As read by Dame Patricia Routledge at the Salvation Army Christmas Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, December 2018

Dear Miriam,

Just a line
to let you know how things
are with us & of course to
thank you (& your good man)
for all you did for us - &
at your busiest time too
what with the census &
everything. I was quite
exhausted and the baby was
beginning to make himself
felt. If it hadn’t been
for all your help that night
my baby might have died.

Good of you
to put up with all our
visitors – who’d have
thought, six scruffy
shepherds up & leaving
their sheep like that?
& didn’t they ever smell?
Still they were good-
hearted & they meant well.
I hope they brought some
extra trade to the inn.
They looked in need of
a hot drink & a meal.

& what about
those kings, Miriam? Kneeling
there in their rich robes
& all? & me in nothing but
my old blue dress! Joseph
said not to worry, it was
Jesus they’d come to see.
Real gentlemen they were.
But what funny things to
give a baby – gold & myrrh
& frankincense. That’s men
all over! It wouldn’t cross
their minds to bring a shawl!

Sorry we left
so suddenly. No time for
good-byes with king Herod on
the warpath! We had to take
the long way home & I’m so
tired of looking at sand!
Joseph has picked up a few
jobs mending this & that so
we’re managing quite well.
Jesus grows bonnier every
day & thrives on this way
of life, but I can’t wait
to see Nazareth again.

Love to all
at the inn,