Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sunday thoughts . . .


Last evening we went with our friends Audrey and Peter to see the Chester City Ladies Choir  perform at the Chester Town Hall.  I had heard them sing the very first Christmas I was over here in the UK, but had not heard them since.  What a lovely evening it was, and well worth the twelve year wait!

The choir

Initially known as the Upton Village Singers, the choir was formed in 1955 (the year that I was born as it happens);  It is a choir that has established itself both nationally and internationally as a major force in Ladies Choirs and has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for a variety of charities and good causes throughout  the years.   This Christmas they featured in no less than seven concerts in a variety of locations, raising funds for the Alzheimer Association (their chosen charity for the year), Hospice of the Good Shepherd, Cheshire Aspergers Society, Age Concern and the North and East Wales Search and Rescue.

We were treated to a variety of music . . . mostly Christmas with a few favourites thrown in, and all sung very beautifully.  We both thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  There was a guest Tenor singing with them as well . . .

Internationally known and award winning John Pierce, just 27 from Flintshire, so a local lad really.  He'd flown in from Hong Kong for the evening and what a treat it was to listen to him sing.  He treated us to a variety of beautiful operatic tunes, some Christmas melodies, an old Mario Lanza tune and my absolute favourite tune of the evening . . . Bring Him Home from the musical Les Miserables,  It truly brought a tear to my eye.  He was very personable and had the whole audience delighted and mesmerized! 

This is a video of him at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the Year 2011, which he won by the way.  He was just fabulous.

We were so glad that we went.  It was nice to get out of the house and we enjoyed it so very much.  I think we will do it every Christmas from now on.  It's nice to be able to enjoy some lovely Christmas Music and support a local charity at the same time!


Todd went into town yesterday morning, but he didn't stay long as it was just tipping it down weatherwise.  I stayed home and was baking some shortbread cookies.  I picked a new recipe to try out yesterday which looked pretty good from the photograph, but which ended up being rubbish.  There was far too much butter in them and they spread out on the pan burning and were far too hard and yukky for anyone to enjoy.  I had cut them out with snowflake cutters and they looked so pretty before baking.  I had envisioned some beautiful snowflakes dusted with icing sugar sitting on a plate when done . . . but I ended up throwing the whole lot away.  They were completely and utterly nonredeemable.  Worst recipe ever.  It was the first recipe I had tried out of that particular baking book, and I sure hope that it's not representative of all the recipes in the book, because if it is . . . it's rubbish!

I hate it when that happens . . . so much time, butter and sugar wasted.

You won't believe what I saw in the local Spar when I stopped by to pick up a loaf of bread yesterday afternoon . . . Easter Eggs!  I kid you not.  I was flabbergasted!  Not even Christmas and there were small Smarties and Milky Chocolate Easter Chicks and Eggs next to all of the cash registers.  Unbelievable, totally unbelievable, and how very disappointing.  One does not expect to see Easter Eggs at Christmas.  I think it's just plain wrong, wrong, WRONG!  You can mark that down as my "Pip of the week!"  What's next, Halloween Candy for Valentines day??

Here we are the middle of December and I have not done any Christmas Decorating at all.  Todd has strung the Christmas Cards up over the front window . . . but I just haven't been motivated enough yet to put up much of anything.  I am hoping my Christmas Decorating Mo Jo kicks in this week!  It is so not like me.  I was always called the "Christmas Kid!"  It's always been my favourite holiday of the year and I have always adored decorating things up for the duration.  Todd has to rein me in most years!

I have always loved Christmas . . . the decorations, the food, the special movies you only bring out at this time of year . . . the music.  Reading the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve . . . and taking that annual trip to Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph, such a big part of my 57 years of life.

This is Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel with the Piano Guys.  I love the Piano Guys!  I had never heard of them before this!  It's just beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

Maybe today is the day Christmas will start for me in earnest.  To me its all about the Saviour and love.   That is the message of Christmas . . . pure redeeming love, priceless and enduring.  One size fits all.

I know it's a very video post today . . . but I hope you did take the time to turn off the music below and watch them all.  I think I am beginning to feel like Christmas now.  I think I will dig out Charlie Brown tonight and watch it.  That will be a great way to get me into the spirit of things.

What would Christmas be without the Saviour . . . and Charlie Brown?  Not quite the same I think . . . not quite the same.

 “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” 
~Laura Ingalls Wilder

In The English Kitchen today . . . Cranberry Orange Loaf

And Sour Cream Chocolate Loaf.  Check them out here.

Happy Sabbath Day to you all. 

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