... or toes, ears a-tinglin' with the sound of bell-ringers, nostrils a-twitchin' with the whiffs of mulled wine, hot dogs and popcorn. Can only mean one thing - the annual Tankerton Christmas Fair in and around the lovely Whitstable Castle and grounds. Fast becoming one of my favourite gigs of the year, helped by it being a) only 3 minutes from home, b) a chance to catch up with friends and neighbours (including those we were out on the razz with in Whitstable only last night!) and c) full of the kind of traders that I would happily work alongside every day of the week - fun, funny, helpful, and happy to share their hot drinks and home-baked bread puddings :) The whole day was bright, crisp and even, the frost staying put on the bowling green right through till dusk, blimmin freezing cold but no doubt added to the atmosphere. Helped along by the actual, genuine (he assured me) Whitstable-dwelling Father Christmas and his Hoodeners, paying a visit.
So, that's the last of our 2012 off-site stalls now over. Time to get properly stuck in to the run-up to the Festive season in the shop. Sarah McLachlan and Diana Krall Christmas albums handy, mulled cider at the ready, taster bottle of Brandy and Butterscotch Liqueur on standby for mid-afternoon tots in the coffee; stocked up with cat food for when the farm mog comes a'callin each morning (who then spends the rest of the day curled up in front of the heater behind the cash desk). Not wanting to go too bonkers with the decorations but adding to them slowly on a daily basis, so the place looks like Santa's Grotto by Christmas Eve. Wondering how come every year (and this is our sixth) I spend £££s on decorations, lights etc and it never looks enough... and why the solar-powered led lights I got for a song on Groupon still don't work (maybe the clue is in there somewhere ..). And of course ordering far too much stock in a panic mid-way through the month and still looking at most of it (and the invoices that came with it) at the end of January. At which point the dulcet tones of Ms Moira Stewart kick in again, reminding me that - yet again - I've left our tax returns to the last minute despite last year's good intentions. Gosh, where DID 2012 disappear to???