Christmas Lights Aglowing …

Today has involved oversleeping (again) … drama … old friends … pretty lights … and it has been very cold; but at least there was no rain and no snow!

Let me start at the beginning; I set my alarm for 7am since I needed to be in Kirriemuir for 2pm.  I switched off the alarm and the next thing I knew it was after 9!  This is exactly why I wanted to maintain my daily routine of being out and about early every day … at least when Pup arrives later in the week I will have to get up earlier to do his breakfast – when one has 4 meals a day one has to start early to fit them all in!

Once I was up I did my usual quick round up of all my important places on the Web and had breakfast while I read.  Dog protested because his blankie smelled (who’s smelly feet have been on it I asked him) but did reluctantly climb up and curl in tight just in case any toast was surplus.  I should add I have leather sofas for that very reason – easy to clean with dogs and they don’t damage them with their feet.  We again had that conversation about where Pup will fit in to the sofa arrangements … we will have to see won’t we!

Since the blankie was so offensive to Sir I decided to stick it in to wash and dry it when I got back.  Unfortunately Sir has moulted and part way through the wash cycle the filter got clogged.  I should have put something underneath to collect the water but I forgot – and we had a small flood.  Eventually got that mopped up which means I currently have another dog blanket sitting in the bath until I have space in the washer!

Drama contained, I eventually got myself organised, clean and well layered up and after a quick walk for Dog I set off with my camera and some spare batteries – DSLR’s eat batteries in cold weather and it was around -6⁰C so chilly.  I was early because I had a few messages to do – which got delayed because I spied Weather Guru … lovely to catch up!

The Event Manager and I had a catch up with notes for the MC after we had scooped handfuls of salt/grit to de-ice the square.  The PA System was being set up next so I wandered off to take some pictures.  Unfortunately the Christmas Lights had been left lit so I will have to pop back during the day sometime and again on an evening to get a full catalogue.  The Council does not have pictures of the different light installations and have a plan of locations but don’t always know what goes where – we are starting a rolling programme of upgrades so we need a record now and I volunteered to compile it.

As I went round the town I checked with a bus driver that they knew exactly what the road closure involved.  Last year there was a misunderstanding which meant  a bus didn’t arrive in the Town and people were left to wait 2 hours – unfortunately I got caught up in the flack from that.  This year I had pre-empted it by contacting the company several weeks ago and was copied in on the e-mail from the boss to the operational supervisors which told them to liaise with me if necessary.  During this past week one of the drivers checked with me what was happening because they didn’t know and Supervisor said it was news to him!  As it worked out they got it perfect … thanks chaps you did a grand job.

Next I popped into the pet shop about Pup’s food.  A lovely woman told me she doesn’t keep that brand in stock but she can get it in for me and she can deliver it the mile down the road (I simply cannot carry a 12kg sack – or rather 2 because he will need a different food to Dog for  a few months).  I started to look at puppy collars n we were chatting  and she mentioned that the Springer who had popped out to say hello and very politely returned behind the counter used to go out to work and she mentioned a name.  I asked which estate and she told me where it was near an I was able to say oh … well you will know my Dad then?  It is a small world – her Springer came from the estate where Pup’s biggest brother is going to live.

So Pup now has a smart puppy collar in a fetching purple with a glow in the dark edge to it …

Puppy collarGlowing Puppy Collar

So that is oversleeping, drama, and old friends (not that I am saying Weather Guru is old you understand!) … so now to the pretty lights!

The Event Manager and I have been working on this most of the year but we did not get the lights we expected … post mortem will have to follow … and I am a little disappointed.  However, we did get a beautiful new cascade overlooking the square and we have new over street features and some new lampost features plus our most loved light feature –  a curtain of light on the pedestrianised Little Roods has been reinstated after last years failure.

I will keep the new features for a later post when I have them all on film – but this little window display in a florist caught my eye … chilly but very pretty.

DSCF6734

Our light switch on ceremony takes around an hour and starts with the arrival of the children form each of the two primary schools.  In the past they have brought huge puppets, lanterns, banners and this year they were dressed as characters in the nativity and lead into the Square by Mary riding her donkey (dressed up as a shetland pony) complete with tinsel for the occasion.

New Overstreet feature - needs to be made wider

parade

You can see Kirriemuir’s famous “cassies” or stone setts in the foreground and although it is fuzzy the ceiling of light overhead.  Once the children have all arrived we sing some favourite carols and songs accompanied by Forfar Instrumental Band (housed in a tent provided by the Scouts).  For those feeling the chill our local churches (Kirriemuir Churches Together) provide hot chocolate which this year where accompanied by biscuits donated by the Co-op.

DSCF6746DSCF6749

Once the tree is lit we know it will only be a matter of moments before a very special guest arrives.  Santa was late this year … and I spotted an anxious Event Manager putting in a call to the North Pole to get an ETA … aren’t mobile phones a fantastic invention!  It turned out that Santa was just waiting up the road for his cue – beside the local hostelry? maybe he had heard that Mary was looking for rooms at the Inn!  It wasn’t snowy enough for the reindeer so Santa had a helping hand from the Round Table with a 4×4 to pull his sparkling new bonny sleigh.

DSCF6753

Then it all looked as if it might go badly wrong because impatient parents started to tug their small charges across the Square to Santa.  I started to make my way to the MC to get an announcement out but had to go right round the tree and keep saying “excuse me, can I get through” before having to tap a strange (as in unknown) man on the knee to get him to switch the mike off and listen to what we needed saying.  What he actually said was “can I ask you not to all mob Santa … we will then get him to come over here”.  Everyone seemed to get to see him that wanted to and a few kids got their pictures taken sitting in his Sleigh – in fact we had to stop that so we could move the Sleigh and get the road reopened on the dot of 5 as promised.

We can only do all this because so many community groups get involved – I have told you about the enthusiasm of the primary schools but just as impressive is the contribution by pupils form Websters High School.  The turn up early and help put the barriers in place; then they don high viz jackets and hand out song sheets, collect donations towards Christmas Light improvements and act as marshalls to help with the crowd.  When the event is over they do a litter pick and help to dismantle the barriers and tent.  We hear so many negative remarks about young people these days and this group demonstrate just the opposite and they are so cheerful even though it is bitterly cold.

Christmas lights

The Event Manager and I were the last away by just after 5.30.  I went across to the Co-op for some messages and as I got my lottery ticket the woman asked me to keep it safe.  I said I certainly would since a small lotto win would be very welcome right now.  She wanted to know about the business and what it would do and when I explained she said she hoped it was very successful since bot her parents had needed community alarm but there were many times when they didn’t press their pendant for help.

As I set off for home there was  a bus waiting and I had a very quick catch up with the driver before my short walk back.  Dog has tried fitting Pups new collar over his nose; when he was told no he tried to have  a little chew and was told no again.  By the time his dinner bowl was filled he had forgotten about it and shortly after that his blankie came out of the dryer all warm and soft and clean … so as I write this all I can hear apart from the keyboard clicking is Dog snoring!

So that is the Light Switch on done for 2012 … very cold but everything came together.

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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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