As the song goes: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”. Sadly there was no snow to add the glistening touch to the festive scene (and we had to make do with wombats and geckos instead of donkeys and sheep) but never-the-less the Cog team, dressed in our finest Christmas gear, set out on our December Cog Night full of Yule Tide cheer.
Our evening began in the studio with beer and secret-santa gift-giving. There were some surprisingly thoughtful gifts under our tree but the winner of the most appropriate had to be Michael’s; he received his own ‘No Ball Games’ sign to add to his photographic collection.
The beautiful vista across the sparkling Thames with St. Paul’s Cathedral dominating the skyline really set the scene. Wine—check. Crackers—check. Dodgy jokes—check. Conversation prompts—check… We were good to go!
Gifts given, we donned coats and headed out into the cold night air. The first part of the evening was a gentle meander through the Southbank Christmas market, once again bringing traditionally styled, wood-slatted German huts to the Thames, selling a wide variety of toys, trinkets, Glühwein and super-sized sausages in super-small baps. Surrounded by the ‘beautiful’ building of the Southbank, the market buzzed with a seasonal vibe that surpassed the actual contents of the stalls and set it above some of the larger Christmas markets in the capital.
We deabted the potential, appropriate setting for a ‘wooden tie’, and marvelled at the scene of a market seller, attempting to persuade an ever disinterested passer-by that they should purchase his glass beakers (showing how durable they are by smashing them together with force). Then we headed off for our Christmas dinner at the bustling Founder’s Arms, a lovely little restaurant/bar on the edge of the river.
The beautiful vista across the sparkling Thames with St. Paul’s Cathedral dominating the skyline really set the scene. Wine—check. Crackers—check. Dodgy jokes—check. Conversation prompts—check… We were good to go! Thankfully, the prompts were not required and we all enjoyed a very filling 3-course meal. The paté starter was a hit and, refuting tradition, there was game pie and sirloin steaks on the table as well as the usual roast turkey (rather sadly accompanied by a solitary Pig in Blanket). A Christmas gathering would not be the same without a silly game and so Ocky introduced us to the simple yet deceptively confusing “The Wombat and the Gecko”. You would not be alone if you are unfamiliar with this game. It cannot be found on Google and I’m still not convinced that any of us have fully grasped the rules. But that made it all the more fitting as the highlight to our Christmas meal.
Feeling appropriately stuffed and with paper hats slightly skewed, we raised a glass and welcomed Christmas. In the words of Dickens (whose house we rebranded earlier in the year): Merry Christmas, everyone!