A peer through the rose-tinted spectacles of nostalgia, by Jeff Dunn.

Well ready or not, here we are, January 6 in a new year, and as far as me and TRM are concerned that’s just dandy, because it means history and nostalgia will now stretch back even further – so there’ll be more of it to include in these weekly ‘tete a tetes’ of ours.

But before all the gawdy reflections in the yuletide mirror fragment and filter away, let me ask you this – are any of you suffering from a sudden cluster of household calamities? Have there been any signs of mischievous mayhem befalling you today?

If so, I may be able to tell you why. It’s likely that you have still got your Christmas decorations up, possibly because you are a bit confused as to exactly which date 12th night actually is – the 5th or the 6th.

In so doing, or in this case in so not doing, you have unwittingly angered the “tree spirits” that dwell in the holly and ivy bushes still festooning your house’s nooks and crannies. At least, that’s according to our ancient ancestors.

I must admit that I am one who has always been caught between two stools 5th or 6th but in my case, like many blokes, my attitude has always been “Who gives a monkey’s anyway”? But for once I decided I would make it my business to find out.

As usual, Carole’s been restless since Boxing Day, itching to dismantle the baubles and bells, and this year Betty’s been showing her own dislike of decorations by watering the plastic tree and glowering menacingly at the flashing Father Christmas in the window.

From what I can gather, the ‘ancients’ had a different perception of time. To them the end of the day was when the sun went down, and the oncoming night was the beginning of the next day. So saying Christmas started at sunset on December 24 and continued until nightfall on the 25th, which started St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day), the first of the 12 days of Christmas.

That meant that the 12th night after Christmas would have been the evening before January 6.

Nowadays the night or evening follows the day, but inexplicably for our ancient ancestors it was the other way round. And they believed that if the Christmas decorations weren’t taken down in time, those pesky ‘tree spirits’ would run amok until they were released. So now you know – or don’t you give a monkeys?

We are going to kick off TRM’s 2011 with another little snippet from Milford’s Martin Rowland, who showed his vast knowledge of the Castle Hall Estate in the Christmas edition, and this time as a sort of post script to that piece, he gives a brief outline of the Bath House, which as you may recall was mentioned in passing several times.

“The charming Bath House stood on the foreshore of Castle Pill, near Milford. Built in 1804, it was a former part of Castle Hall Estate.

“Originally a simple Georgian structure, the building was designed with a sunken bathing room, and at high tide the waters of Castle Pill would flow into the room allowing the residents of Castle Hall to bathe in sea-water.

“The house was extended and remodelled in 1855, and for over 50 years was mainly occupied by senior employees of the estate.

“In 1911 Castle Hall became home to the Benedictine Nuns, and for a number of years the Bath House was utilised as a Chaplain’s House, occupied by Rev E P Street, chaplain to the community.

“Sadly in 1934 the picturesque Bath House was demolished to make way for RNAD Milford Haven.”

I am extremely grateful to Martin for his considerable contributions to this series of recollections reflecting back on the history of the Castle Hall Estate.

l I sent an email to my Oz cousins telling them that my favourite TV programme in 2010 was “Ashes to Ashes” – he-he he.

Nearly done, but there is just time to hone your lateral thinking with a couple more of those simple brain teasers.

1. Before Mount Everest was discovered what was the highest mountain on Earth?

2. A cowboy rode into town on Friday, spent one night there, and left on Friday. How do you account for this?

If you feel like geting in touch please do – otherwise answers next week.