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Lizzie Lumsden


Christmas at Leawood Hall


To this day I still cherish those magic mornings spent together
Sleepy bodies stirring one by one under weighty feather duvets
Willingly waking up to the day in various parts of the house
Noses and toes skimming sharp cold edges of grand spaces
Framed by those steamed-up frosted window panes
Before we excited children leapt up deserting our toasty beds
In search of swollen Santa sacks left outside the bedroom doors

A distant echo of glee from across the big stairs along the corridor
George was usually the first one up to scurry down the landing
Frantic to wake Fran and me who were usually still stirring
His soft yellow hair bouncing as he ran while skidding on carpet
Lively legs scurrying in pyjamas that had bunched up around the knees
While we snuggled up together like affectionate warm spoons
Now sluggish and mute from all of the late night chatter
That's if we hadn't dragged the bed covers into the drawing room
To sleep on the floor next to the roaring fire and sweets
The older boys never up till later, too grown up to be eager
But stirred awake by their senses as bacon sizzled and spat downstairs
This is how I remember those Christmas Days usually started
Deep in the heart of chilly hilly Holloway

Snowy woolen sheep nudged wet noses through wooden fences
That lined the long straight driveway as we arrived the night before
Usually later than planned, an integral part of the Lumsden routine
Merry, the first warm welcome that greeted us on those Christmas Eves
Wagging her jolly tail by the heavy oak door, too gentle to jump up
Before it was swung open ceremoniously by Graham and a lit cigarette
Beckoning us into the festive magic of twinkling candles and log fires

Inside, a door bangs liberating open arms that hurry to greet us
Screaming and squealing as if we hadn't seen each other in lifetimes
Bringing along smells of delicious food that wafted from the kitchen
Indulgence started with chilled champagne in the best glasses
And platters of smoked salmon on fresh brown bread squeezed with lemon
Before long overdue catch ups took place slouched in the easy chairs
Followed by midnight mass for those who were feeling virtuous
Rarely did we, preferring to play pool till midnight
Sneaking tumblers of spirits away from the glare of parental eyes
While we puffed a cigarette nervously by the open window out the back
That overlooked endless lawns, laced in frost and lit by stars
Garden statues standing that bit taller and prouder in the cold
Watching the radiant glow that overflowed from inside Leawood Hall
That was now so alive with another magical and memorable Christmas

© 2013 Lizzie Lumsden All Rights Reserved

Submitted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Edited: Monday, June 09, 2014

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