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It’s that time of year, the time of year when every other shop (or all of them) is blasting out mismatched Christmas tunes, new and old, traditional and contemporary. The high street is a mash up of muddled music as you go from one store to another and the central districts have all had the usual festal lights installed as giant baubles or presents (though I’m fond of the annual “dripping icicles” down near the Monument in Newcastle city centre). Everyone is Christmas shopping and you get squeezed between ladies dragging children and partners along with huge bundles of bags, desperate to find that thing so and so desires.

All the stuff on TV will be gearing up to the Christmas episode (not that I watch much TV) and I’m sure somewhere the music wars have begun for the Christmas number one. Don’t ask me what it could be – I am only vaguely aware of “modern” music from what my family tells me about. I don’t listen to the radio much and my music collection is eclectic at best.

But it’s the time of carol singing, of good news and joy and choristers freezing their fingers and toes (and other extremities) off in the cold just to bring good cheer to the public. This weekend was THE weekend for me. I can’t attend the numerous carol concerts, carol singing or other carol events planned for my local choir due to other commitments, but I did get to go to the Falcons on Friday and up to Alnwick Gardens on Sunday. Now, normally I’d be planning things way in advance (a habit I’ve picked up from my family over the years) but the last couple of year’s life just got too hectic and things slid to the state of “Oh Lord, that time already? Quick, make a fruit cake and ice it!”

Those who know me may be sitting with their jaws on the floor at the idea of me being unorganised or unprepared. Yes guys, I’ll put my hand up. My great secret is out, truly I am human.

I went hunting for my Christmas music after we had our Advent Carol Service last Sunday and I was horrified to find that when my computer died on me last year, it had taken my Christmas selection with it to the grave. I lost all my music because I didn’t back it up properly in the hurry to save the last four years of university work and salvage the dissertation, but I must have forgotten to grab the Christmas tunes when I went home to my parents and fed disk after disk into my new baby laptop. I’m not completely out of Christmas stuff – I still have Kate Rusby’s “Sweet Bells” CD which is currently on repeat when I need an infusion of Christmas. This is traditional around Christmas baking (not yet done) and trimming the tree (a task for later this week otherwise what is the point?).

Anyway, before we head too far off topic – because of this disturbing lack of Christmas pizzazz which I’m used to, I was more than a little excited about going Carol singing, partly because we’d been invited to sing at Newcastle Falcons (the local rugby team) and at Alnwick Gardens up in Northumberland. The last time we went to the Falcons I’d gone home to my parents’ and the year after it was cancelled due to the huge volumes of snow. HUGE volumes I say! So I went to the Falcons stadium (so I can now say that yes, I have been to the Falcons) and donned choir robes to spread the happy cheer of Christmas Carols to those in the corporate boxes prior to the match. I then went home to let a stranded OH back into the house (because he’d left his keys in the house when dashing to the shops) and eagerly waited for Sunday.

Saturday night was Junior Ribbon Training with all the usual hijinks – musical games for all (plus a bit of not so subtle cheating) and then Sunday rolled on with a day of singing. Morning was the Patronal Feast of St Nicholas, with the appointment of our church’s child-bishop for the day, leading on to Carol singing at Alnwick before dashing back to eat before I went to Junior Evensong and the OH went out to save the world via Castles and Crusades.

And whilst I am now getting a little sick of “Ding Dong Merrily on High” – its true there is too much of a good song – and craving soaring descants up in the stratosphere, I really enjoyed my festive weekend of music.

Next weekend is a Sunday day site with special guests from the Fools and Heroes Edinburgh branch (weather permitting) and then one last Choral Sunday before Christmas. Yay!

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Crafty note:

I’ve been doing more tablet weaving for Fools and Heroes costume, working in wool rather than embroidery cotton (because embroidery cotton is expensive!) which seems to have gone well. It’s a thicker bracelet than I thought and I now have lots of braids to tie it onto my arm, but my first attempt at a pattern seems to be a success. Photos will be put up next Wednesday after the day site so as not to spoil the surprise.

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