We're as pleased as punch to welcome Rachel Bull as our new guest blogger. Rachel's the editor of the fantastic LiveUrbanLoveRural.com, which explores the country side of urban living. Her first post is an evocative tale of getting the train home to Yorkshire from London, to spend Christmas with her family, which will stir plenty of emotions and memories for anyone traveling to be with their loved ones over the festive period. We join Rachel in London during the run-up to Christmas...
"Right now my mind is akin to clementines stewing in homemade mulled wine - all squelched and a bit heady. I still have 25 presents to buy, several hundred work deadlines to meet and, fleetingly, I’m looking forward to joining the crazed throngs of London’s Christmas shoppers as their pack formations begin to look like a reasonable respite from the piercing cold. None of it really matters, though. Because I’m soon going to be at home in the Yorkshire countryside with just my Christmas tree, my Dad’s wine stock and the quiet for company.
"The anticipation of my annual December train journey to York starts about now. It takes that long to get psyched up for the station stampede which ensues every year without fail. There won’t be a square foot of King’s Cross station's concourse that isn’t occupied with precariously full bags and their determined owners, who are poised to sprint once the platform number is finally illuminated. It’s every man, woman and elf for themselves, then. It’s the moment when my honed urban commuting skills come into their own and I simply have to run. It’s merciless, it’s exciting, and I submit to it every year because once I push through the train doors and hurl myself and my now ripped bags into a seat, Christmas can begin. I leave my city stresses on the platform.
"Although it’ll be dark, I can always tell when the landscape starts to alter; when the fields and sheep replace the concrete, and the air changes. My Dad will be there, as always, on the platform to meet me. My heart will start to hurry with expectation when the train pulls in, when the two Western towers of York Minster come into view. And because I know that when I see my Dad we’ll instinctively re-enact our favourite scene from The Railway Children – when Roberta, the eldest child (as I am), is reunited with her Daddy. It will make us both cry a little. Then I’ll breathe that rich, fresh, drinkable air that doesn’t exist in the capital, and know I’m home.
"Despite having travelled 200 miles north, I have to remember to pack t-shirts as Dad insists on having the heating set to ‘tropical’ at Christmas. It seems to get warmer every year – such the opposite of my draughty Victorian flat. What we put up with for the sake of period features.
"I won’t have long to become acclimatised, however, as I’ll be hankering for a drive deep into the countryside. We might go out to Arncliffe, in the nearby Yorkshire Dales, to see family and pay The Falcon Inn a visit, where the beer is served from a barrel scooped into a jug – nothing’s on draft – and everyone, whether we know them or not, will talk to us. Two years ago the snowfall was so heavy we even made an igloo on the green. It remains the talk of the village, so I’m told. Then we’ll return over the soft, shivering hills and my heart will swell with the comfort and quiet pride my country home gives to me, especially at Christmas time."
Look for more by Rachel on The Simple Things.com in the New Year, and do explore LiveUrbanLoveRural.com, we love it!
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