Each year my mother helps to decorate the village church for the Christmas services. St.Mary the Virgin in the village of Moreton Pinkney dates from the late 12th century and, in the winter late afternoon light, the country churchyard transports one to a different, earlier world in a flash.
Even after a degree in theology, I remain firmly in the no-idea-what-I-believe category, but I do think that community, village tradition & remembrance is important, and the thought of Christmas without carols & church is anathema to me.
The village war memorial (with whippet footprints)
Of course, we couldn't decorate without the dogs, who adore exploring the churchyard, with its flock of attendant Jacob's sheep.
Inside the church, which dates in most part from the late 12th Century, the re-built Victorian chancel is particularly beautiful, and unusual for its simplicity in an era known for its stained glass.
My mother likes her flowers in this church to reflect both its simplicity and the rural location, so no hothouse flowers, spiky gladioli and droopy carnations here, but leaves and berries collected from the lanes around the village:
And then home, skating across the thickly iced paths, for tea & buttery toasted crumpets.