Sunday, 24 December 2017
The last minute run-up to Christmas seems to have gone a bit weird, so I didn't get time to do everything I'd planned, so this was my first, and last, Christmas market of the season.
We avoided the one at Chatsworth (which we loved last year) because of wet weather, we missed the Lincoln market because it ended sooner than I expected, and I thought we'd never find time to get to Nottingham's, but we had an hour or two to hang around before a gig last week, so walked into the city centre following the lights and music to check things out - and find something to eat (of course) from among the venison and ostrich burgers.
There were fairy light galore, rides for children, an ice rink, a pop-up pub, and stalls selling everything from Christmas jumpers to cheese...
... even some snow to add to the wintry atmosphere (and coming from a machine, it didn't settle and cause traffic problems, which has to be in its favour)
Then it was time to head to the gig to see my daughter, Ayres, performing. The venue, JT Soar, was suitably festive with twinkly fairy lights, there was a Christmas play list on between acts, and Cameron Sinclair Harris and his band definitely got in the Christmassy mood by dressing up - Santa, an elf or two, and a turkey on drums.
Friday, 22 December 2017
Haddon's a lovely place to visit any time of year, but, with evergreens around the doors, mistletoe hanging in the entrance passageway and a roaring fire in the Great Hall, it's wonderfully warm and welcoming at Christmas.
Arriving late in the day, we had the Hall almost to ourselves, so could admire the decorated rooms at our ease. Trees aren't a Tudor feature of course but they're so much part of Christmas today that it would be odd to not have any.
The underlying theme this year was A Chorus of Carols, with a well-laden table in the Great Hall (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen),
Crowns for We Three Kings of Orient Are
In the Bleak Midwinter with frosted trees and shepherd's flock in the Long Gallery.
Good King Wenceslas and his St Stephen's Day feast in the Tudor kitchens
The Holly and The Ivy, in the chapel
The Twelve Days of Christmas, starting with the partridge in a pear tree
and a tree on which to post your hopes and wishes for the season (We Wish You A Merry Christmas)
It was a beautiful, clear day, tempting us outside for a brief stroll round the garden, but still cold, so we were soon happy to head back inside, sit by one of the fires, and admire the view from a warmer spot!
Monday, 18 December 2017
Lincoln falls at an odd sort of distance from us - not near enough for an afternoon out, too close for a weekend away - but, having things to do in that direction, we decided to make a day of it and explore the city.
We started out from the lowest point - at Brayford Pool - and wandered up High Street and onward, and upward, via Steep Hill to the cathedral and castle at the highest.
It's the sort of place I love, with old quirky buildings, narrow alleyways, and gateways that once pierced the city walls.
I'd been warned about Steep Hill but it wasn't as dreadful as I'd expected, especially as I walked slowly, stopping to photograph almost every building on the way.
There are seats partway up though if you do need a rest.
Having reached the top of the hill we walked around the cathedral, roughly following a tourist trail, finding a quiet 'village green', an ancient gnarled apple tree by the Bishops' Palace ruins, and Tennyson and his dog.
Carrying on, we found another ancient gate-way, or two, and seemingly intact castle walls.
And, at almost every turn, look up over the rooftops, and there's the cathedral!
I could have spent a lot longer browsing the fascinating shops in Bailgate and on Steep Hill, but the sun was setting, and it was time to be heading home.