Saturday 21 November 2009

Counting Down

Christmas comes but once a year .... and for us at No 25 it all begins around the end of November when the festive lights in town are turned on. Last night the weather was calm and cool but not too cold and thankfully dry as a bone.

All this rain is getting a pretty unbearable isn't it and very worrying for our family in Cumbria. Luckily they're fine being up on a hill but my heart goes out for everyone bereaved, flooded, frightened and bereft at the moment.
So we particularly appreciated our lovely trip into town last night for all its joy, charm and festiveness. Standing there with my little family all beaming and excited sent my stomach and heart all hop-skippetty let me tell you. There's something ever so joyful about being with the people you love, in a place you feel at home with familiar sights and faces around you, all anticipating a special time of year.

And seems plenty of people thought the same; town was packed and there was tons to see and do. Market square was full of amazing smells from the continent thanks to a touring market selling authentic sausages, paella, cheeses, bread and delicious biscuits.
Down the main street the crowds grew thick, everyone enjoying free mulled wine, mince pies, Christmas music and the odd game of smash the crocks and tombola.

In front of the Monument the stage was set and we didn't have to wait long for the parade to arrive, headed by the Salvation Army band (its just not Christmas without them is it?), a lantern procession, some pipers and finally the man in red himself because only genuine celebrities are allowed to flick the lights on in our little town you see.
And after some pretty hearty carol singing we counted down and the dark night was lit up and all the town around.

It was such a simple occasion which was what made it all the lovelier in my book. After the big switch on we poottled around the streets for a while taking in the lovely window displays and even more lights.

Last night the Christmas spirit most definitely began to bubble up and all sort of plans are forming in my mind. More vintage decorations, a go at some new recipes, cosy family gatherings and some exciting outings.
Only five weeks to go, which doesn't seem many at all to me; especially after our ropey choir practice on Thursday - we need a few months I reckon. But no doubt it'll all come together in the usual lovely, panicky jumble as ever - fingers crossed!


Connie said...

What a darling blog, sugar. Very cozy and homey. Love to read about England. I can't believe Christmas is just a couple of weeks away!!

Rubyred said...

My heart goes out to the people of Cumbria too, awful news!
Good Luck with the choir, I'm beginning to feel the antication and excitement of the season too!
I just love this time of year and making lots of plans!
Rachel x

Emily said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely! Thank you for this holiday glimpse! The Christmas season here doesn't begin in earnest until after Thanksgiving, and I cannot wait!

Squam Hill Design said...

oooh what a lovely post...your town looks so beautiful and old fashioned! we need to get a Christmas market going here in Salem...happy Christmas planning!

sarah-jane down the lane said...

"Lovely panicky jumble" is the definition of the Advent period for us girls isn't it?

Enjoy making all those plans and cooking and family time, Steph.

Lovely to see your town looking so Traditional and friendly,

Sarah x

KC'sCourt! said...

I feel for the poor people of Cumbria. We don't think of Christmas till 27th November (our son's birthday is 26th, that gives us about three and half weeks) our town lights go on that night too. We were in the doldrums for a few years so I hope the christmas spirit has returned to us we now have a grand-daughter!

Helen said...

Lovely! . . . . . . . . . All Christmassy . . . . . . . . just like you said . . . . . a time to spend with people you love!
Love, love Christmas.

VintageVicki said...

Lovely pictures - looking forward to our big lights switch on next weekend. O/H and little son both playing with their brass bands :)

Have thought alot about the people in Cumbria as its an area we know well from holidays.

bellaboo said...

That's sums it up!Sharing the joys of the festive season with friends and loved ones,and thinking of others not so fortunate.
Lovely to share in your town's festivities.


Pipany said...

Oh just lovely Steph. Really got me in the mood for Christmas reading this. Have a lovely day x

...Nina Nixon... said...

Fingers crossed for you from down here Steph xXx...

... and I love when the Christmas lights get turned on, a spot of mulled wine and a mince pie - perfect.

Nina x

alice c said...

Thank you for sharing the joy of your family trip. Wishing you lots of Advent fun with your boys.

Bertie Meadows said...

Hello Steph, a lovely post, full of everything to get the Christmas spirit flowing. I love the switching on of Christmas lights, ours is next weekend and we look forward to it every year too. I hope your Christmas countdown is a joyful one.
Bertie x

steph said...

What a lovely community you live in !

mollycupcakes said...

Thank you for spending some Christmas magic honey, it looks like a lovely little town.
Some of those windows are full of treasures, i had to close me eyes and pretend i was there lol
Thanks for making me smile on this a painful day for me, my flaming tooth has given up on me and I'm off to the dentist to get it fixed. Argh! I'm so scared boo hoo.
But your lovely post took my mind of it for a while x
Catherine x

Anonymous said...

This was a lovely post; thank goodness for Christmas! We don't get many carols here any more sadly (not allowed I fear) and apart from the shop decorations we wouldn't really know about it - people sell Christmassy things, markets etc but charity shops are not allowed to put up decorations etc and I haven't seen Salvation Army for ages despite the fact they have a local shop. Children sing songs but not carols and unless you go to church it is honestly possible not to hear one from year to year. Sounds miserable doesn't it! Well, we still have our own Christmas where we let the magic in and it happens every year without fail. I'm also thinking of people in Cumbria - I have a sister whose house has been affected quite badly and she is not looking forward to the clear-up but as she said it is worse for others. Really enjoyed reading about your family outing, thanks.

Shari said...

What a nice small town celebration. I wish we had something like that here. I enjoyed seeing yours. The cookies looked very good! Actually there is something like that in a little town nearby, Dade City. Maybe I will try to go this year.

MelMel said...

I love the run up to Christmas....lovely pictures!x

Garden Girl said...

Ahhh, i bet your little chaps had a lovely time as well-it's trips like that they will remember always, traditions being made and fun being had.

Joshy and belle said...

it looks like you had a lovely time, my little boy is getting really excited, we couldnt go to our display as he has been ill! fliss xx

The Curious Cat said...

I'm loving all these festive entries on the blogsphere...they help get you excited about the forthcoming festivities! Still, it is good to remember, as you say, the poor people in Cumbria as I imagine Christmas is not going to be a cosy home affair if their homes are flooded. Let's hope the community rallies round and looks after them all this holiday xxx

Bobo Bun said...

I had myself convinced the big day was in four weeks, thank heavens for your lovely post Steph as now I know there's one more week.
I love the lights going on. Ours is on Friday, but for some really odd reason they have a carnival drum band. So off we run to the church for the brass band and carols.

Mrs Bun x

Anonymous said...

Nice story as for me. I'd like to read something more concerning that matter.
By the way check the design I've made myself Russian escort

Lulu said...

such fun and lovely place filled with lots of goodies..
hope the rains stop and everyone is ok..
take care,

Pomona said...

I hope your family are OK, and not affected by the rain and floods. You pictures all look very festive - a lovely market.

Pomona x

Victoria said...

I feel so ready for the festivities after reading this! :) xxx

Anonymous said...

Ooooo! You know about magic too! First favorite book, a postage stamp, community togetherness (definitely magic when it happens), a welsh dresser, glitter glue, patterns, lights and candles and colors, a big pile of magazines... Oh, I love it! But beyond that - your style and pictures just are magic. Simple pleasures are the best! I wish you were my friend - (don't mean to be too mushy, but...) you're a kindred spirit!

With a smile, Katy