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.