We hadn’t rehearsed, it was cramped (thirty or so of us under the Minstrels’ Gallery in the Great Hall), we could barely see Joy, we sang against the buzz and clatter of a restaurant in full swing and it was the happiest of events imaginable.
We sang under the genial and indulgent direction of Rory Johnston – friend and colleague of Abi. The two dozen best-known carols in the canon. Where we didn’t know the harmonies we made them up. Beer was smuggled into the back row. Christmas cheer abounded and in that marvellous setting one irresistibly felt heir to a tradition going back centuries. It needed but a twinkling Mr. Pickwick, a hog on the spit and an infant to send up the chimney for Merrie England to be re-born before our very eyes .
We owe this engagement to Gill Broom. Please may it happen again – I’d even wear period costume. Mike Waters