One of my favourite books is ‘The Long Winter’ (one of the little-house-on the-prairie books) by Laura Ingalls Wilder. In it, she says that after one particular blizzard, when it finally stopped, the silence rang in her ears.
And so it was this weekend in our little flat. We spent Sunday having a good turn out of books and magazines and the little piles of projects that build up; we scrubbed, we hovered, we polished and dusted. We threw open all our windows, and shivered as we aired out the flat and listened to the drizzle drizzle of the rain. Having got everything spick and span we were ready to decorate.
We drove to my favourite garden centre where we had delicious coffee and sat in the conservatory watching the clouds roll across the sky, and people scurrying through the rain to load trees into their cars. One of my favourite things is watching the cut trees being put through the big netting-up device. After that, we scrunched up against the rain and chose our own tree; I like to buy a potted one so that it has a chance of growing over the year, so we didn’t get to use the netter.
We have gone for a Scandinavian-style red and white theme this year. We have a red berry wreath on the front door, and I have hung little red-and-white felt hearts and stars from all of the door handles. We have started to stick our cards up on the doors, and have Christmas music on the cd player. The best room, as always is the living room. We have put our tree up in the corner of the room, and bedecked it with lots of tiny white lights, and little red baubles. There is a small gold fairy on top, and a red glittery robin nestled amongst the branches. Although it sounds sparse, it does work. I was going to bake gingerbread hearts and hang them from gingham ribbon, but the tree looks fine just as it is. We have run some lovely holly tinsel along the dado-rail. It doesn’t really sparkle, but it does have lovely berries that are so shiney they make up for it! The windowsill is the best part – in the middle is a red tin lantern, with a tealight candle in it. We have lots of white church candles of different heights, some small red candles and tall red taper candles there too, and a Poinsettia on either end. We also have our oil burner on there, with some ‘Christmas Spirit’ oil to scent the air.
I still have a few things I would like to do. I want to clear off the wide shelf on the bookcase that I use for displays, and put out a bowl of satsumas, a little bottle of blackberry brandy and a cake stand of little chocolates, amarettis and Turkish delight. I also want to make a ‘Merry Christmas’ banner to hang across one wall.
For now though, the main part is done. And sitting on the sofa, snuggled in the new red fleece throw, sipping tea and watching Cranford by the light of the Christmas tree, the silence and jollity was ringing in my ears.