Helen Dickson on Christmas in South Africa…

Helen Dickson on Christmas in South Africa…

With the release of the super romantic and festive Lord Lansbury’s Christmas Wedding, Author Helen Dickson tells us all about her best Christmas ever.

“Before my husband retired, Christmas was always a hectic time for us – dressing poultry until Christmas Eve. One Christmas which stands out in both our memories was when relatives arrived the night before Christmas Eve unexpectedly. The production line was going swimmingly until then and because it was Christmas and they’d travelled fifty miles to see us – well, as one does – celebrations began early and finished late, which we had cause to regret the following morning when, with turkeys, ducks and chickens half plucked and half-dressed all over the place, we vowed that the following year we would be having beef for Christmas dinner.

All this as well as shopping and preparing food to feed a multitude on Christmas Day, we never seemed to have the time to spend together as we would have liked and come Boxing Day we had run out of steam.

So we couldn’t believe it when we received an invitation from relatives living in South Africa to spend Christmas with them. Never having been to South Africa before we jumped at the chance – a summer holiday in December and time to be together without the pressure of work – wow! It would also be our Ruby Wedding a few weeks later so we thought it would be a great opportunity to begin the celebrations early.

Romance has always been an important part of our lives and we never intended to live passively and fade into the sunset. At the time, after forty years of marriage, still vital and young at heart, we had never felt we were too old for romance, but with the hustle and bustle of our daily lives it became easy to neglect its importance.

As soon as we got off the plane in Cape Town and felt the hot sun, we thought we had died and gone to heaven. We soon discovered that nowhere on earth was more synonymous with paradise than South Africa – sun, sea, good company and several glasses of gorgeous South African wine. The situation where we stayed was very private, with a marina afloat with fabulous yachts and a board walk lined with lovely romantic restaurants.

Christmas in the sun was definitely different, although it was celebrated much the same as at home. There were decorations and carols by candlelight. Christmas dinner was an open air lunch of roast beef and crackers and paper hats, the atmosphere intimate and informal, with lots of laughter.

The days passed in a lazy haze, and the best moments were those we had together. Hiring a car we spent glorious days filled with sunshine beaches, bathing in the warm sea and touring the orchards, vineyards and mountain slopes covered with a variety of brilliant wild flowers and drinking sundowners on the board walk under a star strewn sky.  

With the freedom to romance each other, rejuvenated, we left South Africa. It had been absolute bliss.

What a time that was. We’ll never forget it.”

Enter the 12 Days of Christmas competition now to win Helen Dickson’s Lord Lansbury’s Christmas Wedding and a break at the Dandelion Hideaway in Leicestershire.