Down among the apples and pears at the local green-grocers, I meet up with Ann from our Singing for Pleasure Choir.
When I say "meet up" it sounds as if this was pre-arranged
but it was pure happenstance. Chance meetings have a lot to recommend them.
I am visiting the green-grocers on yet another mission for Mr B. Last week, regular readers will recall, he was after plums, of the
Victoria variety. Today he has set his heart on apricots. When Mr B sets his heart on something, I always do my best to satisfy his yearnings, especially if he is hankering after something which can be described as healthy. Both plums and apricots fit the
(Unfortunately the apricots, like the plums, fail to completely live up to Mr B's exacting expectations. He still remembers the mouth-watering tastes of his childhood and today's fruit, sadly, leaves
much to be desired. I suspect this may be because, as a child, he doubtless engaged in the practice known as "scrumping", by which the most succulent of fruits are plucked direct from their Tree of Origin and crammed into the mouth of the miscreant. By this
means, even if caught in the nefarious act, nothing can take away the Taste of Forbidden Fruit.)
Back to the green-grocers and my meeting with Ann. It seems ages and ages since we saw each other last, we agree.
Still, next Friday we will be back at the Heene Community Centre for our first choir session of the new term. How we have missed our weekly singalong! Ann proves the point by starting to rehearse our vocal exercises. "La, la, la, la, la!" she carols. This
attracts strange looks a-plenty from our fellow shoppers in Pixies.
Yes, Pixies is the name of our local green-grocers. I like it, as names go. I imagine hosts of tiny elves, dressed in green with pointy ears,
scrumping for our pleasure and hauling their fruity booty off to the shop in wooden trucks drawn by white mice with bells round their necks. Or digging and delving for potatoes and other root vegetables with magic spades and transporting them in sacks woven
from moonbeams. If I can't get to Pixies, then I buy my fruit and veg at Strand Local which is altogether more prosaic. No flights of fancy among the cabbages at Strand Local.
Ann and husband Michael are members
of the Bacon Bap Brigade which meets after choir in the Community Centre Cafe. Some members, in recent times, have forsaken bacon baps for more exotic lunches such as paninis or vegetable smoothies - but I'm not about to change the name of our gathering purely
in the interests of accuracy. I wonder whether we will have new members, come next Friday?
I think I should look out our red music files and check that all is in order. I certainly shouldn't leave it till
the last minute. We keep our files in a special bag adorned with self portraits of all the pupils at Birchgrove primary school "where every child is a star." Among the little stars is our grandson Sam (brother James was yet to join the starry crowd at the
time the bag was produced.)
At home I ask Mr B if he is looking forward to choir starting again. He doesn't answer immediately but this may be because he has a mouth full of apricot. Or, then again, he may
simply be choosing his words carefully. I know what he will be thinking anyway: he will be contemplating the need to arrive in plenty of time so that he can secure his favoured position in the back row of the Men's Section and preparing to glower at anyone
who pinches his place. He will be hoping that we start the new term as he means to go on, without the inclusion of any Scottish songs in our weekly programme. Mr B doesn't have anything against the Scots as a nation, you understand, he just can't get his tongue
around the dialect.
Even when he doesn't have a mouth full of apricot.