One of the stranger things in my job as a Graphic Designer is that I start working on Christmas designs when everybody else is thinking about summer picnics and trips to the beach while the sun is shining outside (one year I had to start the first Christmas design by the end of January). By the time winter and advent has arrived I am more or less sick of snowflakes, reindeers, Christmas trees and Santas and it takes some effort to get me into that Christmas mood again. Usually visiting a Christmas market with a mulled wine (or two) and a bratwurst helps.
I missed many events because I was spoiled for choice, running out of time or some days the weather was just too bad for my taste (I don’t mind it being cold as long as it’s dry).
I always like the atmosphere at the Chester Christmas market (and I don’t mean the Winter Wonderland!) and what better way to combine a visit to the market with some late night Christmas shopping and the Winter Watch Parade.
‘A Tudor Yuletide’ at Little Moreton Hall near Congleton in Cheshire was a bit different. The warm welcome drink at the entrance was much appreciated and I learned some things as well.
‘Logically it should not still be standing up!’ but fortunately for us, Little Moreton Hall defied logic and physics for over 500 years. Also the Tudors, or those who could afford it, loved sweet flavours, a fact that sits quite well with me as I have a sweet tooth myself. I didn’t mind that the marzipan, or marchpane, looked like bacon, it was gorgeous.
Saying that, I had to discover that I am not a fan of Tudor chicken paté. The volunteer had warned me I might be in for a surprise but I wasn’t prepared for this. Rose water, almost overpowering. Because the Tudors had a sweet tooth they even wanted their chicken paté to be sweet. Thanks, but no thanks.
The German Christmas market in Birmingham is one of the biggest German markets outside of Germany. I either get my yearly fix of mulled wine, bratwurst and Quarkbällchen (plain donuts) here in Manchester. I also managed to fit in some sightseeing and shopping which is always a bonus. But as last year, some people really should think about some of the aspects I wrote down in my personal code of conduct for Christmas markets.
Wrexham had some events on offer as well. The Victorian Christmas market is always nice and this year marked the first appearance of the Coca Cola Truck in town.
Chirk Castle was the setting for a medieval Christmas market this year. Unfortunately it rained when I visited so the courtyard with the market was deserted and everybody wanted to get into the tower for come craft workshops and the grotto. It also meant I head the other rooms in the castle more or less to myself.
Finally I went to Erddig House, not for Erddig Glow which I heard was fantastic, but to take a look at some rooms that had been set up for Christmas dinner in the 1920s or 30s and all with real candles. It created a magical if quite dark atmosphere and was definitely worth the visit.
Next up, hopefully, will be the Christmas market in my hometown Bonn in Germany on its last day and I will have myself another mulled wine or Feuerzangenbowle and bratwurst.
Merry Christmas to you all!!