Did I mention that the book includes a compendium of Christmas recipes, games, traditions?
English villages are definitely strange and have plenty of weird customs. This village is among the stranger ones...
Here is sneak peek number three... Enjoy.
The Twelve Clues of Christmas. Sneak Preview 3.
As we came out of the gates and into the village we noticed several groups of villagers, standing in tight knots, talking animatedly. A cluster of men outside the pub glanced furtively in our direction, then went back to their chatter. There was something unnerving about this, a tension in the air as if something was being plotted. Bunty didn’t seem to notice there was anything odd in their behavior.
“So here’s the sum total of Tiddleton-Under-Lovey,” she said. “One pub, two shops, one school, one church on the green and a few cottages.”
“What about that nicer house beside the school? I asked. “Is that where the schoolmaster lives?”
“Oh no, he has a cottage on the Widdecombe road. That house belongs to the Missess ffrench-Finch. Three elderly sisters who have lived there all their lives. Their father left them quite well off and they never married. We used to call them the Three Weird Sisters and spy on them when we were growing up. You’ll meet them over Christmas, I’m sure. Mummy always invites them to Christmas lunch.”
“And what about the pub?” I asked, looking at the sign swinging in the chill morning breeze. “The Hag and Hounds? What’s that about?”
“Local history.” Bunty grinned. “We had a local witch you know. Back in the seventeen hundreds. They wanted to catch her and bring her to trial, but she escaped onto the moor. They chased her to the top of Lovey Tor with a pack of hounds and then burned her at the stake. We have a festival to celebrate it every New Year’s Eve. You’ll be able to see just how primitive we are down here in Devon. This way.”