So how was it for you? Lack of snow aside (and how very disappointing it was to be snowed in the week before, yet cooking with the door open on the Day), was the festive season all you hoped it might be?
I’m going to come over all sentimental and say that perhaps Tarporley is one of the nicest places I’ve ever celebrated Christmas. On the Eve we – as in us three and my parents – took the dog for a bracing walk around the back lanes of the village and called in at my NEW FRIEND’S for a glass of Prosecco and a mince pie. I LOVE things like that. Back when I was small, people were always dropping round to our house for drinks, even on Christmas morning, and even now occasionally it can seem a bit flat, being ‘just us’. Anyway, the Prosecco was a swift one because we all simply marched off to sing carols outside the church. In my defence, I hadn’t realised it was DIY, but actually it was rather lovely; about 100 people just standing with their dogs and/or children singing carols at a swift tempo – which is important if you’re to avoid them being too dirge-y – and we romped through them for about 20 minutes. NB St Helen’s Church: How nice it would have been to put the lights on round the tree while we chorused… But it was still very Christmass-y, if a little dim at 3.45pm on a dull day in December.
Christmas Day was glorious, as it would be with a 15 month old who has recently perfected the art of walking backwards and whose favourite toys were the helium balloon and my Dustbuster. We have a very clean house. The beef was – may I say – cooked to perfection and I even managed whole mouthfuls of the Pudding. It’s taken me 34 years but I’m starting to not mind its yearly outing. Needless to say, MCD Jr ate it by the handful.
Boxing Day is the day of the hunt meet in Tarporley and it is – whatever your feelings on the event itself – so soaked in goodwill and community-mindedness it’s hard not to love it. Although it’s also hard not to love the acres and acres of coloured corduroy abounding up and down the high street; it’s clearly where mustard and poker-red cords come into their own. I wanted to clap my hands over my face and shout ‘MY EYES’ every time a pair approached but it might have interfered with the ‘goodwill to all men’ bit. All the pubs were open, offering bacon sandwiches and mulled wine. Santa rode through at a fair lick. MCD Jr stroked a horse with his Grandpa and nearly fainted with delight.
It was all so very lovely it left me feeling quite tearful and sentimental. The community here really is all for one and one for all, it’s a rare thing and to be a part of it is quite tremendous. I can think of no other place I’d want to bring up my son and I think that’s something worth striving for. The warm glowing embers of Christmas feeling are fanned all year round here and even just those three days went a long way towards convincing us we want to stay. If life here is as rich as the festive season heralds, we’re in for a blast.