Last weekend the Victorians took over Borchester. Yes, once a year the city gets whisked back in time a little over a century, like a latter-day bakwards Brigadoon*. The astonishing thing is that they-- the Victorians that is-- seem to have managed to cope with the exchange rate and decimalization very well, so hardly any of them expect to be paid in groats for their tin-plate toys, olde tyme candies, organic free range tofuburgers and the like.
Oh, and hardly any of them say "Lawks", "Dearie", or sing songs telling of heart-rending poverty and privation to plangent melodies. They do still mostly smell of gin and mothballs though.
Still on the plus side they seem to have managed to leave behind the cholera, smallpox, rickets and such, and hardly any of them perform ripper-style atrocities.
Which makes you stop and think just how far we have come from the days of high infant mortality, tragically short life expectancy, the work-house, and rampant untreatable infectious diseases. (Although that last one is looking to rear it's ugly head again as we speak).
One other alarming feature of the Victorian invasion is the magnetic effect it has on little old ladies from Wales. Indeed, from empirical experience I doubt if there was a woman over the age of fifty left in the Principality this weekend as they were bussed in to Borchester for the festivities in their droves. I'm guessing they find some of the "new-fangled", "modern" contraptions the Victorians have to offer quite a draw.
Later on this same weekend we had the honour of being invited to a friends Significant Birthday Bash. At this lavish extravaganza (first Jesterly encounter with a chocolate fountain) we got to see fomer flatmates not seen for upwards of two decades. There's something reassuring about seeing a marquee full of "middle-aged" folk still thrashing about the dance floor like the teenagers we all were. Although, looking around at our teenage offspring's reactions, they seem to have found it less so.
After all this excitement it was something of a wrench to have to come back to work in the trenches again, but I get the feeling we have kicked this particular feastive season off in fine style (and that's with no more than this passing reference to our Friday night trip to the Nutcracker which got the whole weekend started). So, sorry if it took me a while to recover, but normal curmudgeonly service will now be resumed.
Now, how do you go about getting a humbug under a chocolate fountain then....
* might need a few more "g"s or "d"s here?