Mince pie journeys

 In the first week of my Christmas UK holiday I have had seven mince pies. That’s one per day. Five of those have been in different locations. My first munch was at a Carol service at St Helen’s Bishopsgate in central London. This centuries-old church has excellent acoustics and the small choir and soloist needed no amplification for their voices to ring out above the hundreds of singing congregants. After singers concluded the evening with “O come, all ye faithful” servers brought round spicy mulled wine and mince pies. Yum.

img_0073My next mince pie venue was in the little village of Biggleswade. Where? Yes, that’s what several long-time London residents asked me too. Biggleswade is in Bedfordshire at the end of a countryside one-hour train journey from King’s Cross Station. It’s quiet, but growing, assured my cousin, who has lived there for 30 or so years. And in fact a long time ago there was “The Great Fire of Biggleswade”. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “The Great Fire of London”. Never mind that. My cousin’s home-made mince pies in her bright home filled with Christmas decor and family memories were so yummy I had two of them.

img_0074

The English home in Biggleswade. Photo: Roxanne Daniels

The third place (and fourth pie) was at a primary school in Dagenham where I watched a nativity play performed by four-year-olds. The pies we noshed on were from an artisan bakery in Haverstock Hill Road. A parade of snowflakes and bears, gifts and reindeer and – yes – human mince pies were all met with the refrain “Christmas is about much more than that”. Christmas, the children told us as we swallowed our treats, was all about Jesus.

img_5340As for the other three mince pies – they have all been consumed at an apartment in Barking, East London. Amongst other recent news items in the Barking and Dagenham Post Barking and Dagenham has London’s lowest suicide rate. Good news to go with my Christmas goodies.

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