Margaret, who is tiny and very sweet, always asking after Mr B’s health and wellbeing whenever I see her, has sliced her thumb in a car door. Yes, indeed, it is every bit as horrible as it sounds.
When I arrive at the Heene Community Centre this morning for our Singing for Pleasure session, poor Margaret is sitting in the foyer looking visibly shaken, with several members of
Centre staff hovering concernedly about her. I decide to hover, too, though I am doubtful what I have to offer in terms of help - however I don't feel I can just walk on by without at least demonstrating (i) concern and (ii) sympathy. Mary, who is another
member of our choir, is also hovering but she, unlike me, is Hovering With A Purpose. She will, she says firmly, drive Margaret to the doctor’s surgery where hopefully a helpful nurse can inspect the Wounded Digit and decide on medical action. Mary doesn't
live in Worthing so confesses she doesn't know where the surgery is but she is sure she will find it. Mary is, in my opinion, a Modern Day Good Samaritan.
still not driving since Operation Eye Eye, so I don't have my car with me. All I can do is offer poor Margaret a thumbs up - only afterwards worrying that this might have been a little insensitive. Margaret gives me a weak smile as she is helped out of the
Centre and into Mary’s car.
My friend, Sue 1 (as opposed to Sue 2, who sits next to Sue 1, who sits next to me in the second row of the Altos, aka Failed
Sopranos - would a diagram help, do you reckon?) is sitting at the table usually occupied by Myra taking our fifty pence pieces. Myra has had a family bereavement - my heart goes out to her - so Sue has kind of volunteered to stand in as Chief Collector of
Money. Volunteered in as far as she didn't say no, when asked. Happens to me all the time.
The unfortunate thing about Sue’s new, albeit temporary, role
is that we don't get to sit, chat and generally put the world to rights in the quarter of an hour or so before our esteemed conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel orders us to rise to our feet for our weekly vocal exercises. Sue has to stay at her post until we
have completed warming up our vocal chords, in case any late-comers arrive; only after that is she able to take her seat next to mine and we daren’t chat between songs for fear of bringing the Wrath of Muriel down upon us.
It would have been good to have our usual helpless giggle over Muriel’s latest Nature Lesson, composed, you understand, to force us to sound all our consonants. “The trees have never,
ever been so ginormous, luxuriant and beautiful.” We repeat after Muriel, conscientiously. Some people get their ginormous mixed up with their luxuriant. Muriel says it is true, isn't it, that the trees have never been as old as they are now? “Rather
like us!” I mutter, sotto voce. Though not sufficiently sotto as to miss Terry’s sharp ears in the far corner of the Men’s section who comes back with a swift and witty retort. There's always lots of laughter on a Friday morning at the community
Muriel says we will sing three songs which chart the course of a love affair. Considering she has never married and is now well into her nineties, it seems
safe to assume that Our Muriel is a romantic. First we sing Cole Porter’s “Let's Do It” with its clever lyrics (my favourite: “Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it!”) and Rita wonders aloud whether Mr Porter has got together
in heaven with Victoria Wood who adapted his song to create the memorable Ballad of Barry and Freda. It's a sweet thought. Eric in the Corner starts singing: “OAPs in community halls do it,” to which Jay responds “Just give us a chance!”
We follow up with “Love Walked In” to mark the blossoming of the love affair, then Muriel points us to page 26 and “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off.” Maybe she isn't a romantic, after all.
Sue 1 says next week we will be able to catch up on all our news, once she has handed back her responsibility for all things Cash Related to Myra. I will look forward to that. We finish by singing
“Sussex by the Sea” with considerable gusto. It's a good way to draw our regular Friday morning singing to a rousing close.
I phone Margaret to find
out how she is. She still sounds a bit shaky. She spent half an hour at the GP’s surgery before being sent to A & E, where she spent another two hours waiting for a doctor to patch her up, at the same time saying she should have been treated back
at the surgery. Being Margaret, she apologised.
Next week is our last Singing For Pleasure session until September. Myra will be back at her table collecting
our fifty pences; Sue 1 will be back in the second row of the Altos, sandwiched between Sue 2 and me; brave Margaret will surely be there with her sore thumb all bandaged up.
We will sing as if nobody is listening.
Which might be All For The Best, all things considering.