Rodents rule

By squirk

Santa's here!

I jumped out of bed early, packed my broom and walked down the road to Retro Village for 7.30. The frost was heavy on the cars, but with my big DMs, the pavements didn't prove to be slippy. As a wise precaution, I wore woollen tights, two pairs of socks, thermal trousers, jeans, two jumpers, a coat, scarf, hat and gloves, and my fluorescent orange Feast tabbard. It was cold enough to freeze the coffee on the lid of my mug, but I wasn't in danger of frostbite.

Down at Retro, the stalls had been set out, but the forecourt badly needed a sweep to clear it of leaves, sweet wrappers (some with the sweets still in them - I wasn't tempted) and fag ends. The first stallholders arrived near 8am and by 10, we were ready for trading. The big news of the day was that the sun had his hat on and the sky was a beautiful blue. Most of the Feasts this year have endured rainfall, some of which was very heavy indeed, so the sun was extremely welcome. Out of the sun, it was chilly, and we had to keep moving (despite the many layers) to warm up our feet.

The day was very busy with visitors, especially the kids who concentrated on their colouring in around my information table. I can report that many beautiful Christmas decorations will be placed on Christmas trees around West Norwood, probably for years to come!

At midday, Santa and his elves arrived and we all danced and sang with them. Following the magic of Santa was our first vintage fashion show - an idea by one of the stallholders. It was really great fun and I can't thank those gorgeous girls enough for standing in the cold. Brrrr.

I managed a wee wander around the other zones of the Feast. Food was really busy, as usual, but I headed down to Gardeners' Corner to eat the pancakes there - I'd heard good things about that nosh - and picked up some popcorn, too. The Christmas plants looked wonderful, as did some of the local produce, from chutneys to honey. The Artisans' Market had many wonderful creations. I'm going to buy myself a West Norwood T-shirt sometime soon. This Feast, however, I'm poorer to the tune of several vintage Christmas cards, some white DMs and a pair of sad/grumpy ornamental dogs.

See if you can spot the dogs, twice, on this set of photos from today.

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