One evening last week The Friends of Blakers Park arranged carols and mulled wine. Nightlights in jam jars swung from the canopy of trees around the clock tower and everyone brought lanterns too as it was pitch dark. The band started and we all sang loudly without too much worry about being in tune. There was about 70 of us, maybe more, groups of friends and families warmed with wine and children munching on sausage rolls from the tea hut open for the occasion. In the summer at the top of the park you can see the sea in the distance and the puck, pock, puck, pock from the tennis courts can be heard in our garden,but the carol singing was hidden away from the sea breeze and the summer tennis players were now bundled up in scarfs, hats and woolly mittens.
As we enjoyed the simple pleasure of community singing it reminded us of a children’s story book illustration, the clock face like the moon above and the brightly coloured Victorian houses surrounding the park hazy, illuminated by pinpoint Christmas light stars.
On Sunday morning I was in London and passed by Gordon Square the home of the Bloomsbury Group (according to the blue plaques). I usually cut through the square but it was closed for filming. In front of the houses old milk carts and ancient bicycles leant against the railings and they had put up a row of fake Victorian street lights, the modern blue wiring concealed by straw in the gutter. Later I passed by again and I could see the characters walk backward and forward like ghosts slipped through time. In the next road a row of black Hansom cabs waited for their cue, an odd juxtaposition with the brilliant white trucks and orange gantry that swung above the houses. I asked the security man what they were filming but he didn’t know so it’s a mystery but maybe in the new year we will see a film or programme about the Bloomsbury Group and then we will know.
Last Christmas eve the first comment on our post was from Jean, a loyal and hugely supportive repeat customer at TheBigForest. Sadly Jean died during the year but her comments and support, especially during the early days of TheBigForest will continue to make us smile.
We have had a hugely successful year and that is thanks to our customers who have been so wonderful and have appreciated, commissioned and bought our felt animals and our silly illustration cards. We are full of plans for 2017! We are men of few(ish!) words so all we can say is a huge, huge, huge thank you.
Have a Happy Christmas and wonderful 2017.