Christmas at Summer Hill

Well I can’t wait for Christmas, been buckle-knee’d and listless, and you say that you’ve been wishing weeks away.
We hung the lights out in the street, twisted round the bows of trees.
The choir sung its holiest refrains, like ‘Gloria, hosanna in the highest!’
Heaven knows this year’s been black and blue.
But we’re alright and this Christmas could be white for me and you.

In Excelsis Deo, There Will Be Fireworks

Christmas at Summer Hill sounds like a contradiction in terms. But this was my third one and each time so far it’s been magical in its own way.

Christmas at Summer Hill in 2007 we stepped out in thick fog to the parish church in Sawrey for the candlelit Christmas Eve service. People brough all kinds of lamps, from bits of candle wrapped in old mince pie foil cases to full on shepherd’s oil lamps hanging from crooks. The vicar read John 1 – ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God’ by the light of one flickering small candle, and then children sang Silent Night as slowly every candle and lamp in the building was lit from that one original small faltering light.
Later that night we were surprised to find our neighbours on the doorstep carol singing – we joined them to walk down the hill from house to house, drinking mulled wine at every place until we weaved our way back.

Christmas at Summer Hill in 2008 was frosty and cold for days. Hard frost on hard frost made Tarn Hows freeze over solidly and the locals got out their ice skates and went to play! We had freezing fog one of the nights, which cleared early the next day, leaving everything bright white from the ground to the tips of the tops of the trees.

Christmas at Summer Hill in 2009 we had snow! And the usual carol singing neighbours and mulled wine merriment.

2010’s going to have a lot to live up to…


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