Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Wednesday, February 05, 2014 -

Christmas at Woodbridge Manor

by LSF Publications
Published: Nov 29, 2013
Words: 33,991
Category: xmas
Orientation: M/F
Click HERE for further details and purchase options.
Christmas at Woodbridge Manor
by Abigail Armani

The snow-blanketed landscape beyond the window gleamed white ice, humps and hollows of the once comfortingly familiar now teased into otherworldly shapes. Huge drifts blown by the fierce west wind loomed like bizarre creatures of nightmare in this frozen land. And still the snow continued to fall from a leaden afternoon sky. Trees contorted beneath the weight, trunks twisted, icicle-hung branches breaking and cracking. Paths and roads were obliterated by several feet of snow, and the extreme cold bit bone deep.

The old man shifted in his chair by the glowing fire, his gnarled fingers grasping the comforting rug that covered his legs and feet. Age sat heavily on his frame and his old bones ached from the winter chill. The scene outside sparked a memory from his youth, and a smile curled the corners of his mouth as through half closed eyes he remembered...


They said it was the worst winter in 100 years. In all his twenty years Samuel had known nothing like it - the ice was several inches thick on the inside of the windows and the snow waist-high outside and still falling steadily. Everything was frozen, wrapped in a heavy white blanket. The biting cold was so intense no one could keep warm despite being muffled in several layers of clothing. The prospect of a bitter and miserable Yuletide loomed as the temperature plummeted even further. Despondency and discomfort were beginning to give way to panic and the villagers of Woodbridge prayed for the snow to stop and warmer weather to set in.

Help came as Lord Woodham from Woodbridge Manor sent his groundsmen and gamekeepers out to round up everyone in the village and bring them to the manor where they would remain until the weather improved. The promise of roaring fires and plentiful supplies of hot food lured the villagers from their own freezing abodes into the comforting warmth of 'the big house'. And so they came, trudging through the snow and ice and cutting winds, their belongings piled high on sledges or tied into bundles. Young and old alike ventured out into the Arctic conditions, and if they couldn't walk unaided they were carried on makeshift stretchers or on the backs of broad-shouldered men.

The manor dated back to Elizabethan times. It was an impressively elegant building with mullioned windows that blazed with the light of a hundred welcoming candles. Lord Woodham, a widower, resided there with his daughter Elizabeth and a dozen or more servants, the latter now scurrying around with great purpose, piling more logs on the fire in the great hall, heating enormous pans of soup, organising blankets and rugs, retrieving all the spare china and cutlery from storage. The tantalising mouth-watering smell of freshly baked bread and roasting meats emanated from the kitchens. It seemed that Woodbridge Manor had enough provisions and fuel to last for months. No one would go hungry or cold this Christmas.