It seems that our choir conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, is intent on making sure we have our Five A Day.
Hence we start
off our weekly singing session ( having first exercised our vocal chords) with the apple trees which lean down low in Linden Lea, followed by a spirited rendition of Strawberry Fair and an equally riotous version of Cherry Ripe. Whatever next? Sue and I ask
each other, trying to think of other Fruit- Related songs in our red files. Sue suggests Coconut Calypso which is quite inspired in my opinion, especially as the best I can come up with on the spur of the moment is Yes, We Have No Bananas - which isn't even
included in our song files. I wonder why not?
Muriel is vexed at the thought that this is our last choir session until the middle of September. Who was it, she
asks, somewhat querulously, who decreed that we U3A members - all of whom left school more moons ago than we care to calculate - have to follow school term dates and take a long Summer Break? She is willing to wager that none of us will be jetting off to holiday
destinations during this period of high cost when hotel swimming pools will be packed with over excited kiddiwinkies and there won't be a sun bed in sight without a towel, a tube of sun cream and an unread book artistically arranged upon it by Someone Unknown.
As regular readers know, in most things I am Firmly On Muriel’s Side. When other choir members tut in disapproval as our conductor makes us sing a
particular phrase over and over again until we get it right, I am All Obedience. As Muriel is always keen to point out, the whole principle behind the University of the Third Age is that we never stop learning. If this means singing the third line of Haste
Ye Nymph over and over again until we are Note Perfect, then so be it.
I am, however, in two minds about the Summer Break Business. Where I do agree with Muriel
is that six weeks without song is far, far too long. Yes, yes, I know there's always the shower but that's a lonely business. I will miss my Musical Pals so much. At the same time I am quite looking forward to an August free of regular commitments. Much as
I love our Nomination Whist group, it will be something of a relief not to have to carry two card tables and six chairs out of the garage and set them up, ready for play, in our living room over the month of August. Our biscuit barrel will doubtless empty
over the course of the month which can only be A Good Thing in terms of Temptation to Snack. Usually it is full of biscuits left over from our fortnightly card session, a constant source of Sugary Naughtiness.
You are thinking, I'm sure, that my diary for August must be uncharacteristically empty - but I have to say it is filling up most satisfactorily, even as we speak. There are the weekly Summer Holiday visits from the Middle
of the Darling Daughters and her Trio to be factored in - next week I have pencilled in a trip to Brooklands Park. Oh, the Paddling Pool! The playground! The ducks on the lake wanting to be fed! The Mr Diddley train to transport us all round the lake,
on the lookout for pirates and other Fearsome Fellas hidden on the central island! There will be a picnic and ice creams and plenty of rolling down grassy slopes. No, I won't be indulging in any rolling myself - except in spirit. Ah, yes, very much in spirit.
Plus at least once a week, if not twice, I will need to be on duty at the Animal Agents desk to meet littl’uns taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge. I will be
listening to them telling me about the books they have read and rewarding them with stickers, some of them Extremely Smelly. The stickers, not the children, for heaven’s sake.
And I haven't even
mentioned the Annual Family Beach Day when anything up to twenty of us will gather on Littlehampton beach for a Jolly Day Out with buckets and spades (sandcastles for the building of), surf boards, crabbing nets, and my Union Jack picnic bags (for added
I feel sorry for Muriel who, Redoubtable as she is, is quite bereft at the thought that all three of the choirs she so conscientiously puts
through their paces are taking the summer off. I rather feel that, at ninety-plus years old, she relies on us as much, if not even more, than we rely on her.
I can say is that the weeks will soon pass. September will arrive and everyone will start making vague references to Christmas. Muriel will refuse to allow us to sing Christmas carols until the very last week, insisting instead that we master the intricacies
of Purcell's Oh, Prithee John. We will sing our hearts out and make it up to Muriel for deserting her over the summer.
In the meantime I am delighted to predict
that my August is set to be The Best Of Times.