Attending the annual carol singing evening at Soho House (or Babington when we lived in the sticks) has become a bit of a tradition for us. It's a rowdy evening of sing-a-along to Podge and Jae Alexander's versions of popular Christmas carols and songs. They have the keyboard, the talent, the enthusiasm and the voices and we the crowd follow along as best we can. The upper bar is taken over and the singing echoes through the House, scaring the diners below and testing the strength of the old Soho floorboards with the heavy thumping of feet. As usual the most fun part of the evening is the rendition of 'Twelve Days of Christmas' where different groups sing the 12 verses, doing as many silly gestures as possible. This year we were duped in by our immediate neighbours to do 'The Three French Hens'. It was only after the song was over that we were told these guys chose this verse every year, trying to sing it as loudly as possible - this time mostly right into my ear....
But the damage the evening caused to me was nothing to do with my eardrums or even the white wine we had afterwards. Because it was a Monday night, we were taking it easy (for once) so I feel particularly grieved about what happened. After the singing had ended and Jae was packing away his musical equipment, my friends and I were sitting on one of the plush sofas in the now nearly empty bar when I suddenly twisted my body and felt my back 'go'. I struggled down the stairs to the ladies' where I tried to stretch my back, pulling at my legs while sitting on the loo. But to no avail. We had to cut the evening short. I struggled out to Greek Street where luckily there was a free taxi. The drive home over various sleeping policemen, turns and twists of the London roads was the most painful I can ever remember. Holding onto the sides of the back seat, all I longed for was to get home to an ibuprofen and a lie down.
Of course the back pain didn't allow me to sleep much, and today I feel old, tired and a little sorry for myself.
Not the usual state of affairs after a night at Soho House Carols...so was it the enthusiastic singing, dancing, or simply the fact that as yet I haven't signed up to a Pilates class up here in London? It couldn't be age-related, now could it?
To lift my spirits, I scanned the net and found this old favourite rendition of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. Hope you enjoy it and I hope it makes you too feel Christmassy whatever challenges life throws at you.