We left Llanfoist tonight around 4pm and drove in increasing darkness along the winding road to Brecon where we were going to see Joanna Lumley switch on the Christmas lights at 6pm.
We parked just away from the town centre at the Brecon Theatre which proved a smart move as the town was awash with families out to celebrate with a large sound stage erected in the town square where a local youth theatre group was singing Christmas carols.
All round there were street stalls offering Christmas cookies, cakes, decorations alongside the less traditional burger van although I did see that mulled wine was on offer alongside keg lager and wine! It was raining as we arrived and quite cold so we shelter in the local Costa for a hot panini with coffee but luckily the weather turned dry and warmer for the main event so we didn’t stay there too long.
First up were a traditional quartet of Nepalese dancers introduced by the local community group representative who I believe had been a Gurkha himself. The brigade has a company (Mandalay) based at the Infantry Battle School on the outskirts of Brecon. This was followed by a tiny seven year old girl dancer called Simran who danced alone a more modern interpretation of the art to great applause.
Joanna was chosen because of her close link to the Nepalese people as her father had served with the Gurkhas and she has campaigned tirelessly on their behalf to make sure that their loyal service to the UK is properly rewarded when they come to retire. Even in Abergavenny itself there is a Nepalese restaurant just of the town square.
Apart from the lovely Joanna who at the end of a 30 second countdown towards 6pm turned on the lights, followed by her amusing speech in English and Welsh, he’d also managed to get his excellency the Nepalese ambassador Dr. Durga Bahadur Subedi from London to close the event with a very good speech without notes that was very well received by the crowds of people in attendance.
A really ab fab night (pun intended), quite a coup for Brecon town and we all agreed it was great fun.