So...back to my ancient history.....Christmas while we lived at the Top End of the village was always magical. Well, that's how it felt to me....
Our house looked like a children's drawing of a house...door in the middle, two windows at the front downstairs and two at the front upstairs. Going in at the front door, you were faced with the stairs heading straight up to the upstairs floor. These stairs were always, in my imagination, a mountain to climb or a rock face to ascend or the way up to the surface of the sea when I was being a mermaid (downstairs being under the sea and upstairs being the land..obviously). Once I stood at the top of the stairs and wondered what it would feel like to roll down them..so I did. I rolled down those stairs and it was possibly one of the silliest things I did!! My mum, not being a great one for sympathy, told me off and smacked me soundly.....when what I probably needed was a cuddle and a reminder that rolling down the stairs, even if I was pretending it was a hillside, was NOT something to do EVER again!(But. life was harsh in those days for children......)(violins please)(mind you, I never did do it again).
To the left , after entering through the front door, was the Front Room. A squareish room with a squashy three piece suite, an old tiled fireplace and a piano. We didn't use this room except on special occasions.
To the right was the Living Room/dining room.This had comfortable old furniture which had seen better days, a Cornish Range which gave us warmth (well, in THAT room) and in which my mum would cook and the dining table and chairs. It was a rectangular room with a window at either end, one overlooking the front garden and the other looking into the woods behind the house. We had a TV which I remember as being huge and sitting there like an ugly monument, lurking darkly and menacingly. In the corner I had my things...I used an old piano stool as a desk, even before I could write properly, I wanted a desk, pencils and paper. (Stationery is still one of my favourite things to acquire)
This Living/dining room led in to the tiny kitchen where we had a small electric cooker (no gas reached Cornwall) and other kitchen things, including an enormous sink, big enough for me to sit in, even when I was 4 or 5. It was very dark, being long and narrow with the window looking out onto the woods.
Up the stairs were three bedrooms and a bathroom. My brother had the smallest bedroom, painted black (he was a moody teenager!) while I had a room at the front, all my dolls on the windowsill looking out so that they could watch the world go by while I wasn't playing with them.
So...Christmas and why was it especially magical? Well, it was always in the Front Room , the fire was lit and it was warm, cosy and welcoming. We never went in this room much normally and when we did, it was cold and unwelcoming. On Christmas morning the door was shut tight. The excitement mounted .... we went in. My family didn't go in for Christmas stockings on the end of the bed..I was, apparently terrified at the thought of a strange man, even one as benign as FC, coming into my room. We had , instead, small piles...usually consisting of books, dolls clothes, pretty things (that was just my brother...hahaha not really, he had Airfix kits and bike parts). The real tree was always in the same corner with its lights switched on to greet us. They were those old lights, large and multi-coloured on a twisted green wire. I remember the smells of those mornings mostly..the smell of the tree, the wood of the fire, the slightly musty smell that unused rooms have and the overwhelming smells of plastic!! One year I had Wendy house as my Christmas present and when we went in the room, there it was in all its Wendy glory, perfuming the room and Christmas with its scent of plastic, eau de plastique!! Another year I had a Sindy doll...also with a strong eau de plastique..it was, after all, the reign of plasticity, the era of all things petroleum based and non-recyclable. In the evening, after a day of eating, generally, our little family, my parents, my brother and I, would eat (again) mince pies in the Front room with all the lights switched off.... except the tree lights and the glow of the fire. It felt magical...or is it the nostaligia that is making it magical? Do you know, I don't really care if it is rosy tinted nostalgic glasses that make it feel magical, it truly was to me. I can still remember the feelings of cosiness and safety and deep inner contentment which kind of embody that whole Christmas thing and that is good enough for me...I still love Christmas and all things Christmassy and can feel that sense of Christmassy loveliness at almost any time of the year!!
So, merry Christmas everyone.