As I approached the village hall I could hear the sound of music. No, not Julie Andrews & Christopher Plummer. The sound of a keyboard. It was as lovely as it was unexpected. I was half an hour early for our meeting, planning to get in to warm the place up before the others arrived, but someone was there before me.
The music, plus the car parked outside, gave the identity away - Carol Ferrari - the friend who had offered to play her keyboard so that we could have a Christmas carol sing-a-long.
I made my way into the hall, to be met with a blast of arctic air, it was much colder inside than out. Carol hadn't known how to switch the heaters on, but they would hardly have made an impact on the cold, anyway.
She had been in very early, setting up her keyboard, pulling a few tables together, finding some green tablecloths and placing some very attractive foliage arrangements (made to grace a dinner party, which she hosted two days earlier) plus tealights, to make the place look jolly. Each place had ten sheets of typed-out carols, a beautiful seasonal napkin and three golden coins of the chocolate variety. It looked beautiful. Thank you, Carol!
When we greeted one another you could see the breath hanging in the air, it really was that cold! Luckily she was snuggled in an enormous and very warm quilted jacket which she had found hanging in the storage cupboard, so she wasn't about to slip into hypothermia just yet.
I zipped round and put the heaters on, though to be honest the tealights probably gave off more heat.
When the others arrived they opted to keep their coats on, then we settled for a quick chat and a catch-up, before we faced the inevitable.
Unfortunately, although we all sang the same words, we each had a slightly different tune from those of the keyboard and the other singers, and all at different paces. Half-way through we paused for sustenance, most delicious of all were the mince pies which the squire's wife had baked. A couple of years ago, she won our Mince Pie Tasting Competition, they were worthy of the prize then, and this batch tasted sublime, too.
Then we got back to the singing. Gareth Malone would have no chance of moulding us into anything fit to be heard. So I will draw a line under that little episode.
This is a jigsaw puzzle which I found at the back of the store cupboard, I had to take almost a decade's worth of dust off it. I have brought it home to work on, once we finish the one I showed you in a previous post.
Yesterday morning I had to post a few bits and pieces - there were 31 people in the queue ahead of me... By the time I reached the head of the queue I knew my neighbours very well. The woman in front of me had recently lost her beloved rescue dog, after 11 years of patience and love, but felt that she was now too old to take another one on. The woman behind me was excited because her son was having Christmas Dinner with her this year, the first time for five years.
It is amazing what conversations happen when you are forced to queue, unless you prefer to stand isolated in a little bubble and discourage chattiness.
I had to walk the length of the queue to get back out of the shop, it was almost double the size of when I first joined it. Post offices are few and far between around here!
Time has run away with me, again. I need to go and check on the jacket potatoes and beans which I will serving to my grandchildren in about ten minutes' time, which means that I have no time left to proof read this, so apologies for typos.
Fingers crossed that I remembered to switch the oven on!