Not the Shakespeare play, though it was the first one I studied*. The festival of Twelfth nthefeastnot the ight. It’s not really celebrated in Scotland, only seen as the day for packing away the Christmas decorations**. But in lots of countries it’s a day of celebration.

Three years ago we experienced the Arrival of the Kings in Garachico, Tenerife. We’d found ourselves a table which gave us a good view of signs of the procession making its way down the mountainside. So we sat back and enjoyed beers and the mild night until it reached the town. Then we followed it into the square for the rest of the festivities and gift distribution. We only got sweeties but long after we’d gone to bed we could hear the roll call of names as the local children received their gifts.

Then in 2018 we spent New Year, or Saint Sylvestre in Deauville and saw the traditional Galette de Roi among all the other delights on sale in patisseries***.

We brought one home and shared it with the MacStarkes on Twelfth night. And I won the bean and was “King” of the day, or what was left of it anyway.

“I don’t need a crown, I’m Queen of every day”

When MasterS lived at home we sometimes celebrated Twelfth night with a special meal and small gifts, and perhaps the last of the Christmas pudding; once we even had a “Galette de Roi” from an Edinburgh patisserie. But I hadn’t planned anything special for tonight. The tree came down at the weekend. It had been up since the beginning of December, much earlier than usual, and had started to droop. But I wasn’t ready to remove all the decorations; I needed something to brighten a winter lockdown. And the outside tree seemed to be doing well…… (See ***** below)

So I was delighted to learn that traditionally the Christmas period didn’t stop at Twelfth night, it lasted until Candlemas, the 2nd February****, when the church calendar stops counting days relative to Christmas and swaps to Easter. And then I read this tweet

Yay! That meant it was fine to leave the outside tree in place (minus the baubles), and surely I could leave on the discreet solar powered bronze lights?*****. It was a shame I’d taken down my fir wreath from the porch window, but it was made from offcuts of the inside tree and was getting a bit droopy too.

So this evening we are having a scruffy festive supper, party snacks and the smaller of my Christmas puddings. We might even have a mid week drink. And I’ve got two crackers left so we’ll both have crowns.

And in lieu of greenery I’m keeping some of the lights, as “winter” rather than Christmas ones. I’ve had some of them up since late October anyway, and feel in need of all the sparkle I can get just now.

Then tomorrow I’m going mostly back on my no cake, biscuits, or chocolate wagon until Easter. I say “mostly” because I have a box of chocolates I bought for myself which won’t last that long. And will allow me one****** each Friday, Saturday and Sunday up until Shrove Tuesday.

Whatever you’re doing tonight, and for the next few weeks, keep safe, keep well.

Until next time,

Marina xx

*We always read Shakespeare out loud in class, and parts were allocated as if we were staging the play. I was Olivia in this one.

**the packing away happens in the rest of Britain too. And it’s regarded as bad luck to have them still in place after Twelfth night.

***that little cochon de Bayeux was one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever tasted.

****which is also Groundhog day

*****discreet mostly because solar lights in winter aren’t that great an idea here, even with the unseasonal sunshine we’ve been enjoying. And they may not have survived a rather too close encounter with a deer. The wind had already snapped the white battery operated set and when I looked today the wire had been broken off from the solar battery pack. MrS has attempted repair.

****** possibly two on Saturdays, depending whether I offer to share them with MrS

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