I am sitting here, mobile phone in hand, feeling suddenly, incredibly popular. It is a most pleasant feeling.
for this season of goodwill is that my mobile keeps pinging to tell me that yet another email has landed in my in-box. OK, so any one of the older grandkids would say this is nothing special, communication by mobile being a Fact of Teenage Life. Moreover,
when I was a Working Gal, in the Olden Days, I used to switch off the email alert because it stressed me out no end to think how many messages were dropping into my virtual lap. Now a Lady of (sort of) Leisure, this sudden influx of emails is heartening, suggesting
that I have many, many friends.
In fact I have only one friend. Or, should I say, only one friend sending me all these messages. It is my friend David, the
leader of our Questers Group, who is sending me – one by one- the reports of all the behind the scenes visits which we Questers have undertaken over the last two years. My task is to turn all these reports into a common format, add photographs where
necessary and available, and put together an accompanying book for our Sussex and the South Downs Project of beautiful wooden “postcards.” I seem to remember I actually suggested I do this – what on earth was I thinking of?
Lots of members of our Worthing branch of the U3A (University of the Third Age) have been painting these wooden postcards depicting places we have visited and some of the
results are simply stunning. Come July 12th we will be exhibiting our postcards at Brighton University under the general heading of “Wish You Were Here.” My friend, Pam, who is our self-appointed Artistic Director (someone has to
do it) keeps telephoning me to ask me how I am getting along with my own postcard offering depicting our visit to Worthing Museum. I have to keep making evasive noises and changing the subject because the truth is I haven’t even started on it.
However the Middle of the Darling Daughters has offered to lend a hand...
Pam has completed several postcards and also a specially designed cover for the book
I am putting together. I have to pick it up from her tomorrow morning, on my way back from Choir. She will doubtless expect an update on my postcard progress.
shall divert her with the news that our Singing for Pleasure Choir is going to be making its own contribution on the day, singing Sussex songs. We have been practising “Ching-a-Ring-Chaw” which is a song about a blacksmith which nobody in
the choir likes very much and “Brighton Camp”, which is about a lovelorn fella and the girl he left behind him which mostly everyone in the choir does like. We all want to sing “Sussex by the Sea” but we reckon every one of the
choirs participating on the day will want to do the same. Dozens of renditions of “Good old Sussex by the Sea” throughout the day might tax the affections of even the most patriotic (or whatever the word is for love of county, rather than
country.) Myra, who organises the Choir, has suggested we send our play-list in now so that we can get in first with the famous song of Sussex. There Are No Flies On Myra.
I google “Sussex songs” and discover that one of my favourite songs “Morning Has Broken” was written by Eleanor Farjeon at Alfriston. I have always loved the Cat Stevens version – but it has to take second place
to the version sung by Class 4 at Colham Manor Infants School in Hillingdon in about 1973 (I may have told you this story before but some stories deserve re-telling, don't you think?) As usual on the morning in question I was dashing between school, playschool
and home trying to deliver various children where they needed to be, feed the baby, and get back to school in time to see the Eldest of the Darling Daughters singing the second verse of Morning Has Broken solo. The other, better organised parents
were in their seats when I crept in at the back of the hall, desperately late, hair all over the place, babe in arms. All I could think of was that my daughter would not be able to see me, there at the back, half-hidden behind my squirming baby - and
would think I’d let her down.
I should have known better. She picked me out just as soon as she took to the stage. “Sweet the rain’s
new fall,” sang my Darling Daughter, gazing out at me right over the heads of the assembled crowd, eyes only for me. I can feel my eyes prickling at the memory, all these years later.
Popular? Who needs to be popular?