There is absolutely no way on Earth that I could sum up even one of my four trips to the UK in a post here at Christmas Lights the Soul. However, there are many, many, many unique little moments that I hope to share with you over time. I think it’s appropriate that I begin with a subject related to the title of this blog. For more discussion on the inspiration behind the title “Christmas Lights the Soul” see the page on Inspiration in the navigation bar at the top of the blog site.
In December of 2005, my parents and I traveled to England to celebrate Christmas and my mom’s birthday. We flew into Birmingham instead of Heathrow or Gatwick, rented a car, and drove to the tiny little village of Stanton. To give you an idea of where Stanton is located, I’ve provided some maps below.
A very good friend of ours, Brenda McKinney, owns two cottages in Stanton, and once we found our way to the village, drove down the only road, drove back down the driveway that was narrower than the car itself and parked outside of Long Cottage, we got out the old fashioned key and unlocked a magnificently new cottage, Cricket Cottage. Cricket Cottage was so named because it look directly out onto the cricket pitch across the road.
Throughout the two weeks that we spent in England that year, so many wonderful memories were made in Cricket Cottage. I remember going to buy a christmas tree in Winchcombe. They had no trees bigger than four feet tall! And the lights! Talk about christmas lights making magic. Trying to find a working strand of christmas lights, let alone two made the final product of a lit christmas tree with half of a strand not working seem glorious. Perhaps rural England doesn’t value the tradition of trees, lights, boxes, ribbons, and fanfare like America.
Another wonderful part about Stanton while we were there in 2005 was our encounter with one of the local residents. One morning, as she was taking her beautiful horse out for a ride in the country, this lady was walking her horse with her dog, Perdy. I could have that spelling wrong, but the amazing part about it was that she was a vizsla! My mom rolled down her window and got the lady’s attention to tell her how beautiful Perdy was, and I think she was expecting a compliment on the horse! Anyway, the weird part about the story is that in 2009, my mom returned to England with Ms. McKinney and our neighbor, Mary Bullis, and while they were in Stanton, they had dinner with Perdy and her owners! Such a small world…
I’ll conclude with a final picture: this was our christmas tree in 2005. To me, probably one of the most meaningful and most cherished christmas trees of my entire life. I only wish my dad were in the picture, but then, we wouldn’t have a picture to begin with! Until next time!