Christmas was bitterly cold that year and the snow had arrived early. Granny Wytcher shrugged into her shabby best coat and pulled her woolly bonnet down over her ears. She really didn’t want to go. Granny wasn’t what you’d call a regular church-goer but it was Christmas Eve and it was expected in the village. Granny didn’t know the word “claustrophobia” but she DID know that she felt much better out of doors or in her own cosy kitchen. Never mind, there would be all the old traditional carols to sing. That would be nice, she reflected as she tramped along the lane in her rubber boots.
It was a relief to find that she was nearly late and the church was already full so she took the last remaining chair at the back, tucked away by the window. At least she wasn’t cramped in a pew with another family. The church in the little village was old but not rich, didn’t run to stained glass windows and the security lighting had only been installed two years ago. It was in need of a lot of repairs.
If she were completely honest, Granny Wytcher didn’t enjoy church at all but she stood to sing the first carol and glanced out of the window on her right, at head height. Her mouth opened to sing but stayed open with surprise. She reacted like a cartoon character, actually rubbing her eyes and then looking again. No, she hadn’t been mistaken.
Sitting outside the church, in a semi circle, by her window, clear as day in the moonlight were a pair of otters, her own cat, a fox, a family of badgers, a hedgehog and a frog, sitting on Tiny’s head, gulping and blinking. Perched on the telephone wires above them were several birds and they were all looking directly at her.
Shaking her head, Granny joined in with the carol “O Come, All ye Faithful”.