Andy Fox came around to drop off the last of a series of mounted prints that now adorn the walls of my new home, and casually mentioned that he and his wife, Debbie were going to the switching on of the Christmas Lights in Ampthill that evening, and this struck me as a good way to spend the late afternoon and early evening as it was generally well-attended and a good show.
Since my arrival was not likely to be all that early I decided not to chance going too far into Ampthill to park, but I do need all the exercise I can get, so I parked just off the A507, giving myself a fair trek to reach the town centre; I soon found I had been overly cautious, as it soon became apparent I could have parked far closer, but I was not going to waste time and petrol to make the change. It also gave me a chance to add to my stock of images of autumn and textures.
The central roundabout had the access to the High Street barricaded off to make it a pedestrian thoroughfare and the Sainsburys car park had become a funfair with stalls, rides and charity tents and was filling with people when I arrived, and though the afternoon was cold, it was still bright and families were along full of the festive spirit. The decorations were mainly confined to shop windows, and the lighting scheduled to be lit were not extravagant, but that mattered not a jot – the atmosphere engendered by the throngs of people was all that mattered and the street was a happy place with chattering children and shiny balloons depicting Minions, Mickey Mouse, Super heroes and Ponies, and it was not long before one was lost to the sky, but I did not hear the sounds of crying for its loss, just a few adults remarking that it was on its way to the stars!
There was dancing and music playing in the run-up to the count down and dusk began encroaching very gradually with the crowd density increasing in direct proportion to the darkening of the sky. As I recorded the scene unfolding I spared a thought for such gatherings on the continent realising just how fragile was this peaceful scene I was witnessing, and I wondered how many of those present sensed those same sentiments – if they did, it certainly did not show or dampen their spirits, for which I was grateful. It is however worth at least understanding how tenuous this grip on everyday normality really is at this time, whilst not becoming despondent and fearful.
I enjoyed the event very much and was really grateful to Andy who brought the event to my notice, I hope I have captured the essence of the evening in the gallery of images.