It was the big switch on of our village Christmas lights this week. The main street of the village is closed off to traffic, there is a little parade through the main street for the children with Santa. There are stalls with mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. All of the shops dress up their windows and it’s only November of course but it’s still very festive (why can’t they wait until December for these things or am I just being a Bah Humbug?)
Anyway, the highlight has to be the big switch on. The stage normally looks like it could collapse at any minute but that’s part of the fun, I’m sure. The year before last our celebrity light switcher on person was, well, not much of a celebrity really. She appeared on Wife Swap years ago and was some sort of acrobat. She was supposed to be doing erm, acrobatic things as well as light switching on things but it had been raining so ‘elf and safety deemed that the stage was too slippery for her to do her act. So it was all a bit of a damp squib really. Not only did we not recognise her but we didn’t even get to see her act. Such fun! Then last year it was arranged and cancelled twice because of the snow. Again, ‘elf and safety were determined to spoil our fun! Snow in Winter? Whodathunkit? Pah! So this year could only be better, right?
So off we toddled down to the packed village. The three year old had ‘tiredy legs’ so was in the pushchair, the five year old was at that point of being so excited that it was very possible that she could be sick at any minute and the grumpy teenagers were lagging behind pretending that they weren’t enjoying it or even with us. Thank goodness for the mulled wine I say!
So we watched the parade and all stood around on a cold November night waiting for the big event. And what a treat. Not only did we have our local MP up on the stage talking over the two crappy local radio DJs playing Slade way too loud but our lights were switched on by – wait for it – Ronnie the Rhino. Oh yes. Somebody dressed up in a bad rhino suit. Our village must have reached the big time at last.
And then came the fireworks. Now this is always a tricky one as with my little ones, as there is a very real danger that one of them will scream and put their hands over their ears and the other one will copy in sympathy. I am still recovering from the disaster that was Bonfire Night *shudder* But luckily they went the other way and ohhhh’ed and ahhhh’ed in all the right places.
When you hear all the doom and gloom in the news about the breakdown in our communities blah blah blah I do often wonder if it is just a load of rubbish. Community spirit is definitely alive and well in our little village and I’m sure we can’t be unique in that. I know it’s no Regent Street but even still, seeing all the local businesses put so much work into a night like that and the streets packed with so many villagers, is does warm my heart. Ronnie the Rhino and all. Maybe next year we will reach the dizzying heights of an ex-Emmerdale actor that I don’t recognise turning the lights on..?