December has arrived! There’s so many things that make me fall in love with this month: pine needles, sharp blue starry skies, wrapping paper with twine, and singing carols. We welcomed in 1 December with tangerine sugar’d mince pies, champagne, and a roaring fire. But the Christmas cheer started late November for me, singing in the fabulously atmospheric Wolverton Manor.
This grand old 17th century house is tucked away off a tiny lane out in the West Wight. The couple that live there hold concerts in their hall throughout the year. It’s perfect for a relaxed cheery festive celebration. The small audience all crowd in to the kitchen for wine in the interval, and the choir use the snug family lounge as the green room, warm from the wood burner and with every surface full of generations of photos.
The old fireplaces, creaky staircases, rambling rooms, and deserted wings give the whole place an air of Brambly Hedge’s Secret Staircase. And filling it with wintry songs really does make it feel like a midwinter festival. I’m ready to relish all the festivities of December, and I’m starting with this tune.