The weekend was a teeny weeny bit of a shambles. On Saturday we had planned a trip to Bath Christmas Market. We had seen it advertised and it sounded all festive and fun. We thought we would leave the house a little later than usual and eat out for dinner, that way darkness would fall and we could experience the joy of festive lights.
We drove the hour and a half journey and were met with chaos. There were no parking spaces at all. The car parks were all full, the park and rides were all full, the side streets off the town centre were all full. We were with about a hundred other car drivers searching for a parking space, to no avail. We gave up and headed for home, stopping off for a meal along the way which went some way to please the "what are we doing driving around forever?" thinking children.
We were surprised at the seemingly total lack of parking support there was available. We have been to Bridgwater carnival many years and have never ever had a problem finding a parking spot despite the tens of thousands of visitors all arriving with the same need. The town makes use of every bit of spare land available to make temporary car parking, often with volunteers manning the gates to raise money for charities. There are signs pointing to the various parking options, and florescent vest wearing marshals on hand to answer queries and offer directions. This sadly wasn't the case in Bath, although it needed to be. The only "assistance" that was offered other than the usual city sign posting, was a big illuminated sign on entry saying "All council run car parks full. Park and Ride car parks full."
Never mind. Definitely a lesson learnt.
We hoped that our Sunday would fair better. We had noticed that a Christmas Fair was being held not far from where we live so thought we would head over and take a look. We had been to a summer fair at the same venue previously and were wowed by the standard and sheer number of craft stalls. I wondered if the Christmas fair would match it, and hoped that with it being the build up to that season of joy and jolly-ness it would be a nice festive experience. As I am trying to steer clear of big stores and buy mostly handmade for Christmas gifts this year, I thought it would be an ideal place for pressie buying.
Sadly my expectations were not met and we were left feeling a little disappointed. The actual Christmas fair was being held inside a large house, but it didn't feel at all festive. Apart from the visit Santa in his Grotto kind of thing, you wouldn't have known it was supposed to be anything Christmas-like. There were no decorations, no festive music, no spreading cheer as the season of goodwill and all that malarkey. Nothing. Just a sign to say go upstairs where we found 3 rooms with a few tables in each. The items for sale were nice enough, home made jams and chutneys, a jewellery stall or three, a hat stall, and a dog coat rail. I was on the look out for a nice handmade raggy doll for Taisia, but there was nothing even similar. The only toys on offer seemed to be available in many cheap stores so we steered clear. It wasn't at all like I had envisaged, and I was glad that we hadn't been charged an entry fee to witness it.
I was sad.
My spirits were soon perked up greatly when we managed pick up a huge chunk of the Christmas wish lists on behalf of dear ol' Father Christmas. I tried to support the smaller independent retailers as opposed to buying in the big stores, and as always much relief was felt when the realisation occurs that the pennies have stretched far enough to not have to get into debt.
We decided to stay at home today instead of venturing out to the home-ed group. The meeting was arranged for a venue we had not long since visited. None of us felt like re-visiting it so soon, and I couldn't really blame the teens for finding the small "play area" a little on the boring side. Instead we made more Christmas decorations! We now have a Christmas Tree staircase...
and a fabulous (even if I do say so myself), Reindeer Stable Door in our living room.
I love it, although it took a fair bit of time to put together. Amazing what you can do with some large pieces of thin card, a few thin branches, a black pen and some cotton wool eh?
Tomorrow we shall be Christmas baking - cake, mince pies, and a star cookie Christmas tree :))