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An Advent Calendar of Sorts - 10th December

Apologies to anyone who might have been looking for this earlier - I've spent most of today trekking round shops looking for things to put in my Refuweegee gift bag tomorrow, and to wrap up for my Mum and take south on Monday.

After an early trip out to a big out of town centre, I ventured into the city centre which was, as the saying goes in these parts "hoaching"... busy, mobbed, whatever word you may like.  Walking along the streets, I found all sorts of people trying to attract my attention - giving out flyers for restaurants and shops, chuggers for oodles of charities, beggars, Big Issue vendors, street entertainers, charity tin shakers, side-stall holders, buskers and bands.

It was the buskers and bands that drew my attention.  Small boys of varying experience playing bagpips.  Small girls singing pop songs.  Music students with trombone trios, string quartets and vocal groups.  An amazing contemporary pipe and guitar group (similar to the Red Hot Chilli Pipers in style) and then, finally, the Sally Army band.

There may have been two Sally Army bands, not sure, this photo is of a smaller group who were playing carols in Sauchiehall Street. I later saw a bigger group in Buchanan Street.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but hearing the Sally Army band is part of my preparations, part of what makes Advent special.  The pipers and balloon modellers and jugglers were fun.  The atmosphere was vibrant and joyful.  But it was the familiar tones of Victorian carols played by a brass band whose aim is to raise funds for the poorest of the poor that felt like Advent to me.

Lots of charities were being supported today, from hospices to animal shelters, medical research to mental health support groups.  All of them are important and valuable and I'm glad people were giving to them. perhaps that's one of the good things about Advent that transcends religious and cultural boundaries.

It's been a long day, but I have my gift ready to take to church tomorrow, and have done some other gift shopping too.  I wonder what the band members are doing now, and who will be blessed by the loose change offerings of today's busy shoppers...

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