Cherie’s Choices

Rising to a challenge is stock for some of my customers. Heroes and Heroines look to the task and come through, just as CherryPie did with her program of song for Christmas.

I set a small task and threw open the Music Room. “What are your Christmas favourites?”.

Cherie brought hers for our enjoyment.

“It is difficult to choose from my favourite Christmas Carols and songs. And when narrowed down there are also many good YouTube versions… it is difficult to choose a favourite and some of my favourites are not available on YouTube. But I got there in the end.
My choices are all ones that I sung regularly when I was in a choir, but I have chosen a variety of styles rather than choosing full choir versions in every case.”

And what delights too.

Once in Royal David’s City.  Taken from ‘Carols from King’s’ 2004.

The ‘Cathedral Choirs’ are a jewel in the English Tradition. And what can match them?

I have to admit a soft spot for this little girl. Her voice and youthful purity is captivating. It reminds me.

Jackie Evancho – Silent Night

There is a special space in my heart in which my own little blond girl should be. It is waiting for her to come back to it.

But from small things, big ones grow and sometimes they go away.

The Little Drummer Boy Performed by the Albright Angels and Mane Men

And now some healthy big girls without male accompaniment. What a fine harmony.

All Angels sing “The Angel Gabriel”

The boys get a turn too. And what boys they are !

“This one is not part of my Christmas choices (or something I have sung) but I came across it whilst I was browsing around on YouTube. The voice is phenomenal. I thought you might enjoy it ” 🙂

Vienna Boys Choir – Ave Maria

I hope you enjoy them 🙂

I enjoyed them all, m’dear. Your glass is full and waiting.

And finally a Taverner’s Turn.

Another little girl, Rhema Marvanne, going places and singing praises.

O Holy Night

A satisfying evening. God Bless, Cherie.

But there is only so much an old Knight’s heart can hold before it overflows and I need to hurry off and wring out my towel.

Perhaps my other customers could just go over to Cherie’s Place while I tidy m’self up a bit.

I shall be down in the Crypt with this one. Not simply Christmassy, but out of the depths.

Canto Gregoriano
Schola Gregoriana

Pax Dei.

Christmas Wishes

Christmas Wishes

Today is Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year marking the official onset of winter.  The December and June solstices used to play an important role in the lives of many people.  Ancient stone circles and monuments were constructed to align to sunrises or sunsets on solstices.  Cultures throughout the world to this day are still influenced by traditions linked to observance of the December (winter in my part of the world) solstice.

Today is also the day that the current Mayan Long Count calendar comes to an end and some have taken this to mean the Mayans had predicted this was the ‘End of Time’.  This has fueled many ‘End of the World’ groups to promote various theories.  The Mayans themselves say this is nonsense, the calendar is based on cycles of time and the current calendar cycle is coming to the end of the 13th Baktun.  A Baktun is 144,000 days in length.  As the 13th Baktun ends the cycle returns to the beginning and heralds the start of the 14th Baktun.

It is also the time of year that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Most people in England celebrate at this time of year, although the original meaning has been lost to many.

There are now only 4 sleeps till Christmas morning…  The Turkey and trimmings are all organised, the trees are up with their lights twinkling, the presents are wrapped and some of them have even been given to their recipients.  Apart from a few last minute items needed from the shops there is nothing else left to do except relax and put my feet up.

The photo I have chosen for this post is one of the numerous Christmas trees that have been decorated in Attingham House on the Attingham Estate in 1920s style for the Christmas season.  The decorations on this tree are quite simple; they are white lights and origami birds (doves I think).  Each bird is inscribed with hand written words, a wish for the season.  On a table to the side there was a notice asking people to add their own wishes.

My wish is for love, peace and understanding between individuals and nations.

What would you wish for?

In addition to my ‘wish’ I hope that you and your loved ones enjoy the peace of the season and have a happy and peaceful New Year,


Count Down to Christmas

Advent Calendar
Autumn has come and is now almost gone making me realise that today is the last day of November.  This means we are now on the countdown to Christmas and I am wondering what happened to the year.  Last Christmas seems like only yesterday.  Time… ‘it’ always seems to run away from me, leaving me playing catch up.

When I look back it has been a good year for us in the UK.  We had the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the spectacular Pageant of the flotilla of boats along the Thames.  It was good to watch from the warmth of my living room on what was a cold and rainy day.  I missed some of the other Jubilee celebrations due to flying to a rather warmer climate in France a couple of days after the celebrations commenced.

We also hosted the highly successful Olympic Games followed by the Paralympics.  The Queen also took part in the opening ceremony too where she did a little skit with Daniel Craig as James Bond.  She appeared to parachute from a helicopter and land in the Olympic stadium ready for the opening ceremony.

I hadn’t intended to watch the opening ceremony but I was visiting my Mum that evening and she had the telly on when I arrived.  I am glad that she did because I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle that gave a good representation of Britain’s heritage from the Industrial Revolution to the current day.

Another thing for us in the UK celebrate was the Englishman, Bradley Wiggins, becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France.  In addition to Bradley’s win his English team mate Chris Frome came second overall.

On a personal level I enjoyed this year’s two visits to France (Carcassonne and Paris) and I am currently planning another visit next year.  I don’t know how I will squeeze everything I want to do into the time I have available.

It is the first day of December tomorrow and in the run up to Christmas day I will try to avoid the Christmas crush and madness in the shops although I do have to confess to having enjoyed the display in the local garden centre a couple of weeks ago on my way to a late lunch in the cafe.  I plan to visit Birmingham which always has a good feel to it in the run up to Christmas and at this time of year it also hosts a German market giving it a slightly continental feel.

Tomorrow I will be visiting a local Christmas Gift Fair in its inaugural year. I will be on the lookout for Christmas gifts and getting into the festive mood.

I hope you enjoy my advent calendar and I invite you to count down to Christmas with me…

Chocolate Box Memories

Weekend chocolates and candies were one of my favourite sweet treats when I was a youngster; I especially liked the taste of the perilous green ones. There was always a box in my stocking each Christmas, although the stocking was in reality a pillowcase. The Christmas memories unfold and roll back into one happy memory. Family, friends, fun, laughter, the occasional tear, frost, snow, school concerts. I also remember singing on the bridge at Ironbridge each Christmas Eve and singing carols in local pubs, hospitals and old people’s homes. This started off as fun but because money was often forced on us we ended up giving money to charity too. So many happy faces over the years…

The chocolates even remind me of the class bully at my junior school. One day I had just collected a chair from the side of the room and got to my desk with it and he appeared at my side and ordered me to give the chair to him. Without thinking I answered ‘no’ which was quite out of character for me because I was really shy and timid and wouldn’t say boo to a goose. He put on an angry stance, went red in the face and stomped off without saying anything. He never bothered me again until one Christmas when I had been given some weekend chocolates by one of my school friends. He asked (nicely) if he could have one. Due to his circumstances I knew he would never have the opportunity to have such things so I said yes and he said thank you. Lessons learned for both of us I think.

The pink Quality Street tin on the right also brings back memories, with its Victorian images and chocolates double wrapped in foil and cellophane. I used to try and smooth the foil out as flat as possible, hopefully without a single crease, then fold it up as small as possible. I also had fun experimenting with the cellophane layer in front of a camera lens. I remember the purple wrapper created very interesting effects on architecture. In one of my cupboards I still have one of those old tins, although now it is filled with buttons rather than chocolates.

All those years ago I didn’t appreciate how many memories a box of chocolates could hold locked up inside…