Only 8 weeks to go

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Some of the Christmas lights in Rye last year photographed in mid November 2019

With Halloween this coming weekend and bonfire night, November 5, next week (and Remembrance Sunday on November 8) there are only eight weeks to go before Christmas and, as it gets darker earlier, the seasons move from a mellow autumn to a possibly harsh winter marked around the world with a variety of festivals including Eid, America’s Thanksgiving and Hannukah. But what will we be celebrating ? asks Rye News’ Editor.

An ever increasing part of our country – Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England – is now covered by “lockdowns” of one kind or another (which is confusing enough) though on the whole East Sussex seems to have escaped too many Covid-19 infections so far.

But life is disrupted and we have had to learn to comply with many new rules and requirements  whether we are out shopping, on a bus, in church, or going out for a drink.

All is well though. I have had my annual flu jab (have you?) on a sort of fast moving, infection free “conveyor belt” through my local GP surgery, and that should protect me from one of winter’s usual threats as I was born with severe asthma in 1942 and it has never got better – so flu (and Covid-19) is the last thing I need.

Twelfth Night – here I come

But I am still here in 2020, and I am determined to enjoy Christmas and be “Christmassy” as far as possible, and for as long as possible – right up to the last second of Twelfth Night – and I have already re-discovered my recipe for mulled cider – which really deserves Biddenden’s best.

However it is not going to be Christmas as we think we know, and love (or imagine) it, as the dreaded covid is contagious which means you catch it  as a result of close contact with other people – and, like it or lump it, we all have to be aware of that, and behave accordingly.

Decorating the Christmas Tree at Strand Quay in a previous year

And my family (of grandchildren, children and ex-wives) are well scattered in Bath (to the west), Hertfordshire (just north of London) and Sheffield (nearly in Scotland) so I am unlikely to have much “close contact”.

But Christmas does start now. My father was a New Zealander (RIP 1942) and I’ve got relations there, and the yacht (apparently) leaves shortly with the last post for Christmas – or so it seems – but this was the farthest my niece and nephew could get from their mother (or so I tell her each year!).

Time to get back nice feelings

And I can hear the Scrooges already crawling out of the woodwork, and I am not surprised at that, because I know after the last few months that I feel stressed, tearful, angry and – above all – powerless, and none of these are nice feelings. And one of my daughters is a hospital doctor in what is now a Tier 3 zone with hospital admissions shooting up rapidly.

But now is the time to switch the Christmas lights on (if only at this point in our imaginations – though I hope we will see them around Rye in due course) and start reaching out to friends and even family – and acquaintances. For example, when I am out walking now I do notice how many more people are saying “hello” – even from behind a mask!

Eight weeks will pass quite quickly – and it will probably not be Christmas as we know and love it (in the same way as it will not be Bonfire Night this year as we know and love it, but here (below) is a gallery of photos from previous Bonfire Nights just to remind ourselves of what Bonfire Night could be like in a year’s time – and then we should go and start thinking about making Christmas as good as it can be in 2020.

Image Credits: J. Minter , Rye News library , Tony Ham , Katherine Crowther , Tony Coombes Photography , Kenneth Bird .

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