Jo and Margaret, who sit in the back row of the alto section, have decided we need to sing "Rose of England" in honour of the Queen's birthday (yesterday) and St George's Day (tomorrow.)
Margaret prods me in the back (I am sitting in my normal place at the end of the middle row) and suggests I should make the request of our conductor, The Redoubtable Muriel, on behalf of us all.
you," says Margaret, "She won't say no to you..."
Is this true, I wonder, or am I just being played as a Mug Of The First Order. Margaret and Jo look at me, encouragingly, with innocent eyes.
A few days ago, staying overnight with the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, I was introduced, albeit subliminally to Mr Loftus Palmer. No, there isn't any such person, as it happens, though I wasn't to know that, gazing at
the beautifully drawn flow-charts on grand-daughter Hazel Bagel's bedroom wall. A level Psychology students like my lovely granddaughter, reading this, will doubtless be yelling aloud: "Doesn't she (as in, me) know anything!" To which I would reply along the
lines of always being willing to learn. And so on. And so on.
Anyway, because I always think it is good to apply new learning to familiar situations, I am endeavouring to relate Loftus Palmer principles to
Jo and Margaret's assertion that the Redoubtable Muriel is bound to willingly accede to any request if it comes from me. Loftus - along with her Partner In Crime, Palmer - claim that memory is inaccurate and changes to fit people's expectations and experiences.
According to Hazel's flow-chart, Loftus and Palmer used an experiment involving a car accident and uncertain amounts of broken glass. I like my version better, though it is possibly harder to prove and unlikely to turn up on anybody's flow-chart, whether on
a bedroom wall or elsewhere.
At some time in the past - whether relatively recent or long ago - I must have made a request of Muriel which was well-received and immediately acted upon. I can't remember the
incident myself but Jo and Margaret are clearly convinced that (i) it happened and (ii) it will happen again. Quod erat demonstrandum. As my Latin teacher, who was named neither Loftus nor Palmer, was fond of saying.
I always learn a great deal when I spend time with my grandchildren, though I do, just occasionally, like to pass on a few Pearls of Wisdom of my own. I like to think, in years to come, they will in turn on a pearl or two to their own children and grandchildren
(obviously giving due credit to me.) So when on Sunday they started warming up for their concert with various vocal exercises as we were driving along, I just had to tell them about the vocal exercises we practise on Friday mornings at our Singing for Pleasure
choir under Muriel's eagle eye.
"The architectural outline of bare trees against the sky / will soon be completely obscured by trillions and trillions of leaves," I trill. My grandchildren exchange knowing
and sympathetic glances. "How totally random!" says Hazel at last. Is that good, do you think? Or not?
Back to this morning. Egged on by Jo and Margaret, I take advantage of a brief lull in proceedings to
attract the Redoubtable Muriel's attention. "Wouldn't it be a good idea?" I pipe up, "to sing Rose of England today?" Muriel gives me a long, appraising look - then agrees it would, indeed, be most appropriate except that she doesn't have the music with her.
At which point, Pat (also in the back row of the alto section) struggles to stand, flourishing several pages of music in the air. Eureka! she almost (though not quite) shouts.
Muriel takes to the piano, we
all rise to our feet as one. Though I say so myself as shouldn't, we sing with great passion and amazing verve. "Rose of England, thou shalt fade not here / Proud and bright from rolling year to year..."
wall chart could possibly do justice to our Singing for Pleasure choir in full, well, flow...