Merry Christmas Everybody

If Lush Places in Lockdown were a film or a book, this would have been its finale.

With so many Christmas plans in tatters, thanks to coronavirus and an eleventh hour decision by the government, it was just what the village needed to bring us all together in seasonal song and celebration, physically distant but socially close.

The vicar had chalked hearts on the pavements and placed paper crosses on the village green so everyone knew where to stand.

Mr Loggins and Darling brought picnic chairs, there were stewards in high viz tabards and Santa hats, and dogs with flashing collars. Children whizzed up and down on the swings on the green as Hark The Herald Sing reverberated around the Square.

Among those singing behind their masks were Mr Costner, the shop manager, and wife Whitney, DJ Landlord and Mrs Plum, Ding Dong Daddy, The Parson’s Daughter, Mr Brogue Boots, The Angel of the North, Mrs Let’s-Get-Busy and a dear little spaniel puppy, Randy Munchkin, Bellows, and Mrs Remington resplendent in Santa hat and a great big smile.

And in between the telling of the Christmas story and prayers by the vicar on my doorstep, tractors towing dung-spreaders roared by, the drivers giving the 70-strong congregation a cheery wave.

Our outside carol service, with me at The Square Window decks controlling the vicar’s microphone and crashing in with the carols, was twenty-five minutes of sheer Christmas joy.

I felt a tear roll down my cheek as the enormity of this worldwide crisis and the resilience of ordinary people in places like Lush Places kicked in.

We will beat this, tomorrow the sun will be shining and, with the Winter Solstice, the countdown to longer days begins. Community and comradeship are everything.

And then Slade came in and we were up there rock and rolling with the rest.

Merry Christmas Everybody.

That’s about it.

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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