Suddenly since I was last out after dark the Christmas lights have started to spring up. The house in the lane where our temporary dog lives has sprouted two spirals of red lights either side of the front door, and in Elmstead Market and Wivenhoe people are expressing themselves in their various and particular ways, from low key clusters of white LEDs threaded through in shrubs in the garden to full blown multi-coloured strip lights, stars and Santas covering the front of the house. A terrace of three or four (it was difficult to tell in the dark) houses in Wivenhoe had a co-ordinated display running all the way across their combined frontages, while the church, more restrained, had a white star on the tower. I think it's the same star every year.
We haven't got anywhere near that far. The Systems Administrator has bought a set of roof bars for the car, since the truck's Christmas tree collecting days are over, and we have an agreement in principle to get two trees now that we won't be getting a hugely tall, albeit gaunt tree from the plant centre, one for the sitting room and one for the study. The idea was to have room for all the decorations we've accumulated in the years of having twelve footers, and it may yet be scaled back when the SA sees the normal price of trees. If we go ahead with this plan we need to remember we only have one Christmas tree holder. And we need to check fairly soon and before the shops sell out that the lights still work, in case they don't.
And that's it. We have received three Christmas cards and sent none so far. I have bought most of my presents and not wrapped any of them yet. It still seems a long way off, nearly two weeks, but Christmas is not really that complicated when you are middle aged and don't have children.
I like the Christmas lights though I can't see the point in us bothering here, given that we are at a dead end half a mile up a farm road, and there are absolutely no passers by at all to see them. Even Google Street View only makes it a third of the way up the lane before realising that it's trespassing on private ground and grinding to a halt, which is fine by me. Once in a while I check it hasn't got any further, and I expect the lettuce farmer does too, as it's his road. So we exist in privacy, unmapped and unilluminated, and I enjoy looking at other people's decorations when I go out. It's a one sided bargain, but their lights need an audience. If Santa glows and nobody sees him, does he really shine?