Edi­tor’s let­ter

EDP Norfolk - - EDP NORFOLK MAGAZINE - DO­MINIC CAS­TLE, Edi­tor, EDP Nor­folk Mag­a­zine 01603 772758/07725 201153, do­minic.cas­[email protected]

We took a lovely Sun­day walk re­cently around the mid-Nor­folk vil­lage where I spent most of my child­hood. As we am­bled along I kept up a lively run­ning com­men­tary to Mrs C.

“This is where we used to build our dens,” I’d say, in­di­cat­ing a lit­tle clump of trees. “And we’d scrump the ap­ples from this old or­chard. And we’d go fish­ing here...” and so on. Rivet­ing stuff.

As we neared our old home, I re­called a Christ­mas ‘tra­di­tion’ which may have hap­pened twice or ten times – you know what it’s like with fam­ily leg­ends. Any­way, per­haps a hun­dred yards from our front door was a Christ­mas tree plan­ta­tion.

The owner was a gre­gar­i­ous fel­low who, on a Sun­day in early De­cem­ber, would in­vite friends around to choose a tree and maybe share a so­cia­ble lunchtime sherry and mince pie. He was an ex­cel­lent host and the grown-ups shared a good many so­cia­ble sher­ries as we kids played hap­pily among rusty farm ma­chin­ery and frozen ponds. Happy days.

It would be dark when the dads (it was al­ways dads in those days) would grab a spade and tot­ter un­steadily into the Sty­gian gloom to dig up a Christ­mas tree. Be­cause it was night-time, and be­cause of im­paired fac­ul­ties, the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process for se­lect­ing an ap­pro­pri­ately-sized fir was, at best, flawed.

Next morn­ing Dad would sheep­ishly re­view the 15ft pine lean­ing up against the house, a house which didn’t have 15ft ceil­ings. And so a sec­ond trip would be made, in sober day­light hours, to find some­thing that would ac­tu­ally fit in­doors.

Once the cor­rect size tree was in­stalled, the fun of dec­o­rat­ing would be­gin. We had an an­cient set of lights which twin­kled softly and mag­i­cally. In­evitably they would be put away in full work­ing or­der and dur­ing the sum­mer would both stop work­ing and co­a­lesce into an un­holy catscra­dle of wire.

One year Dad was test­ing his elec­tri­cal re­pair skills on the lights, try­ing to coax some life into them. There was a pop, a flash and it was exit Dad, stage left with smok­ing eye­brows and a star­tled ex­pres­sion. We bought new lights af­ter that, but they were never as good.

Also not as good is an ar­ti­fi­cial tree. Last year we bought an fake one, slim as a pen­cil and about as fes­tive. This year we will be back at the farm hunt­ing out the scruffi­est Nord­mann we can be­fore tak­ing it home, cov­er­ing it in our old dec­o­ra­tions and in­hal­ing its piney good­ness.

All of us at EDP Nor­folk mag­a­zine wish you the mer­ri­est of Christ­mases and fer­vently hope that all your lights work first time.

Merry Christ­mas!

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