East of the North Atlantic Ocean and on the western edge of Europe lies the United Kingdom. At the geographical heart of the UK, slightly to the southwest of the centre point, there is the urban conurbation of Birmingham and, in the balancing position a little to the northeast, is a triangle of lesser known cities (Derby, Nottingham and Leicester) that together define the East Midlands region. Equidistant between those East Midland cities lurks the uncelebrated market town of Loughborough.
Loughborough, though, is known for a few things: it celebrated the 800th anniversary of its market recently; Thomas Cook started the package holiday business when he took a party of temperance campaigners on the Leicester-to-Loughborough railway in 1841; it has a university that has produced some world-class athletes; and it is the home of the last major bell foundry in Britain.
Some bells chime, some bells toll, but at this time of the year bells will surely jingle. Or, perhaps, as this folk/country band have it, the right word for the sound of bells is ‘carol’.
Crotchety Man is no fan of bluegrass music, but Southern Raised have given such a wonderful performance here that He can forgive them, even the banjo player.
Now, turning from the sublime to the ridiculous, let’s finish with the irreverent silliness of The Muppets. ‘Tis the time to be jolly, after all.
Happy Christmas/Saturnalia, everybody, and best wishes for a healthy New Year.