Letters to a Sister : 31

We had a Christmas Fair at church last week. A bit early perhaps but I guess it avoids clashing with every other Christmas Fair/Fayre/Event that the whole world feels obligated to host.

I am actually not a great lover of Christmas Fairs (in case you didn’t guess that already.) I’m not sure if it’s my general dislike of shopping or some long buried forgotten experiences. I equate Christmas Fairs with over-crowded stuffy rooms, knitted peg-bags that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, cakes that have been thoroughly breathed on by every flu infected attendee and homemade Christmas decorations.

I could write at length about homemade Christmas decorations. They are not something I value. Not even the sticky offerings my own children produced (they tell me they are scarred by this. I can cope.) I like decorations that are pretty and sparkly and preferably made of glass. Like the baubles our parents owned that we weren’t allowed to touch, that our brother broke with a football one year and then was NOT locked in his bedroom for a week over. Which was grossly unfair.

Anyway, this Christmas fair was rather lovely. It served mull wine at the entrance, which helped. It also had a Rock Choir in the car park. They had to be in the car park because there were millions of them. Not sure if they were invited to boost numbers or for their music. Also not sure how they managed to sing – it was freezing cold and someone had helpfully positioned them down-wind of the fire pit (for roasting marshmallows) so when they took a breath it would be smoke filled. They did make for a cheery atmosphere though.

There was a bouncy castle and face painting for the children. Now, face painting is a weird idea. The child sits there, having chosen a design, while the adult attempts to copy the picture onto their face. The child cannot actually see the paint on their face, it could be anything. They just have to remember to not wipe their nose or scratch their face for the rest of the day. It does unfortunately tend to be children with nasty colds who have their faces painted. Perhaps the lines of snot could be incorporated into the design somehow – it never looks good on the tiger/flower/lion designs that are generally chosen. I know one of the ladies who was doing the face painting. I did offer to face paint her face, thought it would be good advertising. There was a part of me that was longing to paint a huge willy or rude slogan on her cheek – she wouldn’t have known until she went home and looked in the mirror and it would be hugely funny. But she refused to let me. Clearly doesn’t trust me. Seemed harsh.

There were the usual range of other stalls : soaps and candles, a range of knitted and crocheted items, which I would never be patient enough to make. Actually, I can knit. I am half way through a cardigan for my daughter. It is for a child aged 5 years and she is now 23, so I have been knitting it for a little while now. I am sure she wont even appreciate it when I do finally finish it. Maybe I should make a special effort for this Christmas. Or give it to a Fayre to sell. Though none of the other children’s cardigans were quite as asymmetrical as mine.

Do you remember when brother made some bath-salts? I think he got the recipe from Blue Peter (does that programme still exist? It was an intrinsic part of our childhood.) Anyway, these bath-salts were made from soda crystals and you then added perfume and colour. He used some second-hand lavender perfume that he had bought at a jumble sale. Lots of it. I think it had gone off. He then coloured them with food colouring. Blue food colouring. Lots of it. Food colouring stains things. Both me and the bath were blue tinged for weeks after that bath. It is one of the few times growing up that I heard Mum swear. I still feel ill when I smell lavender.

The church had made a huge effort for this fair. There was a nativity scene in the foyer – with a baby Jesus who looked like he was dressed as a spaceman, which was unusual. There were balloons everywhere – even hanging from the cross at the front of the church (which I feel might be a talking point at the next church meeting.) Loads of people came, which I think was the point, to let people in the area know that the church is there and actually exists today. Not something that should be assumed in the UK in 2015. I’m not sure if any of those people will ever come back, but I guess at least they now know the location – and that we aren’t overly precious about our icons.

Hope you have a good week.
Take care,
Anne x
PS, I have bought your Christmas gift, you will love it. It is to hang on your tree. And is knitted.


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