Traditionally it is the weekend closest to my mum’s birthday (25 November) and Stir-up Sunday that launches my preparations for Christmas. It’s not until I play my first carols though that I truly feel Christmas. Today Emma and I headed down to Abingdon on Thames for two sessions in the market square amongst the Christmas Market. When we arrive, some of the band are already playing a last minute, third, session, and it is the perfect accompaniment to some impromptu Christmas shopping.

We have new carol books this year, which some of us have never seen before in our lives. What’s more many of the carols are in 6 flats! Six flats?! It seems the carol books are Salvation Army ones. That explains it then, Salvation Army carols would be written foremostly for brass, and thus the crap key signature for anyone in of a woodwind persuasion.

Following the morning of carols and Christmas markets (including a yummy stone cooked chicken salad on a bed of coleslaw for lunch), we returned home – Emma to a sleep, having only had 1½ hours sleep the night before, whilst I put the Christmas lights up outside and found a home for the large bale of hay we have acquired from Fringford Feeds…

Current Location: Oxfordshire