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May the Angels guard you this day
The shepherds share their joy with you.
May Joseph give you his strength
And Mary enfold you in her arms.
And may the radiance of the Christ-child
Warm all your days with His love and light .
I think this is one of the loveliest Poems for Christmas time,
This is a really easy thing to do and very effective – your home will smell divine!
While you’re singing your heart out and enjoying a lovely walk through a local pine forest, collect some fir cones.
Sort and place them on a baking tray in a warm oven for a couple of hours until they’re dry and fully open. When cool, put them in a large plastic bag and pour in the drops of essential oil. For a festive aroma I used 10 drops of cinnamon oil and 5 drops of clove oil. Seal the bag and give it a good shake.
The longer you let the pine cones sit, the stronger the smell.
Cathy Arthur 2020
The Family Crib has been part of my Christmas for over 70 years, first as the Matthews Crib and then a Body ‘heirloom’ . Baby Jesus is put into the Crib after the Midnight Mass; the Kings replace the Shepherds at Epiphany. We always have a sprig of Rosemary for remembrance of Christmases past. (and the Crib stays up until Candlemass, Feb 2nd)
I made this crib scene when I was an early years teacher. It was originally made almost entirely of felt but over time assorted replacements and additions were added. I used to tell the children the Christmas story and move the characters and animals into position as the story progressed. Afterwards, the crib was left for the children to inspect with dire warnings about not removing the pieces or using them in other areas of the classroom.
Of course, as time went by various pieces went missing, the baby Jesus was particularly susceptible to movement! In the last few days of the Christmas term sheepish parents would approach me in the mornings full of apologies because a sheep or angel had been found in a small coat pocket or even more drastically amongst a load of damp washing in the washing machine!
I think there are just a few of the original pieces, the innkeeper – never the most popular Nativity character remains intact. Now my grandchildren play with it at Christmas and so the story goes on……….
Thomas and Ben and their Mum and Dad had come to spend Christmas with Granny and Grandpa. It was Christmas Eve and they had already been to church to take part in a traditional nativity service. Thomas was a king and Ben insisted on being an angel and then refused to be parted from his tinsel halo! After supper we could hear distant bells ringing and the boys were encouraged outside to investigate. Around the corner came none other than Father Christmas himself! The boys were speechless but acknowledged they were indeed Thomas and Ben when asked. Father Christmas delved in his sack and produced a present for each of them and then said he had been told that an ugly Granny also lived here! The boys immediately pointed to their Granny and Father Christmas gave Granny a present too! Father Christmas then said he had to be moving on and held out his hand to say goodbye. A cascade of sweets descended onto the ground and with that he was gone. It was the most special, magical Christmas Eve ever (apart from the ugly Granny bit).
This angel was made by Mrs Veal, my babysitter, so it must be at least 70 years old Apart from the tinsel being replaced she’s exactly the same sitting on the top of the tree every year and tradition was that the youngest in the house put her there!
December 2014 found us visiting our son in New Zealand. As erstwhile Dyfed Choir conductor, Tim Noon, was Director of Music at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland, attending the Service of Nine Lessons there was a must. Auckland is after all a mere 2 hours drive away from Raglan where Niall lives – a short distance in kiwi terms.
When we entered the cathedral, we were confronted by a large hole in the floor of the nave and a very familiar voice emanating from the depths. Being a modern cathedral, Holy Trinity not only has outstanding stained glass but also has a nifty storage basement and Tim was busy organizing enough seats for his choristers. I had just sung in a freezing cold St David’s Cathedral where there had been quite an issue about seating too! Appearing in his workday uniform of shorts and jandals (flipflops), Tim welcomed us.
His Nine Lessons Service was a treat with both familiar and innovative music, all of the high standard we would have expected from him. Afterwards choristers and congregation milled about outside in the balmy night air. A far cry indeed from Dyfed Choir’s Christmas concert of a few days earlier.
Our strange topsy turvy Christmas continued with paddle boarding and a dip in the sea on Christmas morning followed by Christmas dinner from the barbie.
Well how else can you wrap up a child’s bike in Christmas paper? When Charlie ( aged 2½ ) spotted the bike through the lit window, without waiting for the door to be opened for him, he dived through the window to reach it. Large enough to accommodate a 3 – 4 year old, the house also made a great Christmas play thing for several years. That year, we suffered a heavy fall of cotton wool in the house! Dimensions? Well, big enough to hold a bicycle!
This card was sent by a special friend a few Christmas seasons ago.
The first thing to be hung before Christmas is my favourite embroidered picture of Santa. I purchased it during a Spring sale about ten years ago. I thought when I bought it that it wasn’t quite the right season for a Christmas picture, but felt it could be completed by the following December. Well, it took a few Christmases for me to sew the final lurex stitches on Santa’s beard and then my daughter said she would get it framed as one of my Christmas gifts. I’m so glad she did, because I wouldn’t have thought of using a green frame : but it’s perfect.
My Dad was a policeman, and in 1948 he was posted from Penarth to the Welsh Valleys town of Pengam, along with my Mum, my sister Sue (8) and my brother Clive (5)). I was born a year later, a very baby sister for them.
My earliest Christmas memory was in Pengam. I must have been three years old when I refused to take my Christmas stocking off the bedpost after Christmas Day and insisted on leaving it up for most of January. Dad (I mean, Father Christmas) found little things to put in it for weeks, often a bag of Smiths crisps which was a real treat in those days. I’m not sure how I eventually gave up that stocking, but it probably explains my present day love of carbohydrates!
At four years of age we moved back to the Vale of Glamorgan and I have so many lovely memories of early Christmases in Pentremeyrick that it’s hard to choose the best.
Probably my most exciting memory was when Dad, on Christmas morning, went into the spare bedroom next to mine and came out with a kidney-shaped dressing table, with swing mirror, and complete with pink satin drapes. He had made it himself. I was incredulous! All this was going on next door to me and I hadn’t even noticed (talk about lack of initiative!).
After that..well nothing compared to that dressing table, but I do remember the excitement of waking up at 4 in the morning and finding a wooden piano with about 12 keys on my bed. Mum remembered being rudely awakened to the plink-plonk of “The First Nowell” coming from my bedroom. I can hear it now.
One year (was I 6 or 7?) I remember my mum saving for months to buy me my present, a doll, (ONE doll, can you imagine getting away with that now?). One evening, after I had gone to bed, I heard her plotting to buy it, through a catalogue. It arrived and she hid it, but I found it on top of her wardrobe in a lovely box. I got that doll down every day during December and played with her and put her back in the box until Christmas Day. I still have that doll, Caroline, wearing the same dress.
Christmas memories for me are: the smell of tangerines, the feel on my feet of fluffy new slippers, a tube of multicoloured balls of bath oil. Later, it was a new diary and film star annuals with full page glossy photos of my current heart-throbs.
Fast forward 20 years, living in Pembrokeshire, and I’m trying to recreate my childhood Christmases for my two sons. Forty years on again and I realise that I partly succeeded. Luke is so nostalgic, he still has the scented sleigh-shaped Avon candle I bought him when he was about six (and it still smells like Christmas he says!). My younger son, Leon, disapproves of Christmas with all its excess and trimmings; a total waste of the earth’s resources, he thinks, and he’d rather save the planet.
Oh well, this year maybe more than any other year, I’m sticking to tradition. Who cares if nobody can visit to see my lovely Christmas tree? The fairy lights, glowing as I come down the stairs on a dark winter’s morning, are just for me.
The 100 Club operates as a Small Lottery as defined by the Gambling Act 2005. The object of the Club is to raise funds for The Dyfed Choir. For just £10 each member has 10 chances in the year to win £25.
In December and January of each year, the 100 Club secretary Jennie invites choir members to join. From the money collected £250 is set aside for prize money with the remainder boosting choir funds.
Please join...every little helps!
Please would choir members help raise funds for the choir by remembering to make on line purchases through
Click on the hyperlink to watch the short video which explains the simple steps to follow. It's easy to do and If we all take part it would make a big difference to choir funds.
Kathy Sleigh's Lockdown Cookbook is for sale in aid of the new website, at a cost of £5.
To purchase your copy, contact Kathy: email@example.com
Lynn had a bumper crop of blackcurrants this year and has been making jam. You can buy a pot for £2 from Lynn. Just email her on firstname.lastname@example.org to make your purchase. All money will go to the choir Work for a Website fund.
Health and Safety
We provide our own concert stewards but the Cathedral provides personnel to cover Health and Safety requirements and organises First Aid cover.
Performers will be briefed about Health and Safety procedures and asked to follow instructions from
the stewards in the event of an evacuation.
The West Cloister room [up the stairs near the cloister toilets] is available for Conductors and soloists. Space is also available in the North and/or South transepts. Performers are asked NOT to change in the quire or presbytery.
Our stage manager will have agreed a seating plan with the Music Director and the Verger’s department prior to a concert. Please do not move any chairs - refer any concerns to the Stage Manager.
Guidelines for behaviour in the cathedral. *
Please show respect for the space and other things which may be taking place in the building.
Refreshments are to be taken in the Refectory or outside the Cathedral building itself.
Please do not eat or drink inside the cathedral (Water bottles are exempt).
Thank you for reading this information.
It has been extracted from the Agreement and Formal Concert Booking Details form which we are required to sign on behalf of the choir.
If you have any queries please ask Rose Bowen, Concert Organiser, for further information.
* These Guidelines for Behaviour apply to all churches we sing in.