The George Hotel and St Marys Church.
It's Christmas Eve already; I can't believe it! Where has the time gone? I've just one last post to squeeze in before tomorrow, so I better put down my glass of mulled wine and mince pie and get typing I suppose...
I have always been a bit of a mud monkey. I grew up an unkempt and dusty footed child running about semi feral on my parent's self-sufficient smallholding. When I finally flew the nest I chose to become an archaeologist and spent even more time playing in the mud. As a result I am not particularly known for my immaculate and lady like appearance. However, I must now make a confession to you... I love all the girly stuff! Even though more often than not you will find me in a pair of steel toecaps, I really do adore putting on a pair of good boots and a skirt and attempting to be a polite young lady.
I am also a closet lover of colour and glitter despite never having worn anything other than black until I reached my 20's (except for my hair of course which was pink and caused my mother many years of deep embarrassment)! I am know to several of my friends as "The Glitter Fairy" and have been cursed countless times over the years for sending cards with hidden glitter bombs inside (I send repeat bombs to those who complain the most about the mess it makes). Christmas therefore is a time I really adore with its festive lights and sparkly decorations. A riot of colour makes me beam from ear to ear, and lets face it in the bleak British midwinter, an explosion of colour really is a welcome sight.
In a bid to be more refined this years Christmas money has rather unusually all been blown on a designer handbag. A thing I have never owned before and behold in awe. Yesterday I went Christmas shopping in Stamford. It was the first time I had taken my new baggywag out. I thought for some time about all the things I should put in my lovely soft, new girly bag...lipstick, mascara, a pretty compact etc. etc. Then I carefully opened it up and shoved my digital camera in it. Admittedly it was a bit of a struggle, they just don't seem to be designed for large digital SLR's but I managed it in the end and off I trotted. Well VP is having a special sparkly festive edition of "Out on the Streets" so how could I not join in?
The side of The George and view of St Martins Church in distance.
I'm rather fond of Stamford. It is a little glimmer of civilisation in the gritty expanse that is South Lincolnshire. In Medieval times it was a centre for the bustling wool trade in the area and it's wealth was displayed in its 14 churches (11 of which still remain). Much of the town's architecture however springs from the Georgian period. In 1660 improvements to the Great North Road and the towns waterways meant that anyone travelling north had to pass through the town. Prosperous merchants were attracted to the town and the medieval coaching inns such as The George became nationally renowned. The George Hotel still does a roaring trade. It's rather a fun hotel to stay in and if you are looking for a treat I heartily recommend it. I usually start my shopping at this end of town. There is a somewhat eclectic antiques centre at the top of the hill near St Martins Church, which is always worth a quick browse. From there I trot down the hill, past The George and along the streets, which are filled with an array of independent shops and boutiques.
Window boxes at the front of The George.
The George had several Christmas trees both inside and out. On the street it had a row of window boxes filled with ivy, variegated hebe's, cyclamen and winter pansies which were all slightly the worse for wear after the heavy snow we've had, but still providing a splash of green against the Lincolnshire limestone walls. The hotel was richly decorated on the inside. I quickly snuck in and had a peek; it was bustling and full of people in high spirits. Every room was elaborately decorated with festive decorations. Giant baubles hung from the ceiling in the bar, one lounge had holly going all the way up the wall and across the ceiling running into the large iron chandelier hanging from it. I must admit it all felt very jolly and the courtyard where you can usually sit out and dine in the summer looked exceptionally pretty dusted in snow with Christmas trees on either side of it.
One of the downstairs rooms in The George
Entrance of The George.
One of the dining areas in The George.
Christmas tree in The George.
The Courtyard of The George
Stamford looked beautiful yesterday. A veritable winter wonderland with its snow covered parks, icy rivers and icicle laden shop fronts. For once it really did feel like I was doing some proper Christmas shopping!
Shops with icicles.
I am also rather fond of the Christmas lights in Stamford. They are colourful and jolly and there are none of those dreadful blue and white LED lights that are draped around so many of the towns I have visited this Christmas. I guess I'm a traditional lass at heart, I like the bells and the holly leaves in yellows and reds and greens. All this modern plain blue and white stuff just leaves me feeling sad and cold. If a town is going to the bother of putting up festive lights then I really do believe they should make them bright and cheerful, isn't that the whole essence of Christmas after all?
St Johns Church and Christmas trees.
High Street with St Michael's Church.
High Street view with St Michael's Church.
So there we have it, Stamford at Christmas. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. All that remains now is for me to get back to my mulled wine and wish you all a very merry Christmas from everyone at Tumbledown.