Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Why It Is Better In The North

1. You get more fairy lights. At Christmas most of the houses round here are festooned with Xmas lights. Icicle lights hanging from roofs, lights flashing in complicated sequences round peoples houses fronts, reindeer lights in the windows, little lights like flowers on sticks on people's lawns and fairy lights twinkling in bushes and trees. One house opposite is like a mini Blackpool illiminations.

You also get loads of giant blow up Santas and Father Christmas's and Santa figures climbing up people's walls and disappearing up people's chimneys. Some people go completely crazy and have grottos and shrines and life size models of Father Xmas and his reindeers.

We have noticed that this phenomenon exists in inverse relation to how posh it is. You don't get many fairy lights in York or Harrogate, for instance.

I bet they don't get as an impressive Xmas light show down South.

2. You can enjoy the remants of a glorious industrial past. There are more area of parks (Victorian) in this city per capita than anywhere in the country. The avenues into the city are lined with elaborate and beautiful Victorian villas.

3. You get cheaper (and better) fish and chips. At a chippie near us you can feed a family of four for a tenner. It is so good it is frequented by royalty. We know this because there is a poster of Prince Charles talking to the queen in the chippie. She is saying 'I do like these fish and chips, Charles' and he says 'Yes , Mumsie, I got them from the chippie on Askew Ave'.

4. Pound Shops. These are shops where you can buy everything in the shop for a pound. You can get delightful things like Noel Cheesecake candles in a tin, windmills for the garden, recording pens which record any thoughts you may have, dog treats in the shape of a pizza, little craft sets with pom poms and glitter for making easter rabbits and bunnies, little battery-powered Xmas towns with windows that light up, topped by a moving Father Xmas and reindeers, and which plays Silent Night, all for a pound each.

5. The men. You should see my Mum's window cleaner.

6. Eventful bus rides. The other day my Mum rode into town on the bus. On a ten minute journey four blue light ambulances sped past, some people on the top deck spontaneously burst into song, and the man behind started talking to himself and nobody batted an eyelid. When my Mum and Alisha went to Asda in Hessle Road we saw a similar gentleman sitting on a bench, talking to a person that nobody else could see, watched over by two security guards. When the gentleman saw Alisha he stopped talking to the person and said 'Hello, Princess'. My Mum later saw him choosing which toilet to use. When he got to the disabled one he said 'Well, I'm not disabled'.

7. Hessle Road. My Mum thinks this is one of the only places that if you have got a child in a buggy you are guaranteed that people will help you, open shop doors and talk to the baby.

8. The biggest and best fair in Europe that everybody goes to. It happens at the time of my birthday so it is a regular birthday treat.

9. Interesting sights. The other day me and my Mum were walking into town (in fact, to get the Heelies) when we saw a bike tyre round the base of a lampost. And it hadn't been glued together round the lampost either, because we checked.

How on earth did it get there? It was a very tall lampost with the light part sticking out quite a long way out at ninety degrees.

Did somebody shimmy up the lampost and put it on? Did somebody get a ladder up to the lampost and put it on? Did people stand on top of each other and then pass it up so that the highest person could put it on?

However, somebody must have been quite brave, or drunk, to do it.

Are bike tyres round lamposts a Northern thing? I think so. You couldn't imagine it happening in, say, Harpendon.


Frances said...

I shall have to take some pics round here next November when they start putting up the lights. I thought the Son et Lumiere of Walthamstow was the most extreme possible until I moved here. In Walthamstow as up North numbers and garishness of lights are in reverse proportion to wealth. In Ilfracombe not so. The gardens with the slowly sinking Santas and the reindeer frisking up the ivy are in the expensive roads. Think it may be an effort to bring in the tourists - competition with the rest of the West Coast. Every year they appear earlier and are more out of tune with the green ethos of today.

Frances said...

By the way - your Mum's window cleaner doesn't by chance have dreadlocks? I think you should find out.
does he shimmy up and down with his chamois?

Frances said...

As no one else seems to be reading your blog Eleanor, I can tell you I have a Northern connection or two.... that may explain something - My Dad is a Yorkshireman... but don't tell anyone, they'll send the shrink round.

Sweet Irene said...

Extreme Xmas decorating isn't done like that here yet, but it may catch on as Xmas becomes more commercialized. The kids and I used to drive around in the neighborhood Xmas eve and look at all the decorating people did in California. They go crazy there also. Haven't seen any tires around lamp posts, and no, I have no idea how it's done.

Eleanor said...

yeah, Illfracombe is great.

Is that the place with the scenic rocky cliffs? I think we walked to the top of something (maybe had a lighthouse on it) and looked down and saw a little shark.

Also doesn't it have little pedal powered carriages which you can pedal about. Seem to remember my kids on one of those.

eleanor's Mum

Eleanor said...

No but he has lovely blue eyes and a manly stroke on the windows with his chamois

Eleanor's Mum

Eleanor said...

So other places do have lots of fairy lights.

I didn't really know this may because I am always here at Xmas so can't make a comparison.

Frances said...

ooh - we don't have a window cleaner - pity we are so far from there. We did a couple of years ago, but since then we just accept not being able to see out of the windows upstairs.
Yep it has cliffs, but no idea about the pedal things, maybe they have stopped those, we've only been actually living here for nearly 2 years. I keep promising myself I will stop being a troglodyte and get some pics of the town to post. Never remember to take my camera out with me, on my occasional excursions.

Eleanor said...

Frances, we seem to have at least three things in common, apart from the fact a lot more people seem to be reading your blog of course!

Eleanor said...

Don't know where that shark thing came from. Not very nice at all. But it actually happened and we saw an English shark at IIfracombe. Anyway I personally like sharks.