Confession, as they say, is good for the soul. I must confess, therefore, to being a tad disappointed with fair Norwich’s festive lights. I was hoping for a Middle Europe extravaganza to suit its Middle Ages cityscape. The grand façade of the over-imposing City Hall is artistically decked out in vertical white lights, the Guild Hall dribbles with LEDs, Jarrolds Department Store is lit up like the proverbial Christmas fir and the central market looks suitably festive with multi-coloured lights chucked round some trees. I’m less impressed with the thin strings of bulbs zig-zagging across the Lanes and poor London Street (one of the main shopping thoroughfares) is bereft of any Yuletide display except for the few stores that could be arsed. Oh well, at least it’s not as miserable as the coastal resort of Herne Bay in Kent. When z-listers, Gareth Gates and Toyah Wilcox turned on their lights, the crowd booed.

We’ve made up for the seasonal deficit with our very own elegantly-baubled bush, our first for four years. We shipped our decorations all the way to Turkey and then all the way back again. In that time, they were never removed from their boxes – we always spent Christmas in Blighty and couldn’t be bothered with all the fuss and nonsense.  Not that we went without our tinsel fix. As Turkey-baste (festive gag) readers know, Turks have taken the Christmas razzamatazz to their hearts and grafted it to New Year with a riot of shiny balls, flickering fairy lights, soft toy Santas, and twinkling trees as far as the eye can see. Now that we’re in Norwich and have resurrected the Christmas tree tradition, I’ll be vacuuming needles and glitter until Kingdom come.

On a religious note, according to the latest census, Norwich is the least religious city in England and Wales. This is despite having two cathedrals and more intact medieval churches than any other city north of the Alps. It’s caused quite an ecclesiastical brouhaha. I assume the Church of England is making a killing by renting out the family jewels as cafés, wines bars and exhibition halls. Needs must when the Devil drives.

You’ll be glad to know that I’m closing the show for the Christmas recess. Before I go, let me wish everyone, believers and non-believers alike, a peaceful season of goodwill. Whatever Christmas means to you, be happy and enjoy. 2013 will be an eventful year, I can feel it in my water. Or maybe it’s just a urinary infection. Joyeux Noël as the Gauls say.

Christmas Card 2012

13 thoughts on “The Alternative Queen’s Speech

  1. Congrats to Norwich for being the least religious town in the UK! Despite those huge churches all over the place…or maybe because of. Well, our palm tree near the gate is covered in white lights, and that’s about it. No Christmas tree this year. Just couldn’t be bothered. There have been far fewer lights around Kingston actually… I think people can’t afford the electricity bill (seriously, ours are almost the highest rates in the Caribbean, and beyond…) Merry Christmas to you and Liam. Have a great one!! PS I feel sorry for the people of Herne Bay, poor dears. Hopefully they will have New Year fireworks. Even Kingston is pretty good at that – on the waterfront, no less…


  2. ha ha, you should come see the ‘elegant lights and revolting pedophile looking huge santa with the creepy eyes and finger that is put up in the main street every year since god knows when we have here in NZ….
    you would ask yourself, is it xmas? I know its the colonies but still…..
    and after seeing european winter xmas splendors, it is VERY sad indeed….
    no illusions of grandeur here lol!!


  3. Well hope you see this: Happy New Year to you and Liam. 🙂
    Sorry your Norwich decorations were rubbish. I remember when we were still in Wigan and the council banned them one year as they were too costly. Wigan’s nice like that.

    Look forward to more blog posts in 2013. All the best,

    Julia and Barry


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