Saturday, December 22, 2012

In the deep mid winter....where?

The UK village has an annual Christmas Fayre, which I have not previously attended, but because of the link I am trying to build with the school in France, we did.

What met us was a sight to behold. The village was alive & alight with people, activities and a spectacular sparkle of Christmas lights. Stalls selling all manner of Christmas goods lined the small street and smells of hog roast, hot chocolate and happiness filled the air.
So, taking the photo opportunity we set off; regaled by Christmas carolers,  calls to buy holly wreaths, glittery cards and home made sweets.

 With stall holders dressed in festive guise and children everywhere sporting flashing antlers, fairy wings or Santa hats, it was really something.

We took cake and refreshment from the village hall and chatted in awe over mince pies and mulled wine in the church (yes and it was even sold over the font).

Here a series of tableau's depicting 'Silent Night' were mesmerising and almost medieval with the church so alive with people & conversation.

When suddenly it struck us, it all felt very French! so why did this bejewelled Peak village so remind us of France? simple, the people.

People,families & community all out to enjoy, meet,
celebrate & have fun.
It was surreal and, as I viewed the scene through the camera, a small voice cried out
 " Bonjour Madame Machin !". 
As I looked up I was not sure which country I would be looking into. What I saw were the eyes and  beaming smile of a child,full of wonder !               Joyeux Noel

Not a letter from Santa...

And so I visited the English village school with my carefully prepared lesson & letters from the children in France. What I didn't expect was the children's response, it blew me away.

 I took large photos of groups from the French class, so the English kids could see who had authored the missives and this captivated the children.

Spontaneously and very seriously, when given a letter they stood up to read them. Now the English was simple, the style repetitious and the illustrations brief, but these letters were handled with a sort of reverence.

 Why? Well I think these children knew just how difficult it had been for their French counterparts to achieve this and they valued it. They appreciated the effort, the neatness and the personal nature of the  drawings and each child held onto the letter  and wanted to re-read was really touching.

So it seems children are the same all over; they love the personal, the real,  the 'learning that comes from life'.
And that day ,a set of small hands reached, some 500 miles over the channel, and touched some English youngsters hearts.