I was really excited when Mum said she’d take me to the Nativity play in our village this year. I was even more excited when she told me that anyone could take part in the procession and could dress up as either an angel or a shepherd from Biblical times.
Although I like Mrs Sheeps, I quite fancied being an angel and having some big wings and a halo. But Mum said I would also have to wear a long white dress and be on my best behaviour. She also said that I’d probably trip up over my hem and say a naughty word, which wouldn’t be very angelic at all. So I settled for being a shepherd instead and she made me this lovely costume for the occasion.
When we last went to the Nativity play there were three pubs in the village and so the procession took quite a while to make its way from the first one to the last, stopping at each one to ask if there was any room for the night. But now there are only two pubs and so it doesn’t take as long to get to the park, where one of the shelters acts as the stable. There were also some shepherds waiting with some real Mrs Sheeps gathered round a little fire to keep warm.
Mum reminded me that the Three Kings and the Arch-Angel Gabriel joined in at that point and the story of the Nativity – with a real baby taking the role of the baby Jesus – was told by torch-light as the sky had gone dark by that time.
Once the story had been told, there was carol-singing in the park, followed by mince pies and coffee in the Baptist church which is just across the road.
I was looking forward to all of that, but most of all I was looking forward to seeing the donkey who would patiently carry Mary at the head of the procession. This year it was the turn of Eli, a lovely, big, grey donkey who lives in the village along with 14 other donkeys. They are all well loved and looked after by Tony and Hazel, who spent a lot of time getting Eli ready for his big role, making him look really smart and handsome.
They loaded him into his trailer and brought him to the starting point – only to find that the play had been cancelled because of the weather and nobody had thought to let them know.
Poor Eli must have been so disappointed – and so was I as I like donkeys and wanted to say hello to him and stroke his nose. However, Mum’s promised that in Spring, she’ll ask Tony and Hazel if we can go visit Eli and his friends and take lots of photos which I’ll be able to share with you.
Meanwhile Mum’s been struggling to get ready for Christmas as she managed to catch a cold on her travels and it’s laid her low for a couple of weeks. To be honest, I’m not sure how anything as small as a cold bug can flatten something as big as my mum, but for some reason it always does.
And, as you can see from the photo I made of her, it also gives her a bright red nose.
I wanted to send it to Father Christmas with a note to say that she could stand in for Rudolph if he needed a rest from pulling the sleigh. But she wouldn’t help me (and she knows I can’t reach the post box by myself!).
In fact, she got a bit cross and threatened to put me in the chip-pan, but I knew that was just an empty threat because (1) she hasn’t got a chip-pan and (2) she’s a bit scared of cooking anything that involves very hot fat, so I knew it was safe to put her picture here.
So we’re running a little bit behind this year, but at least I’ve trimmed up my den and made it look nice and Christmassy. And I went out with Mum this morning to buy a traditional pork pie for our tea tonight.
Later on we’re going to get the partridges out of the freezer, ready for Christmas dinner, when Mum’s going to cook them in a sauce made with white wine, crème fraiche and tarragon. We’re also going to start making the trifle from a recipe passed down through four generations of Mum’s family.
Then we’ll put up the cards and decorate Mum’s tree.
But, before I do that, I’d like you to listen to this Christmas carol. As you all know by now, I like Mrs Sheeps and I wanted to be a shepherd in the nativity play, so this one is very appropriate. It’s usually sung to a different tune these days. In fact, I thought that the modern tune was the original one and that singing the words of the carol to the tune of “On Ilkla’ Moor ‘baht ‘at” was just a thing we did in Yorkshire. But it turns out that this was the original tune and the words of the Yorkshire Anthem were written later to fit it. A Little Bear learns something new every day!
And with that I’d better go and let you get on with getting ready for Christmas – and, no matter how you choose to celebrate it, I hope you’ll all have a wonderful time!
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