Jaqui's Daily Blog

Singing in the Shower and An Excellent Accompanist

The song is written! I am sure you are as relieved as I am.

It did mean I had to spend simply ages in the shower this morning, that being the most productive environment I know for the Writing of Songs. Such was the prolonged and tuneless caterwauling emerging from the bathroom this morning that Mr B, convinced that I was drowning, was on the point of sending in the lifeguards.

Ah, tuneless! Thereby hangs both a tale and an Awful Warning. The fact is that, despite the valiant efforts of The Redoubtable Muriel, who conducts, coaches and encourages our Singing for Pleasure group, my voice is still a little scratchy. To say the least. In vain does Muriel take us through our vocal exercises, week after week. In vain do I take a drink of air before warbling on about singing on my vowels and sounding my consonants. It is possible that my voice is slightly improved as a result of exposure to a good teacher - but I'm hardly Hayley Westenra.

Help is at hand, however, in the shape of Morag, Ace Tinkler of the Ivories, who has offered to accompany me when I perform at Friday's U3A Soirée. Morag plays the piano for our choir, so has heard me perform my "songs" before. At least she knows what to expect which makes her kind offer doubly worthy of praise.

So, after a lovely lunch with my friend Hazel, sitting in the sunshine of the garden at The Swallows Return, and chewing over old times (and a rather delicious dish of sausage, mash and crispy onion rings) I bade her a fond farewell and drove off to find my way to Morag's place.

I'd brought along a copy of the words I'd written while Morag had sorted out the music. All we needed to work out was how many verses I would chirrup between choruses and when we should insert the "La, la, la's." Would I be using the microphone, Morag asked me? I said I probably would, as people would want to hear me - though, on reflection, that may be a trifle arrogant of me.

Our first run through was a little rough around the edges, though Morag laughed in all the right places and assured me that I had not gone too far in poking gentle fun at certain personalities among our number. Second time around, I was gaining in confidence so felt able to sing the words (in my fashion, in my way) rather than speak them to the music. Third time round, Morag asked if she could insert her own refrain at the end of every other line so we practised it that way and it certainly added to the overall effect. My pianist added various notes to her musical score to ensure that she didn't forget where she was supposed to come in. I was not to worry if I came in at the wrong moment, she reassured me, I should just keep on singing and she would sooner or later catch up with me. This is surely the Mark of an Excellent Accompanist.

I have to tell you that, having Morag on my side - and at my side - makes me feel so much more confident that I may be able to carry this off. After all, I will be inviting the whole audience - all 85 or so of them - to join in with the choruses and the la, la, la's. I will be among friends and everyone loves a good old singalong, don't they?


Though I say it myself as shouldn't (as my dear Mum would chide me) I am quite proud of my chorus. Not the la, la, la's, of course, these sing themselves. My rewrite of "Those Were The Days" runs thus:


"These are our days, my friend,
We're nowhere near the end,
It's often said our Third Age is the best.
We'll live and learn each day,
Have fun along the way,
We're very glad we joined the U3A!"


Okay, it isn't as soulful as the Mary Hopkins' version but then the thought of an audience of friends, all of whom have reached what Young Faris would call A Great Age, singing along about the joys of a life after retirement, full of fun and friends, laughter and learning, is positively cheering.

These ARE, indeed, our days.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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