December is tripping along nicely, like a merry dance... it began with a few days away in the sun in the eastern Mediterranean, and continued with the usual flurry and frenzy of preparations for Christmas. Cards to write, presents to buy, and rehearsals for the "turns" we always do to contribute to the after-dinner entertainment at the regular mid-December Christmas function/party.
I do love to sing, but can't claim to have any talent for it - When sorting out with the two friends (the Welsh contingent - can't stop 'em singing...) who was going to sing the melody line in a particular carol, I said, "well I can sing top F..." and our friend (male - a woman wouldn't have said it - ) replied - "yes but it's a matter of whether you should....." 'Nuff said.
So we rehearsed our ancient carols in good company, and on my own I shut myself away with my Formby split-strokes. And as I've already told you, LHS and I performed "When I'm Cleaning Windows", him singing, me playing, complete with (basic) split-stroke solo done by the skin of my teeth, fueled by a very modest amount of alcohol. I have to say, the feeling of success is intoxicating enough - the "practice, practice, practice" mantra is so right - no gain without time and concentration.
Meanwhile, old friends to meet up with and sing with - In Birmingham's iconic old Town Hall, we sang carols to the beautiful organ that Mendelssohn played at the first recital in 1837. The Town Hall was full, the organ sounded fantastic, and the three of us sang our hearts out like we used to in the school choir, all those years ago.
Add to that mix the experience of performing as part of a choir on stage with Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band, again at Birmingham Town Hall, on Monday night - totally unforgettable.
December brings the Frankfurt German Christmas Market to Birmingham, and it seems to get bigger and better every year - the stalls almost circle the Town Hall, go all round Millennium Square and all the way down New Street...so atmospheric... on a Saturday it's heaving, and quite impossible, but any other day it's a great way to spend an afternoon, browsing and sampling the Gluhwein, mulled cider and all manner of treats to eat.
And so December trips on, and the shortest day is nearly here. Here at home the tree is up and decorated, and the fairy lights are up - even in the kitchen - and yesterday I managed to find an hour to go and strum and sing with the uke group. All Christmas songs - lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Thanks for looking in.....