B I R M I N G H A M & C O R N W A L L
I’m interrupting my series on our Somerset trip, to bring you this Christmas blog post, along with a few in the coming week, reflecting on 2018 and looking ahead to 2019. We can pick up with Somerset in the new year and overlook how
Anyway, Christmas, as I’ve probably said many-a-time before, Matt and I have begun the inevitable alternation of one-year-in-Birmingham, one-year-in-Cornwall; taking it turns to spend Christmas day with our respective families. This year was a Cornwall year and since we’d be returning to Birmingham at the end of January, we decided to travel up earlier and spend the week before Christmas with my folks.
As so often has become the tradition we had a day of walking along the canals; driving out to Henley in Arden and stopping in a pub for lunch. We had a day of ‘Pretend Christmas’ with some of Dad’s family and then later in the week, Matt and I enjoyed the German Christmas Markets as well as a day at the Tamworth Snowdome.
For me returning to Birmingham is always an oddly nostalgic, at-once-feeling-both-in-and-out-of-place, kind of experience. It’s like I’m a patchwork quilt (this is a terrible metaphor) and although Birmingham isn’t my everyday reality anymore, I can’t help but recognise a good chunk of my patches came from there. I feel a bizarre sense of ownership but also disconnect. In returning to these places I’m vividly transported to the past and in the same moment, reminded how I’m not that person at all anymore.
At times I think I could write a whole book about a character who returns to somewhere they once lived only to find it changed. Spending an inordinate amount of their time comparing their former and present selves, with the former and present place they find themselves in. Only I dare say it wouldn’t make for very informative, original or interesting reading. There are probably a lot of books I could write that wouldn’t make for very informative, original or interesting reading!
In Cornwall, I’ve found, you have to make the season your own. Beaches – although wonderful – just don’t scream ‘It’s Christmas!’ in quite the same way lights, music and a German market will do. So this year I set about being “intentionally festive”. Cause y’know, you need to warm yourself up for the main event.
During the month of December, I went foraging on Goonhilly Downs (the only festive, Narnia-looking place on the Lizard Peninsula) and made a wreath. I made a gingerbread house for the first time, with the lovely Amy Potter and was rather chuffed with how it turned out. I hung up decorations in our relatively small living area (too small for a “proper” tree) and also sorted us out, with a hanging fabric advent calendar that we filled with a tins worth of Quality Streets.
On Christmas Eve we headed to Porthtowan, before spending Christmas Day and Boxing Day with Matt’s family. It was pretty cosy and food-focused; how Christmas should be. Since then we’ve had a beach day or two, but mostly I’ve shuffled round the house in comfy clothes; reading, writing, nibbling my way through most of the Christmas chocolate and making vague plans for the year ahead. I said it yesterday on Instagram but I like these quiet in-between days the most. I feel like they give me an excuse to live exactly how I want to most days!