She put up her decorations on 1st December, Christmas tree dragged raggedly out of the cupboard under the stairs, brisked up in that sprightly way she has, all spic and span and polished in a whisker and all of a sudden it was here, in our few streets: Christmas.
And like the inevitable flick-trip of a line of dominoes, one by one our windows began to twinkle with rock and roll Santas and nodding snowmen, strings of coloured lights raced across the sills, floofy white ’snow’ etched out the double glazing and Stop Here reminder signs at three or four doors, just in case Rudolph passed us by, out there on his way over to Murton.
Then just as suddenly, on Boxing Day, we’re back. Winter, bleak and crisp and even, twinkles no more. There’s the occasional lazy days dozer-in, or she who loves it all so, so much, the bling and sparkle and pzazz, that here and there those bright strings and salutations twinkle away through those rambling days when nobody can actually remember what day it is, or whether it’s noon or night, and then, suddenly, it’s the New Year.
Twelfth Night is either the 5th or the 6th this year, depending on how we count. Dawn is breaking almost imperceptibly earlier and it’s still just about light at 4pm. No snow, not yet, although it’s forecast for next week, and down the Harbour the roads out and away are all flooding from the heavy rain. Caterpillar wood is on fire but it’s just the remains of the sunset, no-one is there.
One last stray firework fizzes a long whooshy pink out over the dene. It’s 2016.