Thursday, November 13, 2008

The day the reindeer came

Today, being Guru Nanak's birthday, I went to the Tudor Road Gurdwara to see if it might be possible to film the Sikh community celebrating together. Half a dozen men were busy in the kitchen preparing for the Langar following worship, too busy really for this to be an opportune moment for them to agree, so they advised me to write to them so that they could arrange a better occasion.

I returned to County Hall to pick up the editing software disk that came with the video camera, and then back to church to get ready to welcome Santa's reindeer into the churchyard for their evening meal before going on show in Working Street, as a key attraction linked to the St David's Centre Santa's Grotto opening. Once more the magic of animals from the wild did its trick, and a huge queue of parents with children formed to take a peek at them. Many brought our their camera phones and snapped them while they were grazing in the churchyard. This year a grazing reindeer from last year's event is set to appear on the parish Christmas card. We're still awaiting the return of the proofs from the printer, so we couldn't cash in on the moment.

Fortunately it was a little warmer an evening than last year, if a little damper. The numbers passing through the reindeer pen seemed as many if not more than last year, and everyone was cheery. People may be bothered about the impact of recession on Christmas spending, but I suspect that St David's PR people have done their operations a great favour by not cutting back on this event. Good will is something we all need in times of anxiety. Talking of which ...

Without me realising, yesterday a team of Council workers installed a nativity scene in the north church tower garden. The proposal was made last year, but couldn't be followed through in time. This year, it's happened. Mind you, we only have one cow and two wise men, and no shepherds!
Apparently there's a bit of a shortage of two foot high outdoor-capable figures. So I'll be hunting round ... maybe a garden gnome of the right size would be capable of a makover? Talking of which ....

Long ago one of the effigies of the six knight guardians standing on top of the riddel poles of the sanctuary screen in the St John's chapel got stolen. While discussing the crib figures missing in church, I chanced to look up and realised that a sixth figure had reappeared, resembling the others in shape and colour, but slightly smaller. Closer inspection revealed it to be - a Cyberman from BBC's Dr Who, dressed in knightly garb. Well, St John's did host the filming of the Dr Who Christmas special two and a half years ago, and there is a trade in models of the characters. The figure has been up there for nearly two months. Nobody noticed, until a puzzled tourist mentioned it in the church visitors' book. A nice bit of ephemeral whimsey, devised by Pauline.

I must ask her if she can devise a spare king and a few shepherds for the outdoor nativity.

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