Dog walking this morning to dark sky over the castle, a weird reindeer wire-thing in front of the Darwin Shopping Centre and rain. Dog walking this evening to an accompaniment of crowds on Pride Hill, balloons for sale, light sabres for sale, Father Christmas in the Square, crowds in the Square, Hilary from Jazz Club [meets monthly at the Hive on Belmont Bank] in the Square, along with her friend Jade, and programmes being handed out for an evening of entertainments to celebrate the switching on of the town's Christmas lights.
On the High Street I find Martin Wood, our Town Cryer. I also find a Boy Scout drum band and a lantern procession backing up Fish Street. Darting about in a hat with flashing lights is Shrewsbury's chief lantern-workshop person, Maggie Love. The lanterns process along High Street to the Square, following the band. More and more people are packing in all the time. It's hard to imagine how the Square is going to fit them all in, let alone how it will manage this time next year, when the infamous Princess House stopping-up of vital pavement space is complete.
I pick up my dog. He's had enough of being almost but not quite trampled underfoot. The Mayor is on the podium, presiding over the count down to switching on. '10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1,' we yell, but nothing happens. Apparently we're not loud enough. We try again. It works this time. Bingo. Where's the year gone? The Christmas lights are on again.
Official winter starts here.
|Am I imagining it or does this look like Eric Smith?|
|Hilary and Jade|
|Our lovely new about-to-be Museum & Art Gallery|
|Crowd gathering in the Square|
|Town cryer with boy scout drummers|
|Maggie Love in tinsel and flashing hat|
|The Lantern Procession begins...|
|...Led by boy drummers|
|Hand-made lanterns following along behind|
|---to light up the Square|
|Crowd packed three-deep in the Princess House overhang|
|Weird reindeer wire thing comes alive|