A walk followed by a carol service was a regular entry in the pre-Xmas Club programme from 2004, when Dominique arranged a trip to Ely. The last was in 2019. just before the pandemic. It was a popular event so it was reinstated for 2023. St Albans was the venue for the third time, the first one in 2010 being particularly memorable for the amount of snow that fell on the day.

Thus, twenty two members assembled at the Abbey Station for a figure of eight circuit around the city. We first followed the River Ver, a chalk stream, reputedly only one of about 200 on the planet. Enroute, we stopped at the remains of an old nunnery before crossing over to the north bank via a disused railway bridge. Here we visited a wildlife nature reserve, once a commercial watercress beds and a market garden. Threading our way through quaint streets, past a decorated post box, we reached the midpoint of our walk by the cathedral. We then crossed Verulanium Park to a nondescript building which housed a very impressive Roman mosaic. Returning via the village of St Michaels and the Abbey mill stream we reached the Cathedral for lunch.

Some used the cafe while others picnicked outside. To finish the day, the majority of us then joined an intimidating looking queue to get seats for a half-hour carol service featuring many traditional favourites, lustily sung by some of our number.


Photos courtesy of Ida Kwan and Nita Patel