Preparations are well under way for my big party tonight.
Last night, we decided to do a spot of caroling with my great friends the Respectable Horses. They always look so neat and tidy, and it's wonderful to see how smooth and black their coats are. Near the throat they have a patch of white almost like a clergyman's collar, and they always have well-brushed hooves.
Our caroling was in aid of a Home for Retired Horses. The Respectable Horses singing, I must admit, is really painful. Horses cannot be said to have good voices, and theirs are particularly dull and heavy. Still, they manage a few good notes now and then - and I had brought my Bass Viol which I have to say, in all modesty, I think improved the tone.
We had just finished a rendition of "On a Bitter Winter's Night" when a roar of engines filled the cold night air. We were suddenly surrounded by, what appeared to be, a gang of bikers.
It was Beaver and the Badfort Crowd. It would appear that not all of Cheapman's goods had been returned for they were all astride his halfpenny motorcycles.
"Hi Unc - thanks for the invite. What do you think of our new motorised transport?" said Beaver.
I replied that I suspected that it would just enable them to ride around terrorising the countryside even more.
"That's the thanks we get for coming out on a cold winters night to help you caroling!" he replied. I felt quite sheepish - I must admit I tend to think the worst of them.
They agreed to help us along with the next song, and so we began. O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us. O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us. They're green when summer days are bright; They're green when winter snow is white. O, Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us!
at which point Beaver and his gang cut in...
The people's flag is deepest red, It shrouded oft our martyr'd dead And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold, Their hearts' blood dyed its ev'ry fold. Then raise the scarlet standard high, Within its shade we'll live and die, Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, We'll keep the red flag flying here.
I should have known - a leopard never changes it's spots. I can't believe I have been suckered into inviting them to my Christmas Party.
For those of you who cannot make it to my party - here's a jazz version of "O Christmas Tree"