Fresh from the successful winter training camp session at King’s Croft Igloo Pavilion, thirteen battle hardened members of the band arrived at Cannon Hall for the real deal of an outdoor performance on the shortest day of the year. With the temperature only a tad above freezing, coats, hats, gloves, handwarmers and, I suspect, thermal undergarments were the order of the day although the gloves were off so to speak when necessary. Mike S appeared to have particular difficulty with the cold as his music material crashed to the ground on more than one occasion , (gleefully pointed out by Sue ) but he more than made up for this with his proficient playing, not to mention his splendid Christmas jumper.
Our allocated area between the cafe and the farmshop was both good and bad: It was good in that there was a steady footfall not only from shoppers and cafe customers but also from families making their way from a pantomime as well as those heading for the farm. The downside was the background noise including the rattle from a few shopping trolleys which could be mistaken for applause. ( In fact the majority of the clapping came from band members trying to keep their hands warm.) Despite this, the extremities suffered as evidenced by the elf ears on John’s hat which gradually turned blue.
Spirits were briefly raised when we anticipated a treat from the shop staff – a mince pie each or mulled wine perhaps ? – in fact we had to settle for a malteser or twirl from a brown paper bag.
David meanwhile with his ear to the ground as always decided there and then to alternate seasonal and everyday songs which caused a bit of panic in re-ordering of material from the original set list not least from myself as paper copies of three songs had gone missing , two of which were later discovered by Roy in a nearby bin.Somebody wasn’t happy! (Sweet Sixteen is still missing.)
It was with some relief when the break arrived and we could collectively seek out hot beverages to gather round. Pop initially needed more than a latte to get him moving as he literally creaked his way over towards us complaining that the metal bits in his knees were seizing up. Fortunately I had a can of WD 40 handy and he was soon on his way, weaving confidently between the crowds to be first in the queue for a takeaway coffee which Richard had to pay for as Pop only had cash.
The band reassembled and the second half breezed along, one spontaneous highlight being a lovely rendition of Silent Night with Pop starring on the harmonica and the band accompanying him in song for the first verse.
The session was wrapped up with a Slade Christmas hit followed by, needless to say, We Wish you a Merry Christmas but there it’s been said now.
As the band started to disperse and thoughts turned back once more to the practicalities of Christmas this conversation was heard
Maria: I’m looking for some venison sausages.
Richard: I bet they’ll be deer,
Margaret: They wont be cheap.
Notwithstanding the cold and corny jokes, it was and is great to be able to get the chance to be part of this group especially in such uncertain times and I know that everyone appreciates the efforts of David in leading from the front and helping to disguise the inevitable blemishes which occur. Thanks, David and a Happy Christmas to everyone.