December 22nd: Small Town Boy
For me, the run up to Christmas feels impossibly long and drawn out. Why is it then that the closer I get to December 25th the faster the time goes? I spent all morning and all day yesterday washing, ironing, shopping, delivering, collecting, tidying, sorting, arranging, decorating and generally being a domestic God in order that the house looks perfects for a few days. Even that time period might be optimistic given Mrs Moo is now less than 100 miles away and moving rapidly towards Broadstairs. Not a single gift has been wrapped so I have my work cut out over the next two days.
I am not a city boy, but increasingly I realise I do not belong in the country either. I am a small town boy through and through. I like to live somewhere where I know enough people but can maintain some degree of anonymity; in a place where almost everything I might need, on a basic level at least, is accessible on foot. Where I live nothing is much further away that ten minute’s stroll away. Within that radius are all my favourite shops, two supermarkets, a garden centre, a cinema, the train station, two post-offices, three beaches, multiple restaurants and tens of pubs. Even when I had a car and visited only at weekends I didn’t use the car unless I absolutely had to.
The nicest part of my weekend is shopping on a Saturday morning. The experience is so quaint that it’s almost Dickensian. I go from shop to shop – the butcher, the baker, the greengrocer, the ironmonger, the haberdasher – stopping for a little chat in each. It means a lot to me that these specialists, many of them established for decades, still exist. I am ardent supporter of shopping locally, preferring the personal service and expertly edited choice on offer from people who have a vested interest in their business. Even our tiny branch of Tesco is run more like a local shop than a multinational chain. Winter is a hard time for shops in a seaside town, so I try to do as much of my Christmas shopping locally as I can.
I am fortunate that The Watch House is tucked away in an unassuming little back street used mainly by the local taxi firm, tourists heading to the beach from the carpark and visitors to a neighbouring gym. The local drunkards seem to have forgotten about it, which is a blessing, as they are the only people capable of disturbing my sleep. Even they are drowned out by the sound of the wind in the trees outside my bedroom window.
In just two hours I will bid farewell to my own company for twelve days. My guests are speeding on their way from Cornwall and will soon fill the house with noise, laughter and festive clutter. We will make the most of the town – its walks, its hostelries, its friendly atmosphere – until 2019 is firmly upon us. Until then I feel no need to venture far beyond that 10 minute radius; my small town sanctuary, my little Broadstairs bubble. TFG.
24 comments On "Advent Thought For The Day: 22"
Broadstairs is lucky to have you!!
I know you put in the miles during your commute, but it really sounds like you live somewhere so idyllic. Make the most of the Christmas storm; calm waters will be upon us again before we know it.
Happy Christmas Dan…
with buckets of love, Jo xx
It’s a special place for sure. Thank you for the love and warm wishes. Dan
My niece Martha!
This advent thought for the day series is a lovely idea, especially because Christmas is an ideal time to reflect. Very much enjoyed your musings on small towns. Enjoy being away from your computer for a while, and have a lovely Christmas!
Thank you Francesca. I shall be taking a break from Christmas Day until New Year’s Eve to focus on friends, family and the year ahead. Then I’ll be back! Happy Christmas to you. Dan
I have been a silent admirer of yours over several years. However, I am now moved to say how much I have enjoyed your thoughtful and most interesting musings over this Christmas period. Broadstairs and, indeed, John Lewis are fortunate to have you. Happy Christmas!
That’s kind of you to say Jill, thank you. I have enjoyed writing the advent posts. As an exercise it’s kept me on my toes, but I’ve also learned a lot along the way, which has always been my main objective.
Thank you for breaking your silence at this special time of year. I wish you a very Happy Christmas and the best for 2019. Dan
Sounds lovely and happy Christmas. I have greatly enjoyed reading your Advent articles- thank you! Marianne
My pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to read them. Dan
One’s home is a lovely bubble, especially in winter, and especially with house guests to share it with. Merry Christmas!
I love my home at all times, but at Christmas it is really special. I’d go as far as to say magical. I think it’s the theatre of all the tiny lights and sparkling decorations. Feels so cosy and welcoming.
Merry Christmas to you too! Dan x
Have a good time with the family and thanks for all your entertaining posts and helpful plant advice throughout the year! Cheers Dan! Anne xx
My pleasure. You too Anne. I am already reeling from the shock of having a house full!
Happy Christmas and a lot of joy and quality time with your family and friends Dan. You deserve it 🙂
Enjoy your paradisal bubble. You deserve a place to rest and regenerate full of love and laughter. Happy happy….
Your posts have been a joy in what has been a rather grim month to now. I understand what you mean about a small town. I have pretty much always lived in the suburbs, then in two very different, but similar small towns where I could walk to all the amenities I needed. Now in the countryside we rely on the car to get out – even the nearest bus stop is well over a mile away and not easily to walk to. I think at some point we will have to move to a town again.
Enjoy your time with the family, they are lucky to have you as their host, your house sounds amazing!
Small towns are wonderful. My favourite place to live has been Tenterden, for the same reasons. You can’t help but feel connected with your community, and it is amazing how you can buy everything you need within a 10 minute walk. Have a lovely Christmas with your family.
Walking around town to do one’s errands is a joy. I’m lucky to be in a small town too.
You’ve given us all a gorgeous Christmas present with your posts.
A Lovely summary of the place you live….. and a lovely reminder of how lucky we are to be able to stay with you
Hello Dan, I too have been a silent admirer of your musings for some time and feel that it is time to tell you how much I enjoy keeping up with your blog, being a keen gardener myself. Your Advent posts have truly been the ‘icing on the cake’, I thank you and wish you a wonderful Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year.
That is most kind. I have not done a lot of gardening this month but am looking forward to getting back to it between Christmas and New Year. I still have tulips to plant – shocking!! Wishing you a very Happy Christmas. Dan
Dearest Dan… and this is exactly why I live where I live….forget the suburbs…unfortunately I need to drive not a ten minute walk … but still love the community, the tranquility and the fresh air. Happy Christmas….. xxxxx