It being a little on the chilly side I decided against the Barouche and took the Brougham out for a test drive yesterday. I just wanted to make sure it is in fine working order and the springs are oiled and the upholstery is brushed before Team Middlemarch leap aboard, but whilst out I left my card at the homes of friends various.
In fact I went to visit a friend who has just had some heap big major surgery, and with more arduous treatment to come will clearly will be needing books (my spare copies of Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James and A Diary of the Lady, Rachel Johnson's hilarious account of her first year at the helm of the magazine) and also some watching (twenty-eight episodes of The Pallisers) for which she was very grateful.
Then off to a quilting lunch with two more friends (basically we eat then quilt and chat for a few hours) and I am deligthed to say the Brougham is in sparkling shape and ready to welcome you. It was all a relaxing end to a working week, and one where the evenings have been spent finishing Claire Tomalin's Charles Dickens - A Life, so I was well in the mood for Tavistock's pre-Christmas Dickensian evening last night. This is unusual because I am more often to be found in denial that Christmas is even going to happen until about December 22nd, and then I really wish I'd thought of it a bit sooner.
Anyway Bookhound and I fought our way through the traffic and the road blocks to the Tinker's very convenient town centre bijou residence and parking space, went to call for him...we all stopped muttering 'bah humbug' and set off for a wander around. The town was packed to the gunwales, and the atmosphere was relentlessy cheery and festive as we said hello to friends and bumped into bands playing carols around every corner...
The Mayor, the Town Crier and his Consort were all joining in outside the Indian restaurant..
In fact we know the Mayor from Bookhound's days with him in the Dartmoor Rescue Group, the Town Crier sings in the Sultans with Bookhound, and his Consort is the Vocal Harem (my Tuesday evening choir) MD, so more 'hellos' in between verses of Oh Come All Ye Faithful.
Hogs were being roasted at every turn...and not a lot left of this poor little creature...
The Parish Church lit from within looked Dickensianly perfect..
The Golden Gallopers were out in The Square...
Unusually tall people were walking along Duke Street
Charles Dickens himself and...well, was it Catherine or Nelly, were out and about meeting and greeting his public..
This poor chap was being punished for the ills of the world...I am always amazed at how much venom and force people can invest in throwing a freezing cold wet sponge at someone they don't know...
And then I found these two clowns posing in front of an inflatable woolly mammoth... truly no genuine Dickensian evening should be without one.
Guarding our collective cholesterol from onslaught we avoided all bacon baps, hog-burgers, chips and other greasy temptations and repaired to the Tinker's for a cup of tea, whereupon we agreed we had had a lovely time. The town had put on a fine display of cheer and goodwill given the misery that resounds nationally, and we decided that it did not seem but 'twas five minutes since the Tinker had put his decorations away last Christmas, and, if that was indeed the case, he might as well have left them up.