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.

A Busy Weekend

P1040689I had intended that my Easter weekend would be relaxing but even the best laid plans are subject to change.

Over the weekend my Mum became a lady of a “certain age”.  Originally we planned to take her out for the day to Hardwick Hall so that we could meet up with my brother and after the visit return home to enjoy a nice evening meal with her.  Plans changed ten days before the event. Mum decided she wanted to stop overnight which meant that I had to work out somewhere we could stay that served a good evening meal because she wanted to dine in the hotel.

There were some difficulties working out if the hotel meal arrangements were suitable.  The hotel did not have their evening menu on line and booking through a website came back with “you are booked” followed by another email saying “sorry there are no rooms available!”

A quick phone call made to the hotel itself was transferred to the central booking line for the hotel chain. The two rooms were booked and so was with the restaurant (including places for the extra family members that were not staying in the hotel overnight).

Once the plans were finalised we could relax and so we decided to have a couple of friends round on Good Friday afternoon to play board games in the afternoon expecting them to leave in the early evening to enable us to have a good night’s sleep before the grand day out and an early morning departure.

Unfortunately one friend was running behind schedule and phoned up to let us know that he would be an hour late.  The rest of us chatted long past his expected ETA wondering where he had got to!  He eventually turned up almost two hours late!!  On his arrival he said ‘Have you played a game’?  Ermm ‘No we were waiting for you’.  If we had known that he was going to be quite that late we would have played a game.

The late game meant a late dinner and another unexpected problem.  The scallops that looked enough for four when raw reduced to a two person meal when cooked. Mr C was head chef and he beckoned me into his domain.  I advised him against cooking extra ‘frozen’ scallops, but had a brainwave. I remembered we had some salmon in the freezer.  This when added to the stock that the scallops had been cooked in, thawed slowly and cooked to perfection (thankfully).

The late arrival and late meal obviously led to a late departure.  At one stage I had them rounded up and they were about to depart after I said we would have a long day tomorrow.  Then Mr C got them talking again…  Eventually I got to bed.

 I didn’t feel at my best on my journey to Hardwick Hall but I perked up after a bit of lunch and we enjoyed both our visit and the celebratory evening meal. We had to remember to put the clocks forward to BST before going to sleep; we didn’t want to miss breakfast.  We had lunch with my brother before departing for home and cooking and sharing Easter dinner with my Mum.

Needless to say I was rather tired on Monday…

A Game or Two

For as long as I can remember, my family was always into board and card games.  Following Sunday dinner (which was in the evening) we would sit down and play a game, that is if we weren’t going out for a walk which we did in the summer months.  Each Christmas I got a new game that always entertained us over the Christmas period and beyond.  After I left home, I continued the tradition of getting a new game to play each Christmas.

A few years ago, I found that the games on offer in the local shops had no new ideas or challenges and were uninteresting.  I wanted something slightly different so I did a bit of browsing on the internet and came across a website called the Board Game Geek’.  A board gamers dream!  This introduced me to a game called ‘The Settlers of Catan’ which I really enjoyed playing.  I went on to buy a couple more games that I discovered on the site, leading to a slight board game addiction and to me amassing a sizeable collection of games.

There are many types of board game including family games, educational games, strategy games, war games, “roll the dice” chance games and many more.  Out of all the genres my favourite type of board game is a strategy game, although I do like crazy family games too.  All of the games I choose to play finish in less than two hours.

At the same time as I was introduced to the ‘Board Game Geek’ I started to host regular board game evenings for my friends who, to their surprise, also loved the unusual games.  Some of those friends are gamers and others had never played games before.   We all had great fun and enjoyed the social gatherings.

The evenings have become less regular now and less people turn up at any one time, but we still have fun when we get together and reminisce with a smile those past wins and defeats, whilst looking forward to the next challenge.

When we first started playing I always seemed to beat the regular gamers which gave them a bit of a challenge.  I think this was because they are used to playing war games but I use different strategies when I play games.  One of my friends has made it a particular challenge to try and beat me and this is a standing joke (between us) no matter who wins.

Although most of my games don’t have them (too random for me), the urge to play board games together can be summed up with this regular comment from one of my friends,  ‘I always welcome the chance to rattle the bones’ (roll the dice).

A New Year’s Eve Toast

New Years Eve is often a time for family and friends to get together so that they can see out the old year and greet the new one.

As midnight approaches it is not uncommon for a bottle of champagne to be opened to toast in the New Year, usually accompanied by Jules Holland’s Hootenanny on the BBC.  I am reminded of a bottle of Champagne that has been resting in my wine rack since 2005.  It is a remnant of one of my formerly annual coach trips to the continent which usually occurred in early November around the time of my birthday.  In 2005 we visited the historic town of Rheims and one of the excursions was to Maison Ruinart.

Maison Ruinart was established in 1729 by Nicolas Ruinart and is the oldest established champagne house.  We were taken on a tour of the cellars and were told of the fine art of producing champagne.    As the wine ferments and matures it is housed in underground “Crayères”.  These are chalk tunnels from former Gallo-Roman chalk quarries underneath the city of Rheims that were acquired by Ruinart in 1768.  Their depth is up to 38 metres and there are 8 kilometres of galleries on three levels.  The Crayères offer the benefits of a stable temperature, no vibrations and perfect humidity to allow the wine to ferment and slowly mature.  The wine bottles are painstakingly turned a quarter of a turn periodically by hand.

The tour ended with a generous tasting of three different types of Ruinart champagne.  I was particularly taken with their Rose champagne, so I indulged and came away with two bottles.  One was opened on Christmas day that year and the other was saved for a special occasion.  The last few years have had their ups and downs so those special occasions didn’t happen in the way they perhaps should have.  My becoming a lady of a certain age, last November would have been the perfect occasion but due to being away in Bruges I completely forgot about the champagne.

I know our time zones are all different so midnight will bring in the New Year at different times for each of us but what better occasion than tonight, ‘New Years Eve’, to crack the bottle open as midnight turns in the UK.   I will raise my glass to friends, old and new, and of course not forgetting absent friends.

CHEERS!!  I raise my glass to you.  Thank you for sharing life’s journey with me, I hope that any troubles from 2011 will fade into distant memory and I wish you, your family and friends a happy, healthy and peaceful 2012.