The festive season in the rural areas. It is such a unique and magical experience.
Unique because there is no other place like it. Here are ten ways you know it’s Christmas in the countryside.
1. Farmers become the most popular people in the community. It is only they and their tractors who can dig you out of the snow should you urgently need to go somewhere or save you on a steep country road from having to camp out in the elements or abandon your car and walk home.
2. It really is the season of good will. Where ever you go, you are offered a mince pie or some other seasonal treat. Not great for the waistline but we all need those few extra inches for warmth.
3. You see an influx of city visitors during the festivities and laugh as they try to clamber over styles in flip flops, loafers or better still-suede. They are easy to spot as they are almost always dressed inappropriately.
4. If you go anywhere, where a large group of country folk are gathered-whether it be the pub, the local shop or outside church, you are bound to hear someone say the weather is not as bad as it used to be or that Christmas is not the same as it was in years gone-by.
5. Your hands are so cracked and sore you could pass as a bricklayer and you hope someone buys you some fancy hand cream as a present.
6. It’s a merry affair. Everyone is sloshed most of the time-mainly from supping homemade spirits like sloe gin. When in Rome, as they say. Chin chin.
7. Everyone gets and gives warm clothing as gifts and they are welcomed with grateful smiles. If they are homemade, even better.
8. Every year, you get the Christmas decorations out and discover some creature has either set up home in them or eaten the salt dough stars you made last year.
9. You wonder every year whether you should get some turkey poults for next Christmas but never get round to it.
10. At some point you will wonder why you ever bother to mop your floors because there is always a muddy foot or paw print on it. At this time of year, glitter can also be found mixed in with the mud.
11. If you keep livestock, you wish you had £1 for every time someone asks if you still have to feed the animals on Christmas Day.
12. You laugh when you see people in the cities and suburbs stocking up for the one day a year when the supermarkets are shut. Your larder is packed with enough tins and dry goods to see you through six months of snow.
13. Farms in every village try their hand at selling Christmas trees. You see the family dressed in elf costumes for much of December.
14. Children can be seen flying down hills on tea trays in lieu of sledges.
15. Farm children have to wait for all the morning jobs to be done before they can open their presents and the first thing to be unwrapped is a bale of silage.
16. Taxidermy of all descriptions has tinsel and baubles hanging off every part you can get it on to.
17. You get 37 calendars from feed merchants and fertiliser reps.
18. All of the tractors you see around the country lanes have tinsel adorning their cabs.
19. There is often a frantic search for an early lamb and a donkey for the village school’s Nativity play.
20. Even the most hardhearted country lady or gent can be found at some point wearing a Christmas jumper and, if they are really getting into the spirit, some of the animals may be wearing them too.