On Sunday afternoon The Lights On My Tree and I headed over to Leytonstone for our traditional attendance at the St John's Church Carol Service with our pal Ms H Arnold. It was a right grim and wet night out, but once inside it was warm, noisy, and EXTREMELY festive.
I love this Carol Service, it fits in exactly with my idea of what Christmas, and indeed our GRATE NATION, should really be i.e. a mish mash of hundreds of years of different ideas, full of all kinds of people, churned up with deranged selection box of odd traditions which no-one's quite sure how they started, and held together with goodwill and sticky tape. THUS, alongside the traditional prayers and readings there was a children's percussion EXPLOSION (it made The Music Of The Future sound like a FLUTE CONCERTO), a ROCK BAND, a BRASS SECTION, some extremely glorious choral singing, the Nativity as told by a children's TV presenter, the vicar getting the words wrong, and of course the lighting of the Christmas Tree followed by the traditional response by the congregation of "OOOooooOOOOOO!!!!"
It was bloody lovely and, as ever, suddenly MOVING at various expected and unexpected junctures. I always get a lump in my throat when we get to "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" as it reminds me of my Nan coming to see my school nativity play when I was in Junior School, but there were many other MOMENTS dotted around when LO! the spirit of Christmas did o'er shadow me. The big one this time was when the choir stood in the aisle on their way out and sang the last verse of the final carol with the organ, brass section AND the band all blasting out. It sounded SO ENORMOUS I had to stop singing to have a sniffle!
After all that our traditional trip to the Red Lion over the road was much needed, and on this occasion it was augmented by the presence of erstwhile VOON iconoclast Dr N Brown. I haven't seen him for AGES so we had a good old chat about Diverse Topics and it ended up turning into a little bit of a session, ending with the traditional acknowledgement of a good time well had: "Shall we have a whisky?" The cry went up "YEAH!"
We had so much fun, in fact, that when we got home we decided to have a CHIPPY TEA, rather than struggle through attempts to COOK. It was a delightful end to a delightful evening, and we went to bed feeling DECIDEDLY festive!
(I didn't feel particularly festive when I woke up this morning, mind you, but then again what could be MORE Christmassy than a Seasonal Hangover?)