Winter Warmer

Right about now I should be finishing my Christmas shopping, or to be more accurate, I should be starting my Christmas shopping. I realise that I may have left it a little bit late. I had all kinds of good intentions this year, start early I told myself, start early and avoid the madness. But I didn’t, and in all likely hood I’ll find a hundred and one other things to do this afternoon and won’t start today either. As always I’ll leave everything until Christmas Eve, and then spend the day running up and down the market like a man possessed, buying things that no one really wants.  I have previous in this area, one year I bought my other half a foot file from boots. I have no idea why I plumped for a foot file, but needless to say, there were no glassy eyed smiles when it was unwrapped on Christmas morning.

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To be fair I did make an attempt this year, I went to the fair at the Blitz Factory, and to the Eat or Heat fair the following weekend. And whilst I bought cheese, and cakes and food and more food, I failed to buy any presents. Well, I suppose I bought one present, I got the 2015 Walthamstow calander created by Emma Scutt, but I got that for myself so it probably  doesn’t really count. I tried again at this years Winter Warmer event in Lloyd Park. I told myself that I’d go along, listen to the music for a few minutes, then go and buy some gifts from the gallery. Of course I failed in my mission and got carried away listening to the music, but then who can blame as the music was provided by the most wonderful East London Brass.

This is the second year I’ve been to this event, and it’s one of my favourite things to do in the run up to Christmas. The winter warmer squeezes in to to a tiny corner of Lloyd Park directly in front of the tea rooms. The brass band was housed in a tent on the lawn, the rest of us took up position on the path between the lawn and the William Morris Gallery. We arrived just before the band started playing at 2pm, people were thin on the ground at first but numbers soon started to swell. Before long there was a very long line of people waiting to buy mince pies or mulled wine from the Friends of Lloyd Park stalls.

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East London Brass, E17’s very own brass band, were superb. There is something really special about the sound of carols being played on brass. Standing behind the old house, I listened as the sounds of Silent Night and other Christmas favorites, bounced off the walls of the gallery and drifted down Lloyd Park, my mind began to wander. I assume at some point in the history pf the house and garden, one of its private owners no doubt threw grand Christmas party’s, and perhaps also had a band on the lawn. Maybe grand Ladies and Gentlemen took promenades around the garden. I could almost seem them crossing the bridge over the moat, arm in arm, talking about how beastly the journey to Walthamstow had been, then smiling and waving politely at the host. I think I’ve watched too many episodes of Downton Abbey.

Back in the modern day, the crowd seemed to be with me in enjoying the music. But we were all a bit reserved when it came to singing along. That said, my friend who was wearing a Christmas Tree on her head joined in. We stayed in the park for most of the two hours that the band played for, as each carol or Christmas song was played, festive feeling was rising. Eventually though it was time for me and the walking Christmas tree to head to home. I was still completely present free, but a good afternoon had been had. I suppose now I’ve finished writing this I should go out shopping, mind you, the dog looks like he could do with a walk, so perhaps I’ll leave the shopping until tomorrow.

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