There’s been much jollity in spite of leaden skies and decreasing temperatures.
Our decision to downsize both cars this year meant that we borrowed a friend’s Land Rover to collect our Christmas tree last week. That was quite an adventure and brought back memories of our Land Rover owning days, though neither of us were sorry to climb back into our rather more comfortable vehicles later in the day!
Christmas in Tetbury features one or two surprises in the shop windows this year and it was lovely to wander around and enjoy the spirit of the season before my WI Christmas lunch.
The spirit of the season was evident at the lunch party too! Happy times spent in the company of good friends and a bit of traditional silliness – lovely.
Meanwhile there were lists to be made, last year’s lists to be referred to and a bit of party planning to do. Would I remember everything?
The tree was decorated – rather early this year, we both agree, but with the Stuart Singers Christmas Concerts this weekend, we were expecting a houseful. Sorting out the lights is another story and deserving of a blog post later!
Peace and calm was regained later and we settled to complete one or two last minute jobs.
Edward was due home on Saturday morning, St Nikolaus and since Amy was coming with him, there were two gingerbread houses to decorate. We took it on trust that they and other friends arriving for the weekend would have clean shoes in expectation of a little sweetness too .
We have always marked the day following the traditions of Edward’s sweet German Godparents, putting out clean shoes on the evening of the 5th December, ready. Every time it comes around, though, I think back to how Edward’s friends quietly latched onto the idea of leaving their shoes out too, to see what happens. There usually followed phone calls from panicky mothers later: “OK, then, so what am I supposed to do now?” Thankfully, at this time of the year, most households have a few sweet things to hand, but oh my, I occasionally felt responsible for a “little local difficulty” and sent something sweet to share to school the following day, just in case.
Paddington and Aunt Lucy were changed and ready for the occasion, too.
By Sunday morning, two successful concerts had been sung and all party preparations were in place. Olaf waited with mistletoe in paw, for the fun to begin.
Neighbours and friends sat around the table chatting whilst younger friends snuggled on the sofa and looked through some of the Christmas journals in the basket. Needless to say, some never left the warmth of the kitchen where the chocolate fountain flowed, provoking squeals of delight from Samuel, our youngest guest of all.
Somehow, in the midst of the chatter and laughter, his sister found a quiet corner to sit and enjoy an old favourite.
Later, when everyone had gone home, when the washing up had been done and things were almost back to normal, the “home team” sat down with an assortment of goodness around for a game of another old favourite. Except it hasn’t worn as well as we have and after far too many questions about Dallas, Dynasty and the 1980s, we consigned the box to the recycling pile. As is always the case, we marvelled at how quickly the party passed by and wondered how it was that we never got to chat to this particular person, or how we forgot to ask another the question we’ve been wondering about all week. We’d missed our sweet neighbours from across the lane and hoped that they would have had calls from everyone as they passed by.
This morning we took friends and family to the station, Edward and Amy each carrying a gingerbread house as well as their suitcases. For the next few hours we had frequent texts from the train which was unexpectedly terminated in Swindon and then further delayed along the line into Paddington due to signalling failure or something. Both our friends in First Class and Edward and Amy in steerage had to stand the whole way – a packed train was not quite the end to the weekend any of us would have wished. Hopefully, they are all home safe and sound now as my Hero and I reflect on what has been a lovely start to our Christmas season.
Maybe we can relax now? Hmmm…once the Christmas cards are written, the presents bought and one or two other things have been done perhaps!