For years I've promised to get myself to the annual lighting of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, but each year we were either away somewhere lovely or managed to forget about the ceremony until definitely too late. Every time.
I was determined that this year was going to be different. I spent a good hour or two in late October attempting to establish when the switching on ceremony would happen, failed, tried again thanks to a helpful calendar note in November, failed, tried again on the morning of the 1st of December to successfully learn that each year the lighting ceremony is conducted on the first Thursday in December. Huzzah!
Setting myself a reminder in the diary, I also managed to book myself in for a long overdue cocktails catch up, but instead of giving into a slump of festive failure (consoling myself with gallons of mulled cider and iced mince pies) calculated that with a fair wind and a working tube network I would make my cocktail date with time to spare.
It's a little long...
Cuddled in my parka, with an e-book to keep me company, I joined the crowds eagerly awaiting the fanfare (Britain just does pomp & circumstance better than everywhere in the world). We had brass band Christmas carols, Norwegian sopranos and a few fairly short addresses by Norwegian notables, reminding us of the reason for the Tree. (Essentially, it is a thank you gift from Norway to Britain for helping their country out in World War Two and a specially selected tree has been floated from Oslo to London annually ever since).
Before we knew it, the Norwegian Princess had popped the switch and voila!
Finally, my London Christmas mission complete!
Alas, I was late meeting my lovely cocktail date, but she understood - one of the joys of expat pals. They understand the strange and wonderful things we all want to do...