I had never been inside St. Paul's before today. I have walked by a bunch, but never actually been inside. Andy and Nancy and I went to the Family Carols and Christingle Service today at 1pm. I sat on the steps waiting for them for a while and the sheer volume of people trooping into the Cathedral was mind boggling. More mind boggling once we got inside was that they didn't even fill up all of the space.
Do you know what a Christingle is? It is an orange with a candle stuck in it and a red ribbon tied around it and four toothpicks each representing a season with raisins and candy stuck on them. They had one for every single person. Which was also pretty darn cool. Sainsbury's (my favorite grocery store, it breaks my heart that there isn't one anywhere near to Guildhall) donated the oranges and candy.
The Dean (the Right Revered Graeme Knowles) was charming and funny and got everyone to sing happy birthday to Jesus. Twice. When we lit the candles the room got perceptibly brighter and one lady in the row in front of us had taken a toothpick out of her orange and was roasting her mini marshmallow on the candle flame.
We sat in the left branch of the cross if you're looking down on the seating arrangement. I don't know if the acoustics are weird throughout the whole cathedral or just there, but it meant that it was difficult to sing as a large (giant, massive, mind bogglingly huge) group because of the time delays. I would love to get a recording with one microphone at the entrance and one at the lecterns and see what the time delay is actually like.