The early bird…

Curtis Tappenden’s goodwill turkey. Dec 24, 2014

It is upon us yet again. Yuletide. I have to confess to being a bit of a curmudgeon at this time of the year. Tending to take a step back in my addled brain, I watch others manically dash across the town, weighed low with bags of gifts. Building up to the twenty-fifth seems so furious and if we are not careful the tides of hype and over-indulgence can swiftly carry us away. It is getting washed up and dried out, with sore heads throbbing and empty January pockets eventually bring us sharply to our senses. This year why not take a momentary step back too? Reflect on the good and not so good events. Things happen that are beyond our control and we should try wherever possible to put them behind us and move on. Consider how things might be improved a little, be curious and courageous in making wise decisions and constantly bear others in mind. I reckon if we all had a go at this- and none of us is perfect- the world might be a little less stressful and easier to navigate.

The early bird catches the Norfolk Bronze. All five-point-seven kilos of it! Christmas it seems is as much about the pre and post rituals as it is about the actual festival day. This really hit home at 6.15am on the damp, dark Christmas Eve morning, led by a set of rituals tradition is key.

The shop window glows warmly and the suffused, shadowy queue is already orderly and patient along the Hove street. Canham and Sons, family butcher, have been serving turkeys since they first gobbled around the earth, or so it seems. The shop interior is a glorious palace of savoury delights, choice cuts and delicacies. The embossed, cream and russet Victorian tiled walls are covered in hundreds of individually named order receipts. Home-made sausage rolls, pies, pasties and Scotch eggs with not a wrap of pre-packed cling film in sight fill the cabinets. It is a wonderful sensory delight; a picture which could have slid with ease from the descriptive world of Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Christmas is about goodwill and service. Never more true a word spoken as customers are offered tea or coffee freshly brewed while they wait. The prize bird is keenly brought out to each customer and care taken to weigh it in. It is like a birth announcement, a proud family moment, and it takes a reality check to make you realise just where you are and why. So who says that the good old days are long passed? Or that we are all too busy rushing about to take time for one-another? Mr Canham and his team have it in hearts and spades- or hearts and kidneys at the very least. And I suspect they reach out to the community with such grace and good manner not just for the continuation of a solid, family business, but because they believe in serving us all in the best way possible; because it really matters.

Finally, have a very festive and enjoyable time and look with anticipation to a healthy and happy 2015.