Thursday, 24 December 2009

Glitter, Dirt and All Things Nice: Out on the Streets in Stamford.

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 

Frozen park.

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.

Shop window


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.



Juliet said...

Happy Christmas, glitter fairy! ;)

Noelle Johnson said...

Have a very Merry Christmas RO!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Merry Christmas to you! I enjoyed your post, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I was charmed by your images of Stamford. Like you, I love the traditional colors for Christmas lights. Wishing you, your parents, and the cats the happiest of Christmases. -Jean

Rothschild Orchid said...

Merry Christmas xxx

Esther Montgomery said...

I once had a pub-lunch in Stamford - a break in a hitch-hike ride with a driver who was doing a ton down the A1. A friend later sent me a black and white postcard from Stamford of a houseing estate with 1960s cars parked in the kerb. I got the impression that was all there is to it so your post is illuminating. (I think . . . it isn't very wide ranging in its praise!)

I'm not sure if your cat looks proud or indignant to be dressed up as Father Christmas. It might explain how he goes down chimneys.

Have a very Happy Christmas, couth or uncouth. Looking forward to reading more from you in 2010.


Rothschild Orchid said...

And a very Merry Christmas to you too Esther :o)

When there are so few towns of real character in this part of the country you soon learn appreciate those with a little spark in them.

Stamford is also home to one of the best amateur open air Shakesphere companies and Burghley House one of the finest Elizabethan Houses in the U.K. built by William Cecil in the mid 1500's

I will hopefully tell you a little more about that next year.

Right, I must get back to the kitchen and those brussel sprouts for now...

Gail said...

Merry Christmas! What a delight village and tour~I had a wonderful time! You must show us how to make glitter bombs! gail

Barry said...

Oh what a wonderful treat for this Christmas morn. I felt as though I should see the Cratchitt family..... the history in the architecture is fabulous! Thank you for this wonderful tour. Methinks we could create a terror on a shopping escapade! Glitter! Its been years! LOL!!!

Bay Area Tendrils said...

I'm sold on Stamford! Booking a flight ;-))
If only ....

Nell Jean said...

Merry Christmas, it's a time for glitter and lights and all things bright, deep in December.

Autumn Belle said...

Very very beautiful pictures. Wishing you a Happy and Very Merry Christmas!

Randy Emmitt said...

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas! I really enjoyed the street tour especially the courtyard photo. Have an exciting New years!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the fun tour of Stamford. I love how glittery your photos are, Glitter Fairy!! (I love glitter also!)

leavesnbloom said...

Lovely photos - I've never been to Stamford before. The George looks lovely and cozy and welcoming inside. We've no icicles here yet - there's never been the slightest thaw in a week - those ones were so long. I can so relate to steel cap boots - I got a new pair a few weeks ago with waterproof thermal linings - so glad that I did for this scottish winter. Mine become like slippers to me. But it was really good to dress up yesterday.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Found you through blotanical. What lovely photos. This was very special. Thanks for sharing and Happy Holidays! :)

Carol said...

How rich in texture and history! I love the courtyard pics and the park... Looks like such a fun way to have started the holidays! Carol

Town Mouse said...

Merry Christmas! Boy, a street with shops will beat a silly mall any day, and especially on Christmas.

Great photos!

Unknown said...

What a pretty town! Not having ever been to Great Britain (or even not so great Britain, wherever that might be, lol) I enjoy reading blogs from the UK to give me more insight into geography elsewhere. Got a good chuckle out of the sign with 'Halifax' on it (I'm in Nova Scotia). Hope it was a good Christmas for you and yours, especially the cat kids.

janie said...

Great post, RO. I am taking a little time to read and comment tonight. I love glitter too, and I do love girlie things, even though I am like you and more apt to be wearing steel toed boots, and working in the field.

My little grand daughter gave me quite a start on Christmas Day. She appeared with Turquoise Hair, and looked very beautiful, too. I have had my share of pink hair, or red, but not turquoise! My grand daughter is now 18 years old and can do whatever she wants; she says that quietly, when her Mama is not in the room. LOL

Happy New Year, RO!

Judybec said...

VERY BEAUTIFUL!!!! You made my evening seeing these lovely photos -- I'd love to visit sometime!!
Happy holidays to you!!

Anna said...

I really enjoyed your post RO - Stamford is the last stop before home when I travel down south by train :) It's been years since I visited but I must remedy that soon. Hope that you had a good Christmas.

HappyMouffetard said...

A belated merry Christmas to you, RO, and wishing you a happy and healthy 2010. Stamford looks gorgeous in its Christmas clothing, and you've done a great job for the tourist office - I want to visit!

janerowena said...

I can certainly vouch for the RO's glitterbombs...I'm still picking bits out of the bedroom carpet!

Andrea said...

Very elegant photos. Thanks for those as if i was able to be in that place, wherever it is!

VP said...

I'm feeling guilty because it's taken me so long to catch up with this post! However, it was worth the wait and most cheersome on this snowy morning. I'm with you on cheerful lights and Stamford's are certainly quality ones. I love the decorated arches in The George too!

Thanks for your OOTS contribution - a great one as usual.

I'll sort out the Ely one which strayed into Mr Linky :)

I've just found out the daughter of a great friend of mine has just finished her PhD in Environmental Archaeology - it's a small world!

Rothschild Orchid said...

Er yes, sorry about Mr Linky. I was quaffing the mulled wine and not paying too much attention when I did it *hangs head in shame*

It is a small world. Archaeology in particular, you can't sneeze without everyone knowing!

Thanks for stopping by,

RO :o)

Ohhh was that a grumble Jane?....*makes mental note to send Jane another glitter bomb*