Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bringing in Christmas

The Tavern is prepared for Christmas. Lights and bunting deck the halls, but holly is not a native down here and even robins are few on this small Island. Not that there are no substitutes and traditions. We have our own to add to the world's, and they include piping music down to the Crypt wherein our Treasure, the Holy Grail sits.

It is a Tavern tradition to let the customers determnine some themes, as Cherie did just the other day. You can see Cherie's Place here:

So too, as this Christmas Eve approaches, we let another offer their selections.

I will be at Midnight Mass for the Big Arrival and a special Latin Mass down the hill will be transmitted and shared in the Cellars with selected customers who are trusted to sit quietly and with reverence amid the barrels and bottles. (No sampling if you please). 

To set a mood and 'warm them up' ( a media tradition, it seems) we have some music suggested by an aquaintance and sometime visitor.

John Douglas, JD to those who know him, is one of those aquaintences. I have shared the vibrant columns of James Higham's welcoming place at 'Nourishing Obscurity' for some time now as has JD. Yes, I do get out and about. It is not all pump-pulling and bar-top wiping. 

See more of James and Co at:

John Douglas describes himself as old, bewildered, Scottish, retired, divorced, happy, traveller-no-more, ultilinguist (allegedly), painter, nouveau semi-blogger, singaholic (after a few jars) and contentedly waiting for God. 

In many respects, me too. He is welcome to a few jars in the Tavern at any time, as he is one of the world's gentlemen. 

JD's Light. Not unlike JC's
You can see more of his art at:

Being an older chap he shares some things with myself, including a liking for Maddy Prior. Maddie is the 'lead' singer in Steeleye Span, a group quite popular a half century ago. I remain a fan. Her 'style' is medaeval and so an appropriate remedy in this god-rejecting age.

So Maddy, with her high, clear voice, still going strong celebrates the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

It is a very old song. You might like to hear this from rather more comely wenches and perhaps know the words. So here they are.

Gaudete, Gaudete!            Rejoice, Rejoice!
Christus et natus              Christ is born
Ex maria virgine,              Of the virgin Mary,
Gaudete!                            Rejoice! 

Tempus ad est gratiae,      It is now the time of grace
Hoc quod optabamus;        That we have desired;
Carmina laetitiae,              Let us sing songs of joy,
Devote redamus.                  Let us give devotion.

Deus homo factus est,          God was made man, 
Natura mirante;                   And nature marvels;
Mundus renovatus est           The world was renewed
A Christo regnante.                  By Christ who is King.

Ezechiellis porta                  The closed gate of Ezechiel
Clausa pertransitur;             Has been passed through;
Unde lux est orta                 From where the light rises
Salus invenitur.                      Salvation is found.

Ergo nostra cantio,            Therefore let our assembly now sing, 
Psallat iam in lustro;          Sing the Psalms to purify us;
Benedicat Domino:            Let it praise the Lord:
Salus Regi nostro.                  Greetings to our King.

JD again ! Give him a pencil and he is happy as Lawrie.
The Church is in Chile.

John also suggests this beautiful song in Spanish (actually sung from South America) that has a long and complex history too. This is a very deep and interesting fellow.

Here's a bit of an explanation: (you might notice that I get a bit of a mention !) It is roughly translated as my Spanish is rubbish. 

The basic theme of the song is the Nativity of Christ and the Immaculate Conception. The refrain which gives the villancico its title goes: 
Ríu, ríu, chíu, la guarda ribera,
Dios guardó el lobo de nuestra cordera. 
"[With a cry of] Ríu, ríu, chíu, the kingfisher, God kept the wolf from our Lamb [Jesus]." 
The Immaculate Conception is mentioned in the lyrics:  
El lobo rabioso la quiso morder
Mas Dios Poderoso la supo defender
Quíso la hacer que no pudiese pecar
Ni aun original esta virgen no tuviera. 
"The raging wolf (the devil - el Lobo) sought to bite her, but God Almighty knew to defend her; He chose to make her so that she could not sin; no original sin was found in that virgin." 
The song also mentions themes of the Incarnation and Christmas: 
Éste que es nacido es el Gran Monarca
Cristo Patriarca de carne vestido
Ha nos redimido con se hacer chiquito
Aunque era infinito finito se hiciera. 
"This one that is born is the Great King, Christ the Patriarch clothed in flesh. He redeemed us when He made himself small, though He was Infinite He would make himself finite." 
Yo vi mil Garzones que andavan cantando
Por aqui volando haciendo mil sones
Diciendo a gascones Gloria sea en el Cielo
Y paz en el suelo pues Jesús nasciera. 

"I saw a thousand boys (angels) go singing, here making a thousand voices while flying, telling the shepherds of glory in the heavens, and peace to the world since Jesus has been born"

And back for more from Maddy.

There is room for one more at his suggestion and so to another name from way back. Mike Oldfield.

Now, I must go back to the bar and pull some pints. I think there are some who want to listen to those again.

My gratitude to JD.

Finally a different 'Rejoice'. Beautiful too.

Now, the Fundemental Question: Whom Does the Grail Serve.

Remember whose Birthday is upon us.

My supplier insists !



  1. In many respects, me too.

    You think that coincidence, Amfortas, old son? :)

    1. For some, age brings a heightened sensitivity to the fine things, and fine people. JD and thee are among them. :) Back when I wuz a lad, one had to ride a week to find coincidences.

  2. Beautiful, thank you :-)

    JD has a way with music and art, I recognised his candle immediately.

    Happy Christmas my dear :-)

    1. He does indeed. And to you and Mr C, a fine, merry and holy Christmas too, my dear.

  3. Have a Merry Christmas, Amfortas and thanks for the thoughts last night.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..