Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A warming carol.

By the churchyard wall a fine euonymus , a spindle tree, in full bloom. The boughs weighed down to the ground with a mass of red fruits. They're called spindle trees because their wood doesn't splinter when it breaks or fractures - a perfect material for making spindles . They grew in the garden in Scotland but here the warm temperate climate gives this most pedestrian of shrubs a truly theatrical appearance. From a distance this one , set against the grey sky and grey wall, looks like a living flame. A dozen goldfinches , munching contentedly on the fruit, fly off as I approach.

To the cathedral for a concert. Angus wears a pair of Timberland boots and two pairs of socks. The cold still seeps out of the marble floors, through the rubber soles and into your feet. An abbatoir chill.  A French choir. They sing this most joyful of modern English carols . The strange almost mystical line of sixteenth century poetry describing the Christmas birth echoing through the nave:

All hell doth at
his presence quake
though he himself with
cold do shake 


  1. La France profounde....

    Thank you for your most pleasant prose...

  2. Haven't heard that one before. Know that abbatoir chill well...

    XXXOOO Daisy, bella & Roxy

  3. Beautiful blooming spindle tree...really lights up the surroundings.
    Glad you enjoyed the concert, except for the "abbatoir chill"...Angus you do have a way with words.
    Enjoyed the video as well.

  4. Thank you for the wonderful video. A beautiful carol.

  5. Angus, I always get a good chuckle out of your blog - and today you didn't disappoint.

    The spindle tree is gorgeous!!

  6. That's a carol I've never heard before. It's quite pretty!

    The spindle tree is really beautiful! What a nice accent to grey December days.

  7. Lovely post this morning. Tis the season!

  8. The gorgeous spindle tree and vibrant yellow finches ! Nature at it's finest.

    Ah!.... Benjamin Britten...lovely.

  9. I love this one. We used to hear the brilliant Robert Shaw conduct this every Christmas. Such a treat.
    And the spindle bush is the most perfect colour ever!!

  10. The spring in my step has been reinvigorated! What a lovely performance.
    I agree with Pamela - a perfect colour.

  11. Beautiful tree! We went a week ago to see a group called Camerata Nova (google them for a treat to the ears). Bliss.

  12. The tree is a beautiful color, a bright spot in a dreary day. :)

    Janelle, Maggie Mae and Max

  13. It's very hard to believe that the tree is blooming now. What a brilliant spot in mid-winter.

    As always, you made me think. Love the lines of poetry.