Jaqui's Daily Blog

The Rotavator and The Arbutus Tree

I am Singing For Pleasure this morning so I make a flask of coffee for Ismail, the hardworking gardener, so that he won't be neglected in my absence. Mr B would, of course, do his best to keep him well-served on the Coffee Front but it is unlikely there would be much left in the mug by the time he had struggled to the end of the garden.


Ismail has been joined by Arthur who is retired but joins the party whenever a Rotavator is required. It appears to be a case of "Have Rotavator, Will Travel." I am extremely pleased to see Arthur and his Rotavator because I know Mr B was very keen on ensuring the ground in our garden was well prepared before turfing. I leave Mr B, Ismail, Arthur and the Rotavator to it while I set off for singing and the Heene Community Centre.


Presumably in anticipation of Hallowe'en, someone has blown up a number of orange balloons, decorating them with grinning faces and balancing them along the top of the piano. Our Conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, removes them, tucking them for safe keeping along the barres affixed to the wall behind the piano, where the sweet would-be ballerinas line up to practise their pliés in the hour before our choir session starts.


Terry has done his usual stalwart job putting out all the chairs. Because Hope still Springs Eternal, he has set out eight chairs in the Men's Section even though four is the most fellas who gave attended so far this term. Long gone, sadly, are the days when the Men's Section numbered nine or ten and the Redoubtable Muriel beamed upon them for their hearty singing and great attitude. We need a Recruitment Drive, my friend Sue and I agree. We are not exactly sure how we would do this so we turn to more riveting subjects such as comparing Stories of our Grandchildren and commenting on the row about Convenors' reduced fees at Tuesday's U3A AGM. That one will Run And Run.


While we are warming up with our vocal exercises, the three Hallowe'en balloons dislodge themselves and waft across the room. Several hands go up in the air as people try to reach them to bat them back. Muriel, who has her back turned to the escaping balloons, can't understand why so many people are waving wildly at her. It is a while before Order Is Restored.


Olga is having more trouble than usual finding the correct songs in her red file. She has spread music, song sheets and files all around her feet in a crazy mess of paper. We sing "Loudly Proclaim" with patriotic fervour while Olga scrabbles around for the words. Muriel asks us to turn to the page where we will find "My Love's An Arbutus". Sue and I exchange grins - we have a long attachment to this song for reasons too complicated to go into here.


If you were being compared by your True Love to a tree, which tree would you choose? Not many, dare I suggest, would go for the arbutus tree. While we are singing (some of us sweetly, some of us squeakily) about its snowy white flowers and ruddy red berries, I am reminded that I had once thought of planting one in our garden, in honour of Singing for Pleasure. Thinking about the space vacated by the Enormous Bush Which Had Taken Over The Garden (see yesterday's Blog) I reckon I need to revisit the idea.


The common name for the arbutus is the Strawberry Tree. A strawberry is not quite a vegetable, to be fair, but perhaps, in the Spirit of Compromise, it might satisfy my requirement for a replacement shrub in our garden as well as Mr B's longing to grow more vegetables.


If necessary I will warble the final two lines to Mr B:


"But unranging, unchanging, you'll still cling to me
Like the evergreen leaf to the arbutus tree."


I fear the romance will be lost on him. I know just what he will say:


"What's wrong with runner beans?"

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Latest comments

26.10 | 14:21

Mmm, was it because there were '24 men kicking a ball' that it didn't end entirely satisfactorily???

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15.10 | 11:13

I don't remember seeing this first time round.... but thank you for sharing with me. You write beautifully, and brought a tear to my eyes. Lots of love xx

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10.10 | 21:37

Jaqui I think your grandchildren are very lucky. You have spurred me on to write a letter to Amelia who like Hazel is away from home for the first time. 💕

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03.07 | 22:43

Wouldn't have missed it for the world. xx

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