Dear Reader

When I was a child, my maternal grandfather often said to me that time went faster the older you got; the older I get, the more I have to agree with him…

So here we are again, the winter season is upon us and, once the bonfire nights and firework displays have petered out, the festive preparations will begin in earnest.  Our glorious country houses will play host to festive fairs and celebrations:  Delapré Abbey, see page 30, has a series of winter and Christmas events; Boughton House, see page 36, will see its historic stables courtyard filled with trees for you to pick, and Rockingham Castle, see page 40, dresses up for a Victorian Christmas to take you back to Christmas Eve 1849.  Spanhoe Lodge in Laxton, see page 20, has an amazing annual display of Christmas lights in aid of Lakelands Hospice, and you cannot help but to get into the festive spirit when you visit Foxtail Lilly in Oundle and Tracey’s stunningly decorated barns for her Christmas Preview, see page 10.  One of her beautiful wreaths also adorns the front cover for this issue.

Most of our villages will have gift fairs and Santa, angel or tree festivals, all with a display of local crafts to get you started on your festive shopping.  The wonderful array of independent, family-run business on our doorstep will all need our support and, as the world grows increasingly environmentally conscious, shopping locally seems even more important this year.  Just look to the pages ahead for inspirations for your presents to family and friends.  For book lovers with a penchant for crime, an ideal Christmas offering would be the latest book by local author, Jane Isaac, see page 28.

The true meaning of Christmas lies in charity and giving what you can.  Turn to page 78 to read about start-up company, Leiho, who enables you to support those most in need.  For each pair of bamboo socks sold, another pair (or two for a pre-sale period) will be given to one of the many homeless people in our streets - wear a pair, share the care!

So, please, in the Christmas spirit, connect with your community and share your love with family, friends and neighbours and those living in loneliness.

With my warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas


Vivi Sant Cole

Village Connect

Hillcrest House

Church Hill



NN14 1AH

Tel: 01536 744700