So here it is, Merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun
When you hear that song for the first time as it gets towards the back end of November – it really means only one thing! It’s time for a big Christmas lights celebration – involving decorating this “old lady” tandem for the festive season ahead, and singing along at an outdoor extravaganza with Slade and Abba!
Yes I know that not many of my blog posts start with an intro like that … so let me explain…
As some of you will know the “old git” is a bit of a Christmas zealot so there was much excitement in Matilda’s Rest this weekend as Saturday night was the big Christmas lights switch on in nearby Perth – with some golden oldie pop stars topping the bill.
But before that, the “old git” decided he would decorate this “old lady” with some fancy Christmas lights for the festive season ahead – despite the deep reservations held by the “old gal” as to whether this was actually a good idea.
But when the “old git” gets an idea into his head – there is no stopping him! So when he discovered that Poundland were selling strings of battery operated led Christmas lights and small fibre optic trees he just had to make a purchase – and yes, they were priced at £1 a set, incidentally!
He invested a few pounds on a collection and returned to Matildas Rest to show off his purchases – with the idea of decorating my ageing frame. As I say the “old gal” was somewhat less enthusiastic – but knew that resistance was futile!
So she humoured him instead telling him it was a great idea and to “go for it”! Well the “old git” likes a bit of encouragement – so on Saturday morning he spent some time attaching these battery operated lights to my frame. But only after going to the local hardware store to buy cable ties – which always gets a funny look ever since that film!
Anyway I have to say he actually made a good job of it – believe it or not – and I now look extremely festive sporting a set of ice blue led lights along my top bar, and two sets of multi-coloured led lights to my z frame. The finishing tough was a “classy” red fibre optic mini Christmas tree for the handlebars!
And it would have to be said that when the “old gal” saw the finished result – she changed her tune and was actually quite impressed! Yes, really!
Now there is no point in decorating for Christmas if you are kept in the garage, so the “old git” told me the plan was to go out for a ride-out on Sunday to show off my new lights – weather permitting as there was some heavy frost and fog forecast.
But before that my dynamic duo had the mega excitement of the big Christmas light switch on event in Perth – about 12 miles from Matilda’s Rest.
The city was absolutely buzzing when the “old git” and the “old gal” arrived early evening, along with good friends Ann and Jack – enjoying a walk through the Chocolate Festival on the way to the main stage.
This was effectively a Farmers Market style event of local chocolatiers selling everything from tasty and unusual chocolate flavours to wonderful hot chocolate drinks and even a chocolate mint gin!
Yes the idea is that it is served with a mint Matchmaker as a swizzle stick and perhaps a couple of After Eights as ice cubes! The “old git” had to pull the “old gal” away – but only after a few tastings and purchasing a bottle – so they could get to the main stage where the light switch on event is now effectively in the form of a mini music festival.
And the headline attraction this year were Slade and it seems the “old gal” and the “old git” enjoyed bopping away and singing along to an hour-long set – including that Merry Christmas Everybody song that everyone knows!
It was a bitterly cold frosty evening but my crew were wrapped up with their thermals on and the “old gal” even found enough movement in her hand to take a selfie video of them embarrassing themselves in sing-along-to-Slade mode! (Remember if you are reading this on email, you need to click on the blog first – via the link at the bottom of the email – to view the video.)
And for those interested it was the real Slade – although there was no Noddy Holder as he has decided he won’t perform with the band again – and indeed will never sing the famous Christmas hit again. But the band did feature original members Dave Hill and Don Powell.
And they certainly got a very enthusiastic reception from the thousands who gathered in front of the huge open air stage and big screens in Perth’s Tay Street as they belted out hit after hit including Mama We’re All Crazy Now and Come on Feel the Noise.
After the rousing version of the Christmas favourite, there was the countdown to the light switch on – when a wonderful firework display magically lighting up the River Tay.
Later on the main stage, a highlight was going to be a set by rapper Professor Green – but my dynamic duo decided they were too old for that – and the appeal of an Abba tribute band on another stage was too strong!
The only downside of a wonderful event at the main stage was a crowd crush as those who enjoyed Slade tried to leave – at the same time as those wanting to see Professor Green tried to get in. Unfortunately it all got a bit chaotic – with crash barriers blocking the exit and no announcements being made to the crowd as to what they should do – as the crowds behind tried to push forward.
Eventually the jobs-worth security people saw sense and decided to remove a few barriers to ease the crush, which must have been even more frightening for families with young children in buggys.
The “old git” says it was a shame as it had the potential to turn into something much more dangerous – and could easily have been solved with a bit of pre-planning with a clear exit route which was separate from the entrance route. Hopefully the organisers will take note for next year.
After finally managing to extricate themselves from the crush, my dynamic duo enjoyed a quick drink in the new Venue Gin Bar, before moving to the smaller stage outside Perth Concert Hall for a performance by The Abba Experience, which was a tribute to the girls of Abba.
Now Knowing Me, Knowing You, it would need to be said that the “old git” is a bit of a Dancing Queen when it comes to Abba and he is really a bit of a Souper Trouper when it comes to Dad-dancing along to their songs – although some spectators thought it was his Waterloo!
But as enjoying themselves was The Name of the Game they certainly did – and they even said Thank You for the Music as the tribute act ended to a great ovation from the crowd.
Now, in previous years the local organisers have kind of messed up the Christmas Lights event but all credit to them, last year they changed things round and this year they got it spot on – the crowding issue excepted. There was truly something for all ages to enjoy. Check out more details of their related Winter Festival events here.
So after a good blast back in time with Abba tunes still ringing in my dynamic duo’s heads, it was time to head next door to Kisa’s for a very welcome glass (or two!) of wine and a very tasty meal – before heading back to the warmth of Matilda’s Rest for some zzzs ahead of the grand unveiling of my festive lights!
Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse overnight and Sunday dawned with a very hard frost and distinctly chilly with the thermometer refusing to budge above freezing. Then just as the sun came out and it looked like Team Matilda would be able to venture out, a thick freezing fog came down and made visibility almost non existent.
So the ride had had to be abandoned and I had to cool my wheels in the garage – instead of being out on the open road. The unexpected spare time did however allow the “old git” to put the finishing touches to a video montage he had been working on of our amazing Le Tour de Loire Valley du Tandem back in September – featuring lots of pictures of the trip set to music.
Looking at the final video, it brought back wonderful memories for all three of us and left us dreaming of being back in the sun-kissed French countryside, tandeming through vineyards against a backdrop of fabulous chateaux, going from wine tasting to wine tasting, and of course our now infamous Team Tandem Ecosse cremant picnics!
It seems I am to be parked outside the “old gal’s” hair salon to add a festive touch. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep all week for the excitement! And I know the “old git” will be equally excited. He is even trying to persuade the “old gal” that a quick ride up and down the high street complete with Christmas jumpers and Santa hats would be a fab idea!
So watch this space! Ho! ho! ho!