Justin here! And oh, how my spirits soar at this exciting, holy and festive time of year with the Palace ringing with Christmas music and my lady wife and I looking forward to the wonderful Yuletide story coming to innocent life before our very eyes.
I refer of course to our Nativity play. This year we invited the pupils of St Brenda Without Infants to give us their version of the Birth of Jesus, and what an enlightening experience it has been. St Brenda’s is, of course, a Catholic school. I thought I’d nip in the bud moans from the cross-denominational brigade, although I do believe that because of an unfortunate dose of tonsillitis, the Ass, at very short notice and thanks to Paige Turnbull (5), is Anglican. How fitting, some might say.
I was most impressed with the patience of the teachers from St Brenda’s. Their tiny charges were lively in the extreme. The young man with the wire in his ear did not take to them. He called them “little bleeders” when his concealed firearm went missing for the third time. Thereafter, he made himself scarce, leaving myself (christened “the geezer in the frock”) by winsome, blue-eyed Winona Crate (6) and my lady wife helping to alter the script somewhat so that the manger might include a trampoline.What would Jesus have done?
I feel sure that by Christmas Eve all the little snags, such as the rap version of “Away in a Manger” will have been ironed out. And looking at the intense creativity at work during the production process, I am even more convinced that Mr Gove is wrong, wrong, wrong. Why, without the sparks of young imaginations, our Nativity Play would be sans the Ox arriving via a trampoline.
Then, of course, when the tinies have charmed us all and helped us to focus on the real meaning of Christmas, it will be the turn of the adults and teenagers of the Palace Choir. Their rehearsal was at once professional and and personal, bringing first a feeling of holy confidence in a well-trained body of singers, and then one of deep sympathy for my lady wife. She has always been, as they say, a sucker for “In the Bleak Midwinter”. The emotional charge of that mournful entreaty coupled with the 23 sherries downed whilst grappling with the problem of rap and Nativity and reasoning with Wayne Tucket (5) and Ayeesha Plume (6) rendered her, for want of a better term, all of a heap. I’m afraid she was forced to retire early with a large packet of Co-codamol.
Nevertheless, I feel sure that all will be fine on the night, and I am left with a feeling of closeness with the directness of children, with echoes of “Oi! You in the frock. All the KitKats have gone!”