Each year I just have to hear “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and I am suddenly transported to my youth when I was a fifteen year old boy apprentice on a cargo boat in the Caribbean. A long way from home and it was Christmas Eve. We had just left harbour in Tobago and were passing a palm fringed island that housed a Benedictine Monastery. I later learned that it was where the bones of Christopher Columbus had been interred, but this evening I was feeling particularly homesick as we passed close inshore and we could hear the monks singing Adeste fideles, Laeti triumphantes; the words were as clear as a bell. T’was the night before Christmas a calm night at sea . . . . . . .
The little boy in me, posing as a deck officer, was unable to stop the tears running down my cheeks and I looked across at the quartermaster at the wheel and saw that he was choking up too.
And next week, more than sixty years on, I shall be transported back to the Caribbean . . . . . I shall remember that callow youth on his first Christmas away from home.
The Eagle Choir carol concert will be held at Odell Church, Bedfordshire, at 7.30pm on Thursday 13th December 2012. Tickets available at the door, or from www.eaglechoir.org.uk
Nothing to do with Christmas but on reading today’s news the thought struck me “Who is Max Clifford gonna call?”