Let it snow, let it snow

Part 8: A Rye Christmas.

In the eighth of our monthly series of articles describing how one couple finds their new life in Rye, we come to Christmas. How fares the season in East Sussex?

Christmas cheer.

Well, we have to be honest and say our first Christmas passed in a bit of a blur.

This was not due to an excess of eggnog (surprisingly!), but the simple fact that we had only moved to Rye just a few days before the big day.

It’s hard to do justice to the season of goodwill when: a) you don’t know a soul in the locale; and b) most of your possessions are in anonymous boxes, including the Christmas decorations.

We soon rectified both these matters, the former by attending the New Year celebrations at the Globe Inn Marsh.

Now we’re talking.

Our second Christmas saw us much more in the swing of things. Decorations everywhere. Drinks with new local friends. Christmas feasting with goodies from Rye Butchers. And family visiting for the traditional walk on the beach after the massive calorie-intake.

….the streets were closed to traffic

Indeed, last Christmas, we saw our social life in Rye go off the scale.
It seemed as though every time we stepped out of the door, we’d be accosted by some jolly folk and dragged into the nearest hostelry.

As Rye is such a small town, people are so friendly, and everything is within a short walking distance, it is quite possible to end up on a pub crawl by accident.

Frankly, by New Year’s Eve, we were all tuckered out. And the passing of the year passed us by.

The festive Festival.

Of course, 2016 brought the Rye Christmas Festival. What did we think?

Well, first, the organisers must be heartily congratulated. The streets were closed to traffic, which was an excellent start. (In my view, it should happen more often for festivals and special occasions.)

This meant it was easy to relax, wander around, admire the lights, bump into friends, hunt down the stalls. Many people were dressed for the occasion in their Christmas jumpers and hats – adding to the festive atmosphere.

….even better with a blanket of snow

Rye isn’t Rye without music. Unfortunately, we missed the carol service at St Mary’s (next year!); we heard that it was wonderful. But, nearby, Phil Law and Steve Stone were playing at the Ypres Castle Inn. Already a favourite venue, on this occasion everyone was filled with the Christmas spirit,and the pub took on the intimate ambience of someone’s front room.

Though we don’t have children ourselves, we could certainly appreciate the Festival’s appeal to the little ones. Rye became extremely child-friendly. There was so much for them to see and do.

One friend could list a dozen activities enjoyed by his two young boys, as he took a well-earned breather at Olde Worlde Wines.

Let it snow.

So how could Rye improve its mid-Wwnter celebrations? There is one thing. Though it seems a little churlish to want even more.

But wouldn’t the town look even prettier in a blanket of snow? Wouldn’t the pubs seem even more welcoming after crunching through the frosty landscape in your wellies?

And wouldn’t all the children – and the childlike amongst us! – be utterly delighted to be building snow-creatures, tobogganing down the slopes, and having snowball fights?

Well, we know from the years before we arrived, a white Christmas in Sussex is possible. I guess we just have to be very good in 2017 and hope Santa delivers!


Photos: Simon Kershaw

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