Friday, 21 December 2012
A Very Merry Christmas to You All, Dear Readers
I don't know if I told you but after the success of our Olympic Street Party - hence "Milimpics" (Milton Road and the Olympics) - we wanted to keep the momentum going. Someone came up with the idea of Carols in the Street. Someone else mentioned a professional singer who tutored a local choir. A quick chat with him, some volunteers and we had the Milimpics Choir. Five rehearsals at the local Sally Army citadel and we were ready to lead the road in joyous singing.
Last night, we closed part of our road - having got the Council's go-ahead - for four hours from 6 to 10 pm. We'd bought a large Christmas tree and lights and people were encouraged to come along and decorate the tree, along with tea lights in jam jars along the edge of the pavement.
There'd been a substantial groundswell from the younger residents for an unscheduled appearance by Santa Claus. E-mail sped across the aether between North East London and the far reaches of Finland and Santa kindly agreed to drop everything and visit us around 6:30 pm. By then the street was filling up with mums and dads and their little ones. Santa we discovered had lingered over long in the local hostelry. No doubt slating his thirst after the dash from Reindeer Land.
Which meant the choir didn't see him as at 7pm we were in the local sheltered housing with the brass band giving the residents a rousing rendition of a number of favourite carols. However, Santa had loads of pressies to hand out. Unfortunately he wasn't told of the colour coding "Blue" for boys and "Red" for girls, so there was some cries of disappointment and rapid exchanging of gifts.
After deafening the elderly we went in procession up a neighbouring street singing "Once in Royal David's City", each member of the choir carrying a lantern. The first verse brought us into Milton Road and we and the assembled masses sang the rest of the carol together (We'd printed enough carol sheets to hand out).
And that's how the evening progressed. The choir sang 3 carols on their own with the brass band and the band played 3 numbers. The assembled parents, kids, neighbours, and the curious joined in on another 7 or 8 carols.
And then it was over. The tree decorations were taken down, the tree moved out of the middle of the road, the "Road Closed" signs and bollards removed. Just in time. The bin men turned up at 8:30pm. They'd missed us on the morning round.
We're thinking about our summer Street Party. We think it'll be a celebration of 150 years of the London Underground titled "Mind the Gap". We're already planning to get people to decorate their houses as London Underground stations and wondering how we can organise a game of "Mornington Crescent"