Monday, 21 December 2015

Christmas is coming

I don't have a goose getting fat, but I do know that Christmas can't be far away.  Apart from the number of houses there are decorated with all sorts of flashing tat, there have been two massive hints given to me over the weekend.  The first was on Saturday when our friends S & C, together with their friends J & D, held their 19th annual Evening of Christmas.  This involves 30 or more people cramming into their house and joining in singing carols and Christmas songs as Sheila plays the piano, Diane the flute and john the cello.  The guests bring nibbles and bottles and a thoroughly good evening is enjoyed by all.

Then yesterday, Sunday, morning, the Old bat said, "We must bring put up the decorations".  I had been fully expecting this and had already brought the decorations out of the loft and into what is laughingly called 'the little front bedroom'.  Although intended as the third bedroom, it is only big enough for a small single bed (which we no longer have) and we now treat it as a box room.  Anyway, the Old Bat's "we" really meant "you" (ie me) and I duly obeyed.  So now we have a decorated tree - a real one! - and a few streamers round the walls, so I know Christmas isn't far away.

Going back to Saturday, one of the carols we sang was the Sussex Carol.  This, and the Coventry Carol, are - as far as I am aware - the only two (English) carols to be named after places.  According to the Wiki, Ralph Vaughan Williams heard it being sung by a Harriet Verrall of Monk's Gate, near Horsham, Sussex (hence "Sussex Carol") and wrote down the tune and words, the words having been first published by Luke Wadding, a 17th-century Irish bishop, in a work called Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs (1684). It is unclear whether Wadding wrote the song or was recording an earlier composition.  here it is being sung by the choir of King's College Chapel, Cambridge - who sound a whole lot better than we did on Saturday!

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