James & Fiona

Last Friday, the 28th December, was the wedding of James Hutchinson and Fiona Robertson in Old Saint Paul’s church in Edinburgh.

I flew over from Dublin on the morning of the ceremony, and arrived at the church about half an hour before the service. Those of us that had been asked to sing during the register signing had been asked to gather early for a quick run through. There would be no choir as such for the service, but instead a select bunch of James’s musical friends present in the congregation who would come forward to perform a piece – in this case Parry I Was Glad. The full harmony of the hymn tunes was also printed in the service sheet, in case anyone wanted to sing harmony.

The service was very beautiful, and very well attended. The bride looked wonderful, and walked very gracefully over the heating grate in the centre isle – which is well known to be just the right size to ensnare unsuspecting wearers of stiletto heels.

After the service, the reception was held in the Merchants’ Hall on Hanover Street. Guests were served a vegetable broth for starters, and pork for the main course. The food was all delightful, but a surprise lay in store for us. It seems that neither the bride nor groom are particular fans of fruit cake and as such had, instead of a wedding cake, cheese – and lots of it. A veritable mountain of different cheeses, complete with oat cakes, and a goodly supply of port too.

I was in seventh heaven, of course, as I’m a huge cheese fan (and rather like my port too). And so I ended up spending rather too much time returning to the cheese table.

Luckily, however, those of us that had over-indulged were also given the opportunity to work off some of our gluttony when the ceilidh started. The band played well, even if we couldn’t hear a word the caller was saying. The PA system wasn’t terribly good, so half the time you just had to guess at what dance you were being called forward for.

The evening finished with the traditional rendition of Auld lang syne, and the departure of the bride and groom.

They are presently honeymooning in Marrakech.

A merry little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on, our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Such a perfect day

Today was a very good day. Everything seemed to fall into place. The music at the cathedral all went well, and my parents arrived bang on schedule at lunchtime. I also had a great time in the pub after evensong, and I had my dinner cooked for me. If only every day went so smoothly.

Christmas preparations

As of this morning, I have a new-found respect for my mother – not that I didn’t respect her before. It’s just that the high level of previous respect has shot up to an even greater level.
This is the first year that I’m not due to celebrate Christmas in my parent’s home (I’m being careful with language here, as my folks have moved house twice since I ever lived with them – so where they live is not really my home). Instead they’re coming here to Dublin.
It made sense to invite them over, because I need to stay in Dublin to fulfil my singing duties at the cathedral up until and including Christmas morning. And rather than my sit crying into my microwave turkey dinner all on my own (which would never have happened – I’ve already turned down 2 offers of Christmas dinner from friends, and would no doubt have got more), I thought it would be nice for them to come to me. And it would give me the opportunity to play host for once, and perhaps take some of the pressure off them. After all, despite their spry appearance, they are both pensioners.
The thing I didn’t really appreciate was the amount of work that goes into preparing for Christmas. There’s the preparation of the house – tidying and cleaning – and the purchase of all the food, and all those ‘extras’ like crackers.
turkeyI was at Marks and Spencer at 9.30am this morning picking up my turkey, as well as a whole load of other food. And as I write this at about 11.00am, I’m contemplating a further two food shopping trips today. It doesn’t help, of course, not owning a car. I can’t just fill a trolley and dump it in the boot – whatever I buy I need to be able to carry home (without my arms dropping off).
Anyway, I feel that I’m beginning to ramble now – and that’s probably because I’m trying to avoid having to go out again. But I suppose I should switch off the computer and get going – and hope that I find the strength to battle through the crowds in the city centre.
Thank goodness all my present buying is completed.

Christmas cards

In case anyone is wondering, I’m not sending any Christmas cards this year. After discussing the matter with a friend recently, I decided it would be much better to take the money I would have spent on cards and stamps, and donate it to charity instead. So I hope you aren’t offended by not receiving a card.