Christmas Eve was a very strange experience. Sooty, one of our black cats had been missing for a few days and the shop was heaving. People collected the ordered goods including capons and turkeys. There was a capon missing and I argued with the butcher who told me that a chicken would do fine and I argued back that if the customer had ordered a capon I wanted a capon. ( I felt like a toddler having a tantrum). At lunchtime we descended on the pub for a well deserved beverage and then made a simple lunch for the extended family and guests.
After a small nap I decided to listen to the phone message we had not been able to deal with in the morning:
First a panic by the vicar asking whether we knew where Baby Jesus was. ( How many drinks had I had I wondered?)To explain this a little, the village children have Mary and Joseph figures to stay in their homes until Christmas Eve and as we now live directly opposite the church it made sense for us to have them to stay. In reality we gave them very little attention as we were busy but room was found in the store room for them. Indeed we had noticed that Mary was accompanied by a baby which by rights should not make its entrance into the world until after midnight that night. I was asked to bring the figures in and ' discreetly' place the baby somewhere where it could be found later.
The only sensible solution seemed to put the baby back into the figure and we took the figures back before the Carol Service and left a message with one of the choir members:
Please tell the vicar that the baby is exactly where you would expect it to be at this particular period in time.
All went well.....all was well and the usual festivities went ahead without a hitch.
Second phonecall related to Sooty who had been lost...he had wandered back to our previous home but had been greeted by 5 dogs and lived happily in the fields. He had been sighted many times. We eventually collected him in a basket and brought him home on Christmas Eve where his brother sighed........Sooty got all the attention and Magic made a lot of small sounds as if to say:
What about me, I have been good, I have been here all along and you give him all the attention.
Happy endings all around : the lost baby has been found and returned as the black cat. Time for a bit of cider and a mince pie to round the day off and early to bed. A good night's sleep was had by all apart from our guests who were awoken to the sound of churchbells ringing in the village announcing the happy birth of baby jesus. Disaster has been avoided and all is well in the village.
Shopkeepers after all can still create a bit of Magic.