Last week, I had occasion to visit Leicester. I planned on going to the Cathedral while I was there, but traffic delayed me. The other two churches I wanted to see were closed, but the city was lit for Christmas and a fair was in full swing.
I was content to just wander the streets with the camera for a while. The old Roman Forum was playing host to a Ferris Wheel and with the medieval buildings, monuments and churches in the background, everything was light and colour.
I live in a village and love the peace and silence, but I am a city girl by birth. Although I do not miss living in a city and will avoid even my small local town whenever I can, there is a definite ‘buzz’ on a city street at night.
It is not something you notice so much when you are head down, running for a bus after work or feeling oppressed by the constant crowds with which you live, but when a visit is a rarity, the vibe of a city is like caffeine.
Especially early on a Friday evening at Christmas. The crowds are still sober and good natured. There is laughter. There are children being taken to see store Santas and glowing, wide-eyed with magic.
The air smells not of exhaust fumes or impatience, but of doughnuts, crepes and cinnamon, with the odd hint of fish and chips. and candy floss. A week before Christmas, no one is stressed yet. They are not on a last minute mission to get the mother-in-law’s present. It just feels good.
I had never really wandered around Leicester before. Even in the dark, I could see there were beautiful old buildings and narrow streets I would like to explore.
But I was happy just to enjoy the atmosphere for a little while. A vibe I recognised. Even the piped carols couldn’t get me down. Suddenly, I realised, it felt like Christmas.