Matilda goes carol singing – in dulci jubilo!

Ho! ho! ho! The "old gal" cunningly disguised the crash helmets as Santa hats!

Ho! ho! ho! The “old gal” cunningly disguised the crash helmets as Santa hats!

With only a week to go till Christmas Day the “old git” – who is something of a Christmas zealot – was encouraging everyone to get into full festive spirit mode! As the “old gal” quipped – it might have been more likely if there was some festive spirit flowing … but he was trying – very trying as the “old gal” said in that droll you-can’t-be-certain-if-she-is-joking-or-not way she has!

Now there is a tradition on the Sunday before Christmas near Matilda’s Rest when the local churches in Auchterarder come together to hold a carol service at Tullibardine Chapel – which dates back to the 15th century. My dynamic crew make a point of going – and it is all quite atmospheric as there is no power in the remote chapel and it is all done by candle light and torches.

This year the “old git” decided it would be a bit of a festive frolic if my crew arrived at the carols by tandem – complete with Santa hats, Christmas jumpers, and my twinkling festive lights!

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your point of view!) the weather was kind and quite mild so there was much excitement when we woke on Sunday to get ready for our excursion. And to add to the anticipation, it was the first time – believe it or not – that this “old lady” had been to a carol service!

So after an early lunch I was pulled out of the garage to get a few photos at Matildas Rest before we headed off on the short 3 mile ride to Tullibardine. The “old gal” had done some sterling work transforming my duo’s crash helmets into huge Santa hats – courtesy of linking together a couple of Santa hats from the local pound shop!

As we all posed for photos the “old git” realised that a year ago – we  had to abandon our planned tandem run on this same Sunday due to fairly heavy snow!

… and the “old gal” in the snow a year ago in 2015.

What a difference a year makes – the “old gal” in 2016 …

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a right Christmas pudding! The "old git" in full festive mode!

What a right Christmas pudding! The “old git” in full festive mode!

We headed off and it was fun tandeming up the high street which was busy with families out walking and doing some last minute shopping! It would need to be said we got more than a few funny looks from adults (but as the “old git” said that was the point of the exercise) while loads of children gave us excited waves and I tooted my horn back in appreciation!

We then headed out of town onto the rural Perthshire roads which took us to Tullibardine Chapel – and I must admit it was great fun to be back out in the fresh air. You can check out the details of our route on Strava below – and don’t forget to click on the map image to get the full data and statistics! 

carol-singing-strava

Team Matilda were in good spirits – so much so that I wasn’t sure if there was any actual spirits partaken before they departed! But the “old gal” and the “old git” are finely tuned athletes … so I am sure it was just my imagination!

In what seemed like no time we were approaching the chapel and the “old git” decided that we needed to arrive in style – singing jingle bells to ensure we got noticed! And guess what – we did! The “old git” and the “old gal” definetly lived up to their status as founding members of the Nutty Tandemers Club with their arrival – which as luck would have it was recorded on video which you can view here. (Remember if you are reading this on email, you need to click on the blog first – via the link at the bottom of the email – to view the video.)

So before the carols there was time to explore the history and my dynamic crew discovered that Tullibardine Chapel was founded in 1446 by Sir David Murray of Dumbarton, an ancestor of the Dukes of Atholl. The Murray family home was at Tullibardine Castle. This stood on a site a short distance to the north of the chapel, though nothing now remains of it.

Team Matilda standing outside the entrance to Tullibardine Chapel - almost unchanged since it was built.

Team Matilda at the entrance to Tullibardine Chapel – almost unchanged since it was built.

The chapel stands almost unchanged since an extension in about 1500 – and is one of the few medieval churches to have survived the Reformation unaltered.

The inside of the chapel - clearly showing the medieval history - well before the carols started.

The inside of the chapel – clearly showing the medieval history – well before the carols started.

Just before the carol service proper started my dynamic duo warmed up their voices with a few verses outside, accompanied by one of the organisers Allan Perera – a well known local artist and member of the Our Lady of the Perpetual Succour host church – on his guitar.

Getting into voice - my dynamic crew warming up their vocal chords by singing in tandem!

Getting into voice – my dynamic crew warming up their vocal chords by singing in tandem!

The "old gal" getting into fine voice - accompanied by Alan Pererera's guitar.

The “old gal” getting into fine voice – accompanied by Allan Perera’s guitar.

Don't you think the (large) Santa hats and Crimbo jumpers added to the occasion?!

Don’t you think the (large) Santa hats and Crimbo jumpers added to the occasion?!

So after a warm up – and after attracting lots of attention from interested people arriving – it was time for my duo to go inside the chapel for the carol service. They tell me they thoroughly enjoyed the whole event – a nice mix of Christmas carols and readings. And encouragingly, it was packed – with nearly 200 people crowding into the chapel.

After the carols my dynamic duo emerged to find that they had been somewhat upstaged by someone who had arrived on horseback – as you do in the middle of the Perthshire countryside! So naturally I had to have a photo taken with the horse!

Here I am somewhat overshadowed by a huge white horse outside the chapel.

Here I am somewhat overshadowed by a huge white horse outside the chapel.

My duo had got a bit chilled sitting inside the chapel as the temperature dropped, so after the service we quickly pedalled off in a bid to raise some heat! In fact they tandemed so quickly, Strava later confirmed that they recorded a personal best record time on the Easthill hill climb section back towards Auchterarder! Back into town and there was a stop at the “old gal’s” hair salon to get a few festive photos.

Me and the "old gal" adding a festive touch outside her hair salon.

Me and the “old gal” adding a festive touch outside her hair salon.

Great place for a hair do - I am reliably informed! The "old gal's" salon!

Great place for a hair do – I am reliably informed! The “old gal’s” salon!

A short pedal and we were back at Matilda’s Rest with my dynamic crew immediately having  a warming espresso to heat them up! But all three of us on Team Matilda had fun – and were feeling even more Christmassy than before!

Look out for my Matildas Musings Christmas wishes blog post just before the big day! In the meantime I need to go and warp a few presents and write my final cards!

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4 thoughts on “Matilda goes carol singing – in dulci jubilo!

  1. Hi there Matty! So glad to hear you are fit and ready for Xmas with your nuts sorted and all the other bits in tune for carols etc. Do hope you will be well oiled for New Year. Are the old dears on good form ? It certainly looks as if they have been doing a fair bit of training. Do tell them to have a lovely time with Grandma and the boys. I hope they don’t forget about you in the stable. Merry Xmas and have a wonderful 2017.

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    • Oh Dot – Merry Christmas to you too! Le me reassure you that my “stable” at Matildas Rest is very comfortable. As for my dynamic duo, they are telling me there will be some kind of New Year ride out to blow away the cobwebs … but only if this storm Barbara person has gone by then! And oh yes the pair are in fine training mode …. Ahem!

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  2. Sorry I’m late Matilda but it sounds as though you all really enjoyed your carol singing trip. What a wonderful little chapel to celebrate some festivities in, such a shame you had to wait outside. Still at least you could lean your old frame against those really ancient walls, what tales they could tell I bet.

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    • Oh yes Jane – we did have such pre Christmas fun … Bluebird would have been quite at home there a sit was a typically Nutty Tandemers Club outing!Lots of laughs as always! Beautifully preserved chapel – just like me! And I am sure these ancient walls hold many secrets! And I suppose that’s a bit like me too …. my ageing frame has seen quite a bit of history!

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