Several months ago, on a weekend off, I took the opportunity to visit Oxford, a city I know well. Normally buzzing with tourists as well as students, the streets were eerily empty. It was like a ghost town, despite the bright sunshine. Just a few people cycling around, probably locals rather than students. No boats on the river (which is normally filled with punts carrying tourists, often propelled by students).
Standing outside the locked and shuttered Chapel of Magdalen College, I wondered whether services will ever resume this year, or indeed whether students will return.
So I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email today from a friend in Oxford, with a link to the online service held in the chapel last week, when I returned home this evening. Listening to the whole carol service was just the uplifting tonic I needed after another depressing day on the front line, faced with the casualties of the mutant strain. It includes a few rarities (including by living composers - but nothing atonal), like a lovely motet by the Renaissance composer Jean Mouton, as well as the expected congregational carols - with no congregation -, finishing of course with Bach's chorale prelude on In dulci jubilo
Happy Christmas, one and all!