It was sunny, there was mulled wine and handmade mince pies... Lovely.
Our normal church was having a kids service so we popped into the cathedral. It's so festive! The choir in robes and ruffs, lighting the advent candle, 10 foot Christmas trees up the front. The only thing I kind of wish they did was incense, but they're not as 'high church' as that.
Also, WHY is it that churches uniformly don't take the opportunity of having more lovely Advent carols? "O Come, O come Emmanuel" is my favourite Christmas song and I haven't had the opportunity of singing it yet this year.
Blaise Castle Estate and Blaise Hamlet
This time we followed the signs carefully and (after a lovely scenic walk through the woods and several delightful encounters with squirrels) found our way to the top of the hill. There is a surprisingly small 'castle' built on the hill in the 1700s at the request of the rich landowner.
We also had a quick wander around the green of Blaise Hamlet. There are nine of the most riDICulously cute cottages you could imagine. Don't they look like Hobbit holes? You can see some more here.
They were built for pensioners of the Harford family who owned the estate. Imagine being so rich that the housing for your aged servants is designed by a famous architect! (John Nash, in case you're interested). They're all owned by The National Trust now but are still lived in by a few very lucky people.
On our way back to the car we stopped in at the cafe and got pulled (not at all reluctantly) into a lovely carol sing-a-long. There was quite a competant pianist and a group of about 15 from (I found out later) the local church. I had great fun doing the descants on the final verse of carols like "Once in Royal David's City" and doing the male king/ female page thing in "Good King Wenceslas".
Then we mulled lots of cider and ate the pies from the market for dinner with lots of gravy and steamed veg.
What did you do in the weekend? Nice festive things or are you just feeling frazzled?