The Slow Life perfect Christmas would include the Christmas Eve service at Cartmel Priory, which can be enjoyed even by a gnarled old non-believer like me. You have to get there early to secure a place, a situation summed up perfectly by Wendy Cope in her lovely new poem:
CATHEDRAL CAROL SERVICE
Those of us who are not important enough
To have places reserved for us
And who turned up too late to get a seat at all,
Stand in the nave aisles, or perch on stone ledges.
We shiver in the draught from the west door.
We cannot see the choir, the altar or the candles.
We can barely see the words on our service sheets.
But we can hear the music. And we can sing
For the baby whose parents were not important enough
To have a place reserved for them,
And who turned up too late to get a room at all.