We’re drinking something called Genmaicha tonight, and it’s evidence of a flavoured tea that works. It’s flavoured with popped rice, and if that sounds odd, it doesn’t taste it. It offers a subtle, almost nutty taste to the tea, which means it bears up well against mince pies.
We defend the mince pies, by the by, on the basis that tonight was the Nine Lessons and Carols service. In the days that we were still in the choir, we were always offered them in the reception afterwards as a thank-you, and accordingly it came to mark the point at which mince pies became acceptable Advent fare. Clearly the habit has stuck. Also, we had guests this evening and wanted to offer them a suitable sweet.
We’re still humming the music from the Nine Lessons and thinking of Advent this evening, so we thought we’d cheat a bit and borrow a poem we’ve posted before that anticipates the season.
John Mead Faulkner
We have done with dogma and divinity,
Easter and Whitsun past,
The long, long Sundays after Trinity
Are here with us at last;
The passionless Sundays after Trinity,
Neither feast-day nor fast.
Christmas comes with plenty,
Lent spreads out its pall,
But these are five and twenty,
The longest Sundays of all;
The placid Sundays after Trinity,
Wheat-harvest, fruit-harvest, Fall.
Spring with its burst is over,
Summer has had its day,
The scented grasses and clover
Are cut, and dried into hay;
The singing-birds are silent,
And the swallows flown away.
Post pugnam pausa fiet;
Lord, we have made our choice;
In the stillness of autumn quiet,
We have heard the still, small voice.
We have sung Oh where shall Wisdom?
Thick paper, folio, Boyce.
Let it not all be sadness,
Nor omnia vanitas,
Stir up a little gladness
To lighten the Tibi cras;
Send us that little summer,
That comes with Martinmas.
When still the cloudlet dapples
The windless cobalt blue,
And the scent of gathered apples
Fills all the store-rooms through,
The gossamer silvers the bramble,
The lawns are gemmed with dew.
An end of tombstone Latinity,
Stir up sober mirth,
Twenty-fifth after Trinity,
Kneel with the listening earth
Behind the Advent trumpets
They are singing Emmanuel’s birth.