Christmassy Happenings

Friday, the 31st of December, 2004 - 28 past 10pm

Current Song ~ "Not Like You" by Hannah Fury

Happy New Year, dear Readership!
I'm hoping that I can fulfill my optimistic and foolhardy ambition to update once more before 2004 slips entirely into the past tense.
It might have been useful to have written about all those not uneventful days after the 23rd before now, but alas, while I think of some things so far in advance that it's ridiculous, other things seem to only occur to me at the eleventh hour. Heigh-ho.

I actually have rather less to write about than was the plan, having concluded on Christmas Eve that my voice was unlikely to make it through two services. So, I decided (after hours of indecision, naturally) to give Lighting of the Lamps a miss in the name of being able to sing at Midnight Mass.
Imagine my joy at receiving a text message ten minutes before the service informing me that our seldom-seen and much-missed (former) Choir Master had made it to the service.
Gah, C.M. really does pick his moments!

Thus it was that my quiet evening of voice-preservation was transformed into a rather louder evening of saying 'gah!' a lot. However, I am inclined to stand by my decision, for I did go to Midnight Mass (as did C.M., who predictably proceeded to take over but was more than welcome to do so and treated us to quite an elaborate improvisation on the theme of Oh come all ye faithful as we processed back to the choir vestry post-service) and make it through the high descants of the carols.
The top notes were still a bit iffy, but this wouldn't be the first time I've made it through Oh come all ye faithful by sheer force of will. It remains my all-time favourite carol, and the performance at Midnight Mass is the high-point of my choral year - as I've said before, there's just no beating the glorious descant on 'sing choirs of angels...' followed by the magnificently exultant final verse that can only be performed on Christmas Day and that one simply must pour everything into.
I even visibly enjoy those last two verses, which is positively unheard-of for me. I'm usually a distressingly expressionless singer, judging from photographs and diplomatic feedback.

The next morning I arose early as one might reasonably expect, found my stocking (I received the traditional chocolate pennies among other fine things), and then hit the present pile under the tree.
My family traditionally opens all presents as soon as everyone is conscious, in the knowledge that there would be no concentration at church if we were made to wait until after the service.
I got:
* The just-released Siouxsie & the Banshees b-side collection (Which is immensely cool, and shall be discussed at greater length soon no doubt)
* Strangers: Homosexual Love in the 19th Century by Graham Robb, in hardback (so far very interesting and entertainingly written)
* Three DVDs - Brotherhood of the Wolf, Time Bandits and Withnail & I
* Two boxes of Irish Cream truffles
* A marvelously soft dark blue velvet scarf with tassle-y bits (currently being shown off at every opportunity)

After unwrapping everything, having a cup of tea and listening to Siouxsie's version of the eminently seasonal Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant, I went along to church and sang The Zither Carol with naught but Juniors sharing the soprano line. A nerve-wracking experience, as I wasn't sure that the high Fs were going to happen, but thankfully I got through it okay. I also received a tiny box of belgian chocolates as a choir gift, which was unexpected and most welcome.

Christmas Dinner consisted of quail, apple stuffing, roast carrots and parsnips, other assorted vegetables, and white wine, along with the myriad of snacks that come with the season.
Aside from that, the day was fairly uneventful, being in my personal case largely taken up with listening to every b-side ever released by Siouxsie & the Banshees in chronological order.

Of course, thanks to the 25th falling upon a Saturday, I was back at church on Boxing Day morning to fulfill my choristerly duties, and also to take advantage of a rare opportunity to sing Good King Wenceslas on the actual Feast of Stephen. Quite apart from the calendar appropriateness, it was nice to hear all of the verses; the first verse gets a lot of airtime, but you seldom get the rest of the story...

I also managed to cross paths with assorted churchy friends (including the ever-elusive Anthony), and a couple of days after that, I attended a large family gathering at my grandmother's house (and on the way there stopped in at Waitrose and managed to bag a half-price box of Anthon Berg cherry in rum chocolates - rah!).

In other news-of-the-week, these last few days my voice appears to have pretty much recovered from the ravages of the cold, which is a profound joy and relief to me. I was getting immensely frustrated with not being able to sing properly (or at all, in the case of any note above E), so it's very, very good to be back on the Pergolesi and Kate Bush renditions!

On that positive note, I must be off to get this uploaded - and a full thirty-nine minutes before we hit 2005.
Here's hoping that next year brings many fine things, and that those of you who celebrate the New Year in a more elaborate way than my family (an extra bottle of wine at dinner, this year accompanied by Christmas pudding and custard) are reading this after an enjoyable evening/night/morning doing whatever it is that you do.

Ta muchly for sticking with the Diary through this year in the valley of the shadow of pitiful updates, and let us hope that I do rather better in the year about to arrive!


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