|Puerta del Sol - Madrid|
Christmas here was wonderful but in many ways quite different the UK. For example I had a full schedule of playing - 2 services on Christmas Eve including Midnight Mass or the Mass of the Cockrel as they call it then three on Christmas morning. Usually midnight mass is the highlight. I'm used to a candlelit carol service and a packed church. Here it was cold and wintry and there was a half full church. How so? Well I discovered that here in Spain on the Christmas Eve, the Noche Buena, the tradition is that families sit down together to eat a meal of many courses. As the services gradually filled up on Christmas Day until there was standing room only at the final Mass at 1pm I heard story after story of the night before. "We had 28 of the family to dinner last night", "Oh really? We had 33 plus 7 children." No wonder the streets and the pews were empty.
There was little respite for me in the few days until New Year and the funerals came piling in. I've played at 35 in about 25 weeks. However New Year was splendid. The Plaza Obradoiro rocked and fireworks filled the sky over the cathedral as I raised a glass to welcome the New Year before getting up early the next morning for the three services of the Feast of Our Lady the Patroness of Spain.
Now you know.
So dear reader, thank you once again for calling in. I'll finish this blog by wishing you all a Happy New Year. I hope that the year brings you good things and that at least some of your camino dreams and ambitions come true.
And did the organist wear red underwear for luck? Well that would be telling.