What a weekend of joy, frivolity and mayhem (of the best sort). The weather has shown it's true winter colour here of white - frost that is, on our cars and gardens and today, where the sun did not reach, the frost lasted all day.
Saturday saw a 50th birthday party for a good friend Linda which was organised for a local pub and the theme of the party was sixties and seventies dress and music and this worked wonderfully well. It was a great night with a great singer, a solo female and lovely company. There were straight laced professional people dressed as hippies, sixties fashion Mary Quant type dressed (some deliciously short) and one extraordinarily huge Afro wig. There were pinks and flower patterns, ban the bomb emblems, dark round John Lennon glasses, jaunty hats and frankly a fantastic time was had by all. I never drank a drop of alcohol and enjoyed it all the more because I was in control and danced the night away (and didn't suffer physically surprisingly), something I haven't done for many years. A night that will live in the memory for a long time.
Sunday was all the more poignant and somewhat emotional as firstly I went with a friend to support her as she laid wreaths of remembrance on her husband's and father's grave. Then on Sunday evening, I went with the same friend to the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at the Holy Trinity Church in Hull - the main church in the old town of Hull. Not the most senior church, but large, expansive and looking much better for renovations internally.
Holy Trinity after the Candlelit Service
Some of my ancestors were baptised and married and dispatched in this church, yet, it was only the second time I've ever been in it and this was the first service in it I had ever attended. The service was by candlelight with just the lights of the Christmas Tree to show there was any electricity in the Church at all. The carols were traditional: Once in Royal David's City, It Came upon the Midnight Clear, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, Shepherds (wash their socks by night) and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The nine readings were short but told the Christmas story from the Bible.
The choir rendered some more traditional winter anthems of celebration such as Psallite Unigenito, I Saw a Fair Maiden, In the Bleak Midwinter, Sir Christemas, and the organist finished with the magnificent In Dulce Jubilo by Bach. Tea and mince pies were to be had in the vestry although in this I did not participate. Instead I went for a walk along the dark and chill river Humber at the Horsewash in the old town for a few minutes contemplation. Looking east, the picture below is the famous (locally anyway) The Deep - a huge aquarium, the building of which is shaped like a huge shark.
The Deep - lit against a dark winter's sky
It's many years since I've been to a midnight service - many of them were stopped because of drunks in the nineteen eighties but that means that the services are now more for families and this is a wonderful thing. It was indeed a wonderful atmosphere and thoroughly enjoyable and gave me a chance to exercise the vocal chords.
So two lots of exercise this weekend, dancing and singing. I am now officially in the Christmas mood. I have already finished the the first two parts of Dicken's Christmas Carol, something that I do traditionally and have done for more years than I can recall now; Marley has shown up, rattled his chains and gone to wander the world in torment and the ghost of Christmas past has taken Ebeneezer on the first part of his journey of redemption.