One of CNN’s “Top 12″ places to spend Christmas, is just up the road from us:
CNN opens its explanation about Bath this way:
There are few cities in the world where you can celebrate the birth of Jesus and the birth of Jane Austen with the same amount of fanfare, but Bath happens to be one of them.
The Theatre Royal, which Austen mentions in “Northanger Abbey” and “Persuasion,” is home to a musical celebration accompanied by mince pies and mulled wine in honor of the literary doyenne….
Indeed. Just yesterday we decided to have a wander around downtown on Monday or Tuesday. Clearly we’re in a good general Christmas location this year. ;-)
If you’re curious, here is the link to the Bath “Jane Austen Centre” site.
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We also had something of a Christmas moment last night. We decided to splash out and buy a real tree for the first time in years. We needed some new Christmas decorations too: some are packed away here, but most are in America.
So last night we went shopping. At a B&Q, we bought the decorations (many on discount because it’s so close to Christmas now) and a tree (there were still a few nice live ones). We were feeling really good.
Then we abruptly discovered getting a live tree stand was going to be quite a challenge 5 days before Christmas.
Had we stumbled on “The Great English Live Christmas Tree Stand Shortage?”
It sure seemed so. B&Q still had live trees, but no stands at all. “It’s the end of the season for us,” the cashier said. “I think we sold the last one earlier today.” She recommended Tesco. First, we tried three nearer places, and struck out at all those too. Finally, even Tesco failed us.
By now, it was approaching 8pm. There was nowhere else in the immediate vicinity. We figured ordering via Amazon would be the last resort.
On the drive home, though, Mrs. Nello noted, “We had a live tree stand years ago. We must have it. Where is it?”
“I know. I’m thinking,” I mumbled, as we drove, our tree in the back of our small SUV, but with nothing to put it in yet. “Give me a sec. We had real trees when we first got married. Godmanchester. Then in London. Never Christchurch. Remember when I threw the dead tree out the Juliette balcony window after Christmas in Enfield one year after it dropped its needles early? We were so annoyed, we went to fake trees after that.”
“Oh, yeh,” she agreed.
“That must’ve been around 2003 or 4,” I continued. “The fake tree is in America. The live tree stand didn’t go to the Catskills. I didn’t give it away to anyone. It must be upstairs in an attic box. I didn’t throw it out. I never throw stuff like that out.”
“Don’t look at me,” she replied. “Christmas storage has always been your department.”
When we got home, I plunged into a small bedroom we use for storage. At the edge of a floor to ceiling pile of moving boxes full of “unnecessary” items, I found an unopened loft box that was taped shut. It hadn’t been touched in years.
I opened it, and found a few more lights, decorations, garlands and …. there it was! First go. First box. There it sat, looking up at me: our live tree stand, unused for over a decade!
I felt like I’d hit the lottery. I rushed to the top of the staircase and shouted down to Mrs. Nello, “Got it! I found it! It took me ten seconds!”
“A Christmas miracle!” my wife laughed and yelled up to me.
Have a good Saturday. Andy Williams goes on later, and the LIVE tree gets decorated. :-)