The old gang is all here. Plus a few "newbies" for good measure. The new term has started for our Singing for Pleasure choir.
Myra is collecting our fifty pences and checking
our membership numbers to make sure we are all signed up and fully fledged members of the Worthing branch of the University of the Third Age. She has given two people the task of giving out sheets of paper with some of the new songs we will be singing this
term. Oh, the Dashing White Sergeant! And what's this? It's that old Flanders and Swan favourite The Hippopotamus. The sound of choir members quietly singing "Mud, mud, glorious mud" echoes around the room. Our pianist, nimble-fingered Morag - Scots through
and through - arrives in a rush and tells us how delighted she is that Scotland voted "no" yesterday. "I was so worried that I would turn up today feeling like a foreigner!" she says.
I am sitting next to
two newbies, Sally and Helen. I am chuffed to bits to discover that Helen joined the U3A after hearing my talk at the meeting of Interim (see previous blog). I must have done a good selling job. She tells me that she was one of two Interim members who turned
up at our Enrolment Day as a result of hearing about all U3A has to offer. I feel a certain responsibility towards my new recruits and make sure to explain the way the choir operates as we wait for the proceedings to begin.
Our conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, is similarly aware of the importance of introducing newcomers to the Way We Do Things Round Here. She starts us off on our vocal exercises, explaining that we have had a long summer break so our instruments - that
is, our voices - are likely to need a bit of oiling. We do, indeed, sound a trifle squeaky. Over the course of last year, Muriel's vocal exercises included seasonal verses tracking the "architectural nature" of trees over the changing seasons. This term, she
has us all singing: "The sky is blue, the grass is green, the sea is blue - the pebbles are speckled!" I can just sense the newbies sitting next to me,wondering what on earth she is on about. "Vowels and consonants!" I whisper, sagely. They nod. Helplessly.
We sing Autumn Leaves, in honour of the season. Is there any more poignant song? "And I miss you most of all, my darling / When Autumn leaves start to fall." We have to resort to the Dashing White Sergeant to lift our
Afterwards the Bacon Bap Brigade gathers in the cafe. Avril has ordered some kind of green coloured health drink which comes in what looks like a jam jar. Sticks of celery and other greenery emerge
from its murky depths. She declares it delicious though I fear the rest of us will take some convincing. I can't stay long as I am meeting friends Sue and Eleanor for lunch at a local pub so I forego my bacon bap and swig at a cup of coffee just to show willing.
I leave in plenty of time to meet up with my friends but manage to lose myself on the way. I pull in at the side of the road and rummage in the side pockets of the car looking for a local street map but can only come
up with two - Chichester & Bognor Regis and Thanet & Canterbury - neither of which are very useful when my destination is in Worthing. I drive around for a bit in case I suddenly happen across the Bull Inn by a happy accident then drive home to check
out where I am going with One Who Will Know. Also known as Mr B. He has plenty to say about the idiocy of setting out anywhere and trusting to luck, rather than checking out directions beforehand.
I knew where I was going!" I protest.
"You always do..." he retorts, darkly.
I think it is safe to assume that he doesn't mean it as a compliment.