This morning feels like a holiday. Three days into December and the sun is shining, the grass is vivid green and the only snow I’ve seen was the soapy fuzz falling into the air from the snow machine at Chipping Sodbury’s Victorian Christmas Evening.
My window overlooking Cabot Tower is cracked open and a slight breeze is tickling my toes. I need to get out of my pajamas and meet the girls at College Green to do a bit of Christmas shopping (in celebration of finishing our essays), but this view and breeze is too wonderful. Most things about Bristol are.
The Brits know how to celebrate Christmas and celebrations start early! More than a month ago the city dawned their Christmas lights and turned Cabot Circus, the main shopping area, into a Christmas wonderland, complete with a giant advent calendar, ice skating rink and a red and green Christmas market offering anything from nativity sets to mulled wines, mince pies, battered sausages, spiced cakes…! I’m quite convinced British six year olds believe ‘Father Christmas’ (as Santa’s called here) lives in the north of England.
Last night I had the pleasure of going with a few friends to Chipping Sodbury, a cosy market town in the Cotswolds. Every year on the first Friday in December, Sodbury hosts a Victorian Christmas Evening and on walking to the main road, I felt like I stepped into a Charles Dickens novel. Little stone shops lined the main road (famous for being the widest street in England) and the cobblestone streets were filled with carolers, all sorts of Christmas treats, a lovely old ferris wheel (which seemed a brilliant idea until I was mid air and the seat was moving with the wind), and Brits decked in period dress. The lightly falling snow (though pretend) made the night a scene in a snow globe. When the wind made our fingers cold, we slipped into The Royal Oak to warm up over pints of cider. Sometimes it’s so nice to simply listen to all the gorgeous British accents around me. And then I need to pinch myself.
I finally had a proper English breakfast yesterday. After turning in our Romantics essay, a few of us headed to Witherspoon’s for coffee and a giant plate of greasy pub food. Nothing like chips, rashers and fried bread (and maybe sticky toffee pudding) to celebrate two thousand words!