Tuesday, 24 December 2013

On the First Day of Christmas .....

Hitchin has been in festive mood all month. The addition of the mighty galloper carousel to the Market Square last week took me back to the Christmases of my childhood in the North of England.

A trip to Belle Vue, with its funfair, zoo, and an International circus, was an essential part of Christmas for a Mancunian. As you can see from the pictures, my favourite act was the horses

There was no home-sickness amid the nostalgia. I've lived in this town for three times as long as my childhood home. My roots may be in the North, but my heart has long been in the South East.

I had a lengthy conversation with the Hitchin Town Crier.

He insiststed I snapped a close-up of his Crier's badge, explaining the significance of the coat of arms

Hitchin was a Royal Manor at the time of the Norman Conquest. The lion alludes to the town's connection to the Crown. The fleshing knife is a referencing to the old tanning industry and the sheaf of barley to the town's ancient malting activities. The crooks allude to farming and agricultural interests, while the fleece recalls the old woolen industry.

From this discussion about the Town's coat of arms, we moved on to the campaign to restore the title 'Minster' to the Parish Church.The Town Crier believed that there was a strong possibility of success until I pointed out the history  of the title Minster.  Nevertheless, St Mary's is an impressive church, the second largest in the county, maintaining a strong presence in the community it serves, especially during Christmas.

Wishing all my friends and family, wherever home may be,  a merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.