It’s a squash and a squeeze in the centre of Manchester on a Friday evening at just after five o’clock. Commuters going home mingle with families and groups of friends coming into town for a bit of festive fun. It’s proper winter cold, too, though there isn’t a wind so it’s bearable. Anyway, singing keeps you warm or at least takes your mind off the weather. We’re lucky – it’s been a week of mainly rain.
There we all are, wrapped up warm, some with trademark purple hats, purple tinsel and fairy lights.
People stop to listen. The old familiar carols are popular: Away in a Manger, Hark the Herald, Angels Sing, O Come All Ye Faithful, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Once in Royal David’s City and Silent Night. We enjoy as well White Christmas, Hail Smiling Morn and Holly Jolly. We finish with Carol of the Bells.
Then there are pancakes, strudel, mulled wine and hot chocolate laced with brandy. Well, why not; it’s less than month to Christmas after all.
And there will be a repeat performance on 17 December, same time same place - 5.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. St Anne’s Square, Manchester.