Well, the lights are on; the festivities of the Switch-On day are behind us. Phew!
The previous Sunday saw the whole of the day with one machine erecting and dressing the main Christmas tree, and the three small trees to the side. The tree came from Dinmore – it is a great tree. The gap in the rear is because it grew by the hedge! But that suits us rather well. Rock Caravan Park very kindly paid for it, which is a most generous gesture – hence the small sign at the base. Machine No 2 saw to the remaining set pieces, installing the new lamps by the leisure centre and in Pump Street (those came from Blackpool, for which many thanks for letting us buy them) and checking all the trips and feeds, and measuring our current consumption (for the record, it is 80% down from the peak, all due to LED lamps).
Meanwhile, David Wilkins was finishing off “Merry Christmas Bromyard”, and it was duly erected on Friday night! The basic frame was an old piece obtained from Blackpool, which was stripped back to bare metal, new “BROMYARD” letters made from aluminium, and welded on by Roo; then new 24v LED ropelight was fitted, a new Arduino controller designed by Jez Slater, built and programmed by David, and there you are. It works, and many people seemed to notice it was new. The best part of three weeks work.
The switch-on day was hard work, but all went well. The Grotto has seen its last outing in Twyning Street. This superb creation by Brian Johnson and his wife Judy has been built up by the “Grotto Crew” every year, fitted out, and later dissembled. A few days earlier, a large gang of Santa’s Helpers, helped by the odd glass of vino, spent a long evening wrapping the presents. The crew of elves and others were perished by the time the last visitor had left, but it was a truly joyful experience. Brian feels that the time has come to pass the Father Christmas Grotto on, and we have all given Brian and Judy a huge vote of thanks for a superb job well done.
Bill Holden did an excellent speech, backed up by the Mayor, the Chairman of the Chamber, Roger Page, and Toni McDonald from the BBC, standing on a substantial podium erected every year by Pete Goodson. Thankfully, the lights went on without a hitch – followed by a sprint around town by the brigade to try and get all eleven feeds on before the crowd caught up with them! The nicest of experiences for some of us is meeting the crowds coming up town, and hearing the comments. It does make you realise it is well and truly worth it.
Now it is nightly checks, and hopefully not too many outings with the cherry picker to correct faults. Last year we managed to only need one outing, and let us hope the same is true this year. All too soon, twelfth night will be with us!