Oh November

Oh November

It happens every year.  I spend the month of October with my fingers in my ears, humming loudly and making no acknowledgement of the red and green stuff appearing around me, because "it's not December yet".  But my birthday comes and goes, we enjoy bonfire night and for one, last glorious weekend in November, I manage to maintain my denial of events to come next month.


This was that weekend.  Saturday was the regular date for the Lytham St Annes Choral Society's Autumn Concert, so here we were at the Cartford Inn at lunchtime, recovering from M6 induced stress and catching up with Linda and John over a plate of Lancashire goodness.  


Our friend Olga sings with the LSA Choral Society,  whose programme this time featured The Messiah.  More than ever, then, those of us in the audience were thankful for comfortable chairs on which to sit and enjoy the evening.


We were also thankful for fine weather the following morning, for the Sunday morning part of the routine. 


We always enjoy a brisk walk with our friends to stand in the gardens for the Act of Remembrance and timed our arrival perfectly to enjoy the arrival of the band.


There's usually a good crowd here too; a fine mixture of families, veterans and servicemen and women and the sunshine ensured that was the case this year too. 


I'm always hopeful that the May Queen's wardrobe includes suitably effective white thermal layers, too.  They might even be a year-round requirement in these parts?!


With everyone assembled then, the service began and a hush fell on the gardens.  Just one annoying little plane few overhead, creating a distraction from the words read by the local clergy.


The service followed the same procedure as every year, though on this occasion we all noted the disappointing participation of the crowd when it came to singing the hymns.  Needless to say, our small party on the grassy knoll did our best to boost the volume!


I always feel for the bugler on such occasions though, playing such an exposed and important role in the event.


He did a grand job this year and as always, it seems that the larger the crowd that falls silent, the more effective that silence is.


We watched as the wreaths were laid and my ears perked up when I heard "The Lancashire Fusiliers" announced - my Grandad's Regiment.


So I look a closer look before we left, recognising as I did so that I had no idea what to look for as far as insignia or logos are concerned, though one was rather more familiar than the others!


We returned then, to the warmth of our friends' house, where there is much pleasure to be found sitting with them around the table with coffee, an assortment of electronica and a good deal of conversation.


Though I did happen to note that my corner of the table was a little different!


We normally head home on Sunday evening, but a work commitment in Cardiff on Monday allowed us an extra night in Lytham, the opportunity to go and see the fantastic Paddington 2 with our friends and to avoid the M6 for another 12 hours.  


Delaying tactics are of no further use though and I can no longer deny that Christmas is approaching rather swiftly.  Yesterday was Mary Howard's Christmas Fair at Kemble Airfield, so Barbara steered her car neatly around the decommissioned 747s and we spent a few hours enjoying a little seasonal retail therapy.  Leaving the hairdressers this morning, I heard,  "see you on the 20th December!" and I realise that ignoring the early build up has a price to pay.  I went straight into Waitrose with my copy of Delia Smith's Christmas Cookbook and bought all the ingredients for my cakes and puddings.

Let battle commence.

Stirring stuff

Stirring stuff

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There's more