Village Carol Singing in 2011

December 25, 2011

Spontaneity is the key with village carol singing. Too much planning would take away the magic in some way. So, in spite of the odd telephone call which is made to ensure that we will not be a choir of just one or two, we leave the rest to Christmas Eve.

This year was no exception. By six thirty, eleven us had gathered. After a swift tot of Sloe Gin (very low food miles – as least for the Sloes, you will understand), we set off. This year the weather was milder than it has been. The stars were out with a beautiful clarity – just as they should be.

It is important not to peak too early with carol singing. It also seems to be important not to practice. But after a nervy start we hit our stride. We must present a strange sight to the passing traffic on usual march to Oxnead, laden with lanterns, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Across the causeway road and back, the spring remains in our stride and we catch up with the year’s events. Everything discussed , from all perspectives.

Little did we know, but reinforcements had arrived in the guise of the Chapman family. Old hands at the carolling game, our volume and delivery audibly increased. Perhaps more relaxed now, the residents of Street Farm were generous in their support and then we struck off towards the rest of the village – along the muddy beet strewn road.

It is the wonder of children that has the greatest effect of carollers. Their palpable excitement and the invasion of their houses and gardens by a singing mob, must leave some sort of memory. We ‘Away in a manger’- ed houses up and down the street. We hit our peak (to our ears anyway), somewhere near John Frye’s house, or perhaps a little bit further on. Wine was mulled and the village club was welcoming – the acoustics within being surprisingly good. We felt something like a Brampton “Flash mob” as we regaled them with our new found confidence. As ever the Humphrey’s were “treated” to “While Shepherds watched”, for very obvious reasons, and the Hylton’s received the same to our second tune (“on Ilkley Moor..bah’t’at). Hospitality was great from all angles, with John Frye’s Italian Wine from jerry cans, and superb mulled wine from both Helen and Geoff and from Linda and Andrew amongst others.

Then to finish things off, a short carol Singer’s Service at the Church. Clustered in the chancel, we sang again and listened to some Christmas poetry readings, to bring the evening to a contemplative end. Now we wait for the count by Katy to see how much money was raised for Quidenham Hospice from the generous villagers. As for next year? Well we don’t plan, spontaneity is the key. The carolling tradition will roll on, depending upon who turns up,
that is…

The musical call of a skein of wild geese heralded the morning of Christmas Eve in Brampton. The wonderful sound of their calls, which evokes the music of a pack of hounds, echoed from the woods at Oxnead. Some call them Gabriel’s Hounds in an effort to sum up the magic of their calls. This is considered in some parts of the country as being the sound of the diabolical wild hunt, but I think our geese were much more benign – and probably off in search of sugar beet tops.

Kingfisher morning

December 11, 2011

The sighting of a Kingfisher lit up an otherwise dull December morning. At first it just appeared as a shape, albeit a familiar shape, perched on a pliant reed. As we approached it flew a few yards further away. As it did so the bird’s colours colours were lit; the diamond on its back being especially brilliant. This morning’s colour being more of a cerulean blue – some lights this takes on a more of a copper green, but not today. As we left it fishing the high pitched contact call continued to announce its presence to those who tune in.