On Saturday night, me and a couple of friends decided to go and see the switch on of the Christmas lights at Penryn. I’d missed both of the “Festivals of Lights” at Truro and Falmouth, so I was determined to go and see the ones in Penryn.
As we were walking down the winding road to Penryn from the Pesdestrian Entrance/Exit – depending on your direction of travel – I was unnerved by how few people were actually making the same journey. Also, there seemed to be no loud buzz of atmospheric noise coming from anywhere, which I have always associated with these sorts of annual events. Maybe it’s just because I come from a big city – London, maybe you’ve heard of it? – but I couldn’t stop thinking about whether I had got the completely wrong day and was just leading my friends to the completely deserted centre of Penryn…
Luckily, as our winding road joined into the centre of Penryn, there was a large group of people to meet us, all gathered around the Church near the Clock Tower. And, suddenly, after five minutes of waiting amongst this massive throng of people, the centre was alight. Small multi-coloured lights were streamed over everyone’s heads, zigzagging up and down and side to side for the entire length of the street. Colourful lights making the shape of a Christmas Tree shone from the top of the clock tower. And then the carol singing began, which reminded me of the carol service back at home at this Church on the edge of this huge heath, called Blackheath. As I can barely tell one carol from the other, and even then I only know the first line of each song, I was left just mouthing random words/making up my own lyrics… My friends were a bit more clued up on carol songs but obviously could not match my remarkable singing talent.
It was amazing how many people were actually about; I’d never seen Penryn so full. I’ve only ever really seen it as a strange ghost town before. But there were people singing, all of the shops were open, with really cool, Christmassy window displays. There was even a stand which was giving out free hot chocolates and they gave you the option of adding sweets to it, like Smarties or mini marshmallows, which, of course, me and my friends took full advantage of. I guess the best word for it was just nice, in every possible meaning of the word, which doesn’t exactly have a very expansive meaning, but simply characterises everything about the Penryn Lights Switch On. And the lights were still as bright as ever on my expedition to Penryn today.