Josine felt that a celebration was in order, so after work we treated ourselves to dinner at our frequent haunt: Lumley’s Café on Oxford Road, just a few doors down from our office. We entered a little after six to find the place bedecked with paper chains, paper honeycomb bells and sprigs of holly.
“Finally!” exclaimed Josine as we took our seats. “I was beginning to think that the English were skipping Christmas this year.”
“Good grief, it’s only the 11th!” I replied. “And besides, there have been Christmas window displays in the shops for a week or so. Lewis’s always puts on a good show, go and have a look there if you want to feel festive.”
“I might just do that. I don’t know, I pictured Christmas in England differently, you know? Decorated trees in people’s windows, carol singing in the streets, a brass band on every corner…. And snow.” She gazed out of the window at the evening drizzle.
I snorted. “And a cheerful Cockney urchin taking the biggest turkey in the shop to Bob Cratchit’s house? Life over here isn’t one big Charles Dickens story, you know. People won’t decorate their trees until Christmas Eve and you’ll be lucky to see any snow before the New Year.”
She sighed. “Well, I’m sure it will be swell when it finally all gets started. I’m just saying that Boston will be lit up like one big fairground by now.”
At the moment that rarest of things is happening; the time of year I’m currently writing about in a novel is the same as the actual time of year. I do find it helps a bit, actually. So, to celebrate this fact, above is a relevant snippet from Book 3. Christmas was a big deal in 1920s Britain, but nowhere near the big deal it is today. And not as big a deal as it was becoming on the other side of the Atlantic, as Josine is discovering…