Sunday, 13 December 2015

Most highly-favoured Lady...

I have to work Sundays. It was a bitter reality I had to face when food retail was the last thing that would save me from poverty. Anyway, this morning one of my favourite Advent carols came on the radio. Well, actually it's not a radio; it's somebody's iPhone put on the shop's loudspeaker system. As I walked the aisles with my trolley collecting peoples' shopping, amidst all the secular cacophony was heard The Angel Gabriel sung by an unknown choir. I know the words by heart and was singing them to myself. As I walked round to the Produce department a woman said: "I don't know many Christmass songs, but this one's fucking depressing!" Another woman laughed. I looked at the former woman, who said: "what?" I said "nothing," and walked on, but I couldn't help but be reminded of this exchange between Frodo and Gollum.

"'Yess, yess, nice water,' said Gollum. 'Drink it, drink it, while we can! But what is it they've got, precious? Is it crunchable? Is it tasty?'
"Frodo broke off a portion of a wafer and handed it to him on its lead-wrapping. Gollum sniffed at the leaf and his face changed: a spasm of disgust came over it, and a hint of his old malice. 'Sméagol smells it!' he said. 'Leaves out of the elf-country, gah! They stinks. He climbed in those trees, and he couldn't wash the smell off his hands, my nice hands.' Dropping the leaf, he took a corner of lembas and nibbled it. He spat, and a fit of coughing shook him.
"'Ach! No!' he spluttered. 'You try to choke poor Sméagol. Dust and ashes, he can't eat that. He must starve. But Sméagol doesn't mind. Nice hobbits! Sméagol has promised. He will starve. He can't eat hobbits' food. He will starve. Poor thin Sméagol!'
"'I'm sorry,' said Frodo; 'but I can't help you, I'm afraid. I think this food would do you good, if you would try. But perhaps you can't even try, not yet anyway.'" The Lord of the Rings, Book IV, Chapter II.


  1. The woman would probably consider 'I saw mommy kiss Santa Claus' a more authentic ditty for her understanding of the festive season.

  2. Good for you. I wouldn't have pulled my punch and, hence, would have been sacked on the spot.

    1. I'm still on "probation" too! I have to keep my mouth shut.

  3. As it's an old Basque carol and no doubt as such a protected EU 'f-nik' group you should have reported her for a hate crime. That might get you brownie points

  4. You were never an Anglican choirboy. Otherwise you would be thinking "most highly flavoured gravy"! :)

  5. I thought that you might like to know that earlier last week, I sent a copy of the sheet music to "Gabriel's Message" via e-mail to my choir director and friend Gabriel Meyer. You see, in addition to the Compline Service for Nativity Eve that we at St. Andrew Russian Catholic Church serve each year, we have afterwards a Holy Supper in which we sing Western carols and Eastern Kolodny. I asked him to look at the music, and to see whether we could sing this hymn at that Supper. He gave me an e-mail in which he asked me to print copies out for practice after church on Sunday. We sang it, a capella, in its four parts, and it was wonderful. We will be singing it on Nativity Eve at the Holy Supper.