I found myself in Chiswick yesterday for a carol service, not an area of London that I know particularly well, but I was left enthralled by the olde worlde feel of an area barely a stone’s throw from the thrumming dual carriageway bringing the traffic into London. I walked by the river, which threatened at some points to spill all over the road, stared agog at the vast houses, imagining them to have been funded by comedians’ voice overs, and mused at the tombstones in the church yard.

Apart from the tales of tax-dodging smugglers at the water’s edge, there was the tomb of Hogarth, a Tolkien, possibly a distant cousin, a gent whose middle name was very, very rude indeed, and none other than Ugo Foscolo, Italian firebrand, revolutionary and poet. The Italians eventually decided that he was unlikely to cause further trouble after he had been dead for a while, so he now resides in the Santa Croce in Florence, but the tomb remains.

The carol service was that volatile mixture of highly excited children, aware that the end of term is just around the corner, and teachers at the very end of their stressed tethers, something best viewed from the security of an organ loft. In the end all was fine, no chime bars were used in anger, although I really do wonder whether I should maybe still be playing Walking In The Air at this stage in my career.

Still, tonight at Mary Abbots The Oxen will receive its second performance, and while it is not the most modern carol in the world I think that it inhabits its own particular niche in a fitting manner. Before this evening there is another school carol service to get through and somewhere there, towards the end of the week, it all begins to calm down.

Before today’s services I need to gather up what enthusiasm I have and tackle a couple of charts for the gig next week, a slowly and surely approach rather than a blitz, and the I hope to spend a little of time doing some further reading of my composition books. It will be a classic bitsa day, but I hope it will be fulfilling none the less, and there may even be a sneaky play of something light and frothy towards the end, if I feel I deserve a reward for a day well spent.