I love Christmas and, once Bonfire Night is out of the way, I quite like to go to Christmas Markets.
I don’t care how big or how small they are, I just like to go and mingle, look at the pretty lights and interesting stalls, and occasionally sample the wares.
Sometimes we even buy something. And this time, apart from a hot dog, some chocolate marshmallow on sticks and some mulled wine, we also bought hats. And a gingerbread heart.
Last Saturday we went to Leeds for their Christmas Market. We got there for about 4:30pm, so it was just dark enough to take pictures of the lights.
And there were lights everywhere – on the lampposts, around the stalls, even for sale on the stalls.
Several stalls were selling Christmas decorations. Some of these were baubles and tree ornaments, some were tea- and night-lights, and some were just traditional wooden toys and ornaments.
The Nutcracker is my favourite ballet, so it was nice to see some wooden nutcrackers there too. But we didn’t buy any.
It was already very busy, and we knew we were headed in the right direction as we fought through the crowds coming back from the market. (We’d taken the train in and parked the car at Barnsley Station.)
When we first arrived, it was still empty enough to relax, stroll around, take pictures. But by the time we’d had something to eat and done a couple of circuits – it wasn’t one of the biggest Christmas Markets – it was starting to get too crowded for stupid even.
One of the reasons for the trip was so that the poet could try out the new lens for his camera. He’s not snapped lights at night before, really. Or not since he’s been learning to be a “proppa snappa”. So these were his first.
He’s getting quite good at the bokeh, though – even if he does say so himself! This is where the foreground – or any part of the subject – is in focus but the background blurs. For those who want the scientific explanation, I think you can find it here.
The hot dog he bought was a bit big for just one of us, although I’m sure he would have managed it all had I wanted a whole one too.
But he put ketchup all over it, and then mustard on his (big) half. It was very nice, and just spicy enough.
Aside from the chocolate marshmallow on a stick (each), we also bought some fudge, some vanilla fudge for my dad (for being a big brave soldier and going to the hospital last week), and some clotted cream fudge with jelly babies for me (so that Dad didn’t have to share his).
We took the gingerbread heart home to have with a cup of tea later in the week.
Before we left he had one last practice with his camera, taking moving shots of the carousel and the other roundabouts. There isn’t room for all of the pictures here, though, so I saved a static of the carousel for the bottom.
We had such a good time, and the weather was very kind, so we’re thinking about going to another Christmas Market later in (what’s left of) the year. There’s one at York this weekend and there’s one at Sheffield at the end of the month. They’re all probably the same market, but it’s nice to see them in a different place, and Leeds, York and Sheffield are all close enough that the dog isn’t left on his own for too long at home.
And now he has a brand new camera as well (courtesy of his recently late father), he’ll want to be trying that out soon too. Plus, he has another new lens coming on Monday, so that will be another excursion.