If music be the food of love, play on…

When I came home tonight, I didn’t rush to get the car into the garage.

I did a little loop of the village, just to see the Christmas lights.

There was the big tree on the green and little trees above doorways. The pub’s hadn’t come on yet but the battery-powered ones on Mrs Bancroft’s scaffold-clad house (remind me to tell you about that some time. She had a terrible house fire in the summer) were lit up like, well, Christmas trees.

And for the first time in bloody years, my house is the proud owner of a tree with coloured Christmas lights. The only one in the Square. Yippee! Had I not been driving, I would have jumped in the air.

At last, the cheery glow of red, blue and green marks the Grigg household out as different from all the rest. If I’d had my way, I would have had a blow-up Santa surging along the ridge tiles like a winter surfer on the crest of a wave.

But my rebellious streak only goes so far. Just the one season to be precise, as Mrs Bancroft will be safely installed in her home by this time next year. And as she’s the one who usually looks out on it I have to give some thought to my dear friend’s outlook. It’s about being neighbourly.

Which is all very well for me to say, blasting out a different lockdown tune each day at one o’clock through festival-quality speakers. Mrs B used to wave to me from her Juliet balcony during the first lockdown when the birds starting singing as The Sound of Music theme tune gathered momentum.

Now, I look out onto a house wrapped in scaffolding and plastic sheeting and Bubbles next door comes out wearing earphones.

Still, the Bings are still hanging out from their windows, sometimes accompanied by a cat. DJ Landlord and Mrs Plum always put in an appearance and the new kids on the block, Mrs Remington and Mrs Lets-Get-Busy, do a mean impersonation of Pan’s People on the pavement in front of the phone box book exchange.

Yesterday, the one person I hoped might be outside my window was The Farmer’s Wife.

After The Lovely Farmer was laid to rest in the land of his birth, the Square thronged by masked friends and well-wishers, I waited until the coast was clear to play the song he had requested for his wife and himself in the first lockdown.

Just into the first verse, The Farmer’s Wife walked across the Square to speak to Mr Grigg, only to hear the music coming from the speakers.

A beautiful smile swept across her lovely face as she began to dance.

Priceless.

Keep the faith everyone.

Love, Maddie x

By Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.

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