Yesterday was the day of Christmas cheer in the Garrison and everyone is demob happy now that we are over the hump of .... The Carol Concert! Why do we do it? We gather several hundred blokes, a few women and the Adjutant's dog in one place, in front of the Padre, and we try to sing carols. The organist, bless her heart, tried her best, but there was no way she could hear the Padre yelling at her to stop because half the Garrison had been suddenly struck dumb and the other half was singing two bars behind and flat! It was awful. Luckily, the dog stayed mute which is more than can be said for the Gar Comd who was seen muttering sotto voce to no-one in particular.... and no-one was listening either! It was at that point I noticed that one soldier on the back row had thoughtfully brought along his own ear defenders on a white string and was blissfuly unaware of the cacophany. I might try that next year! I used to think that carol services were part of the agony of Christmas and we had to put up with them, but that was when I was at the back of the audience and relatively insulated from the noise, and children were taught to sing carols in school. Now that teenagers leave school with only the barest idea of how to sing hymns and carols, and I am at the front of the church, it is murder to have to listen to so many different versions of Away in a Manger - one from each person in my vicinity. King's College, Cambridge, it ain't! If we are serious about Garrison carol singing every year, surely we should form a training team and practise until we sound reasonable? Why can't we add carol singing to the Phase 1 training programme, FFS? It could be ITD13 - Hymns and Carols! We are, after all, a largely Christian organisation. Of course, an additional benefit would be that the singing at funerals would be a lot better. I wonder if CGS could be persuaded to agree to an additional ITD and 3 days of Phase 1 training?! Or do we admit defeat, agree that we are not a Christian organisation and ban Christmas Carol concerts? Just a Christmas thought! Litotes Bah Humbug!