas rummage for hidden presents I discovered a collection of undeniably girlish gifts.

You can imagine my relief to discover that, although they were stored in our house, they were presents for the Picton girls next door.

When you think about it, this column, which constantly looks back in time, is a kind of "Christmas every week" to all those regular TRM-ers...which makes me an all-year-round Secret Santa.

Anyway, let's crack on or we'll never catch that turkey, and put an end to its gobbledegooking.

We'll start with an early gift for my old neighbour and long-time TRM reader Vic Davies, who rang me this week.

"Jeff, if ever you get the chance, I wonder if you could find something on the trawler Victor M76, and include it in your column.

"My father, at one time, was the Skipper on it."

I decided to strike while the iron was still hot, so, in this week's TRM Trawler Corner, is that very same trawler, complete with a seasonal touch from 82 years ago.

An iron-sided, wheelhouse aft vessel, built in Beverley in 1897,193 tons, 110' long.

Local owners included RG Yabsley, Charles Street; WH Kerr, Thornton; HC Mills, Wellington Rd, Hakin; and JP James, Charles Street.

She landed at Milford from March 1930 to Feb 1937 and the only recorded news cutting was from the Pembrokeshire Telegraph of Jan 1, 1936, when the Victor was able to help out the Fishguard Lifeboat, which had received a message on December 30, saying that the drifter Feasible was in distress on an unknown part of the coast.

The lifeboat launched immediately but, just off St Davids Head, met the Victor, which was able to inform them the Feasible was now situated off The Smalls and was being assisted by another Milford trawler.

The lifeboat immediately returned to Fishguard and the crew were not sorry to get back, after all, the celebrations had hardly started, it was still only the fifth day of Christmas.

Here's a snap of the Victor, which in 1937 was sold to Dutch owners to be broken up.

When you get to a certain age, childhood memories of Christmas become even more special.

And mine, from the early 1950s, growing up in Pill, living in our Vicary Crescent council house, are littered with them.

I was blessed to be part of a happy, loving family, with many pals from the crescent with whom to share growing up.

Few of us had televisions to be tied to, so the extended Christmas holiday period provided extra time to "get out and about" to do some of the things that kids did in those innocent days.

Here's an instance from around 1952, and includes two of my closest pals, the late Dave Wigham and Mike Walters.

It's from the early 1950s, when we tried to become "airborne" with a fanciful flight from the top of the Rath.

We'd "borrowed" dozens of balloons, all of which had hitherto been part of our families' festive decorations, re-inflated those that had become morosely droopy, and a small plank from my garden (I think my dad had plans to use it one day... but nobody ever knew when or for what purpose).

The balloons were secured to the plank, and our "aero experiment" was ready for testing.

Of course, the three of us argued as to which of us would have the "honour" of becoming Pill's first "flying boy".

"I brought the most balloons..." and "I blew up more than you", "It was my idea in the first place" and "It's my piece of wood..." etc.

All valid arguments, but it was agreed, eventually that, being the smallest and lightest of the trio, Mike would have the first go.

As it turned out, the "test flight" didn't last long.

Mike, with his usual gung-ho attitude, flung himself off the bank, landed heavily on the seat of his short trousers, slid for a few yards (it was way before we turned metric) and we watched the balloons - except for those that had popped as he hit the ground - detach from my dad's favourite plank and drift, slowly, but colourfully, down towards Russell's bungalow.

Our balloon gliding exploit was over. A failure, but no damage done... except for Mike's grass-stained bottom and legs.

But we'd worked up an appetite so it was time to go home for some more chicken sandwiches.

Now for our teasers!

Les Haynes' one last week bamboozled quite a few, the answer being: he was the child.

Those with full marks were Joyce Layton, Gerry Thomas, John Glover, Anne and Jets Llewellyn, Pat Farrar and Elinor Jones. Many thanks to all who got in touch.

That just leaves me to wish each and every one a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Thank you so much for all your kind comments and support during the year, it means such a lot.

I'll leave you with a festive-looking picture and I'm already singing Bing's classic "I'm dreaming of a...."

See you next year.