We are delighted to discover that our favourite Shropshire pub, the Bottle and Glass at Picklescott has reopened under new management and has kept on the 48 year old tradition of a Christmas singing session. Many people choose to walk to this event, (which is in a tiny village miles from anywhere) so there were lots of red faces and waterproofs.
It was a wonderful afternoon, full of song and laughter, not to mention beer - for the non-drivers of course. With a log fire, stone hearth and old beams, this is the increasingly rare English pub at it's finest - no pomp or ceremony, just a warm welcome and a well pulled pint.
Although everyone knew each other and we knew nobody, we didn't feel at all left out, certainly not after belting out all the verses to the folk version of 'the Holly and the Ivy'.
The oldest there was in hearty voice and gave us some fine accordion playing too.
The last seven months of upheaval and moving to a strange county have been very lonely and I admit now that I have struggled with an aching homesickness for the Cotswolds. That lovely afternoon in good - if unknown - company and a few hours of singing gave me the happiest time I have had since moving here and I can almost believe that maybe next year I might feel as if I can settle here at last.
So for anyone not lucky enough to have a fine old English pub nearby, here is the very nice folk version of Auld Lang Syne. In the manner of all amateur home movies, there is the inevitable 'noises off' as a tanker driver intervenes because he can't get his tanker up the lane. So forgive the brief appearance of Andy's head as he goes to move the jeep. And as they say at the end, a Happy New Year to all.