The Youngest of the Darling Daughters telephones me at 9:15 a.m. I have just emerged from the shower, all dripping wet and looking like the proverbial drowned rat. I am, nevertheless, Always Up For A Chat.
As we chat, I endeavour to dry myself, get dressed, straighten up the bathroom and make the bed. I am, shall we say, partly successful. At 9:30 a.m. I have to regretfully bid farewell to the Darling Daughter as I have to be
at the Heene Community Centre for our weekly Singing for Pleasure choir session by 10 o'clock and I still have to (i) brush my teeth; (ii) pack my choir bag with red music file and bottle of water; and (iii) try to coax out of Mr B what he would like me to
buy on the way home for our dinner.
It's a close call but I make it into my seat (alto section, second row back) with five minutes to spare. My friend Sue, who has been saving my place for me, has been casting
worried glances at the door, wondering where I am. Saving a seat for someone who doesn't turn up is definitely frowned upon by the rest of the choir. As I queue up to pay my 50p to Myra, I chat to Rosemary who says she is sitting with the altos, even though
she is a mezzo-soprano. I wonder if I would sound better if I were a mezzo soprano? Whatever one of those might be. Rosemary says she finds herself singing all week long between choir sessions. Just like me.
Choir Conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, is trying to master the new piano. Well, it isn't a new piano, as such, just new to us. Muriel is somewhat scathing about its dusty exterior, its subdued tone and the fact that it is much taller than the old piano so
she can't peer over it to keep a watchful eye on us to make sure we are not gazing down at our words rather than throwing our voices out into the wide, blue yonder. Or at least the back wall of the hall. The tone is slightly remedied by opening the piano lid
(dislodging more clouds of dust) while turning the piano round deals with the visibility problem. Our Muriel is nothing if not resourceful.
On her way to choir she has, as usual, been surveying the scene in
order to come up with the week's Challenge of the Vowels: Blue Sky, White Clouds, Blue Sea, Green Green Grass. We sing along dutifully except for Jay who wants to know what has happened to the Brown Speckled Pebbles we usually sing about? The Redoubtable Muriel
doesn't grace this with a direct response apart from saying that we sing what she sees. There's a certain logic to that.
When the Bacon Bap Brigade assembles in the community café afterwards, the conversation
turns to plans for an Open Day in July to showcase what the U3a (that's University of the Third Age for the uninitiated) is all about, Roland shows us a plan of the Main Hall with space allocated for the Orchestra, the Choir and the Art Group. There will be
smaller rooms off the Main Hall, one a Games Room - where our Nomination Whist group will be - and one for the Discussion Groups (who presumably - or, rather, hopefully - won't be discussing at one and the same time.) The third room will be a Quiet Room apparently.
Well, chance would be a fine thing, as my dear Mum was always fond of saying; I've rarely, if ever, known U3a members in a quiet or pensive mood.
I will need to involve the members of our Nomination Whist
group in agreeing how best to showcase our offering. We could, I suggest to Roland, play perhaps half a game lasting twenty minutes to half an hour. We could have a system a bit like the old "Excuse Me" dances, where a would-be player could take over somebody's
hand. The more I think about it, the less I think it will work. Back to the drawing board.
On the way back to the car I am on the lookout for signs of a tree which was apparently uprooted in last week's Storm
Katie in the road where I park. Disappointingly there is nothing to see.
I sing "I know it is springtime" at the top of my voice. Don't worry, there's nobody else around to hear my warbling. I do love that
song. It's all about green meadows, frolicking lambs, and daisies "twinkling like stars at our feet." On Monday, out with the Birdy Group, we will be meeting in Honeysuckle Lane for one of my favourite walks of the year. With luck we will see all the Signs
of Spring in the space of a couple of hours.
And I will know, for certain, that it really is Springtime.