It’s nine days until Christmas Eve and I’m no longer involved in anything which requires attendance at a carol concert. I actually love carols, the old sort with memorable and interesting melodies and memorable and interesting words which tell stories. However, as my husband is in a shanty band, I do drift along to support him and the Beach’d Buoys whenever they have a gig, and of course at this time of year, they do throw the odd Christmas carol into their set. All their gigs are free to the host, but they do collect donations from the pub/club/church/social group and from the audience, which all goes to a local hospice for children – every single penny collected goes to Charlton Farm Children’s Hospice
Tonight they were at a very sociable and friendly pub in the small village of Edington, near Catcott in Somerset, The King William Inne. whatpub.com describes it as “a traditional family run Palmers village pub dating back to the 17th Century that features flagstone floors , log fires and a well.” Palmers is the brewery which owns it, and this is what they say about their history:
In 1794, Dorset rope and net makers, the Gundry family, built the Old Brewery on the banks of the River Brit in Bridport. Since then, there’s been non-stop brewing on this site. Generations of Palmers have kept the brews bubbling. In the late 19th century, two Palmers brothers – John Cleeves and Robert Henry – bought the brewery and gave it their names: JC & RH Palmer. Today, their great grandsons, John and Cleeves Palmer, work in the company. As Palmers Brewery, it remains among the best of small independent brewers.
I’ve drifted away from the Beach’d Buoys to mentioning pubs and beer. So, the Buoys had a very successful gig at The King William, a great and appreciative audience, responded with gusto to a great and enthusiastic performance. Right at the end, they performed ‘Good King Wenceslas’, and this is exactly the sort of carol I like – “memorable and interesting melodies and memorable and interesting words which tell stories.” The story in the carol is that noble King Wenceslas went out into the snowy night to take supplies to a poor peasant, accompanied by his page. Wenceslas was a real person, the Duke of Bohemia, who was born in about 907AD, and was murdered by his brother Boleslaus the Cruel 28 September, in 935. We remember him for his kindness and goodness, but most of us have forgotten – even if we ever knew, his unfortunate death at the hands of his brother. The lyric of this well-known and much loved carol was written in 1853 by John Mason Neale in collaboration with Thomas Helmore, and set to the melody of a thirteenth century spring carol ‘Tempus adest floridum’ – ‘Eastertime has come’.
The Beach’d Buoys sang the carol, and the pub joined in with much enthusiasm, and i was intersted to notice how many people, including me, knew the words by heart.