Mr B is not at all sure about this Singing for Pleasure business. I would describe him as "luke-warm", at best.
don't fret, I have launched a counter-offensive. I have invested in two bright red A4 folders, in which I have painstakingly inserted plastic sleeves containing all the music we were given last week. This wasn't just an off-the-top-of-my-head idea (though
I do have quite a few of those.) I had taken careful notice, at our first session last Friday, and spotted that all the members of the choir - the stalwarts, that is, not the fly-by-nights who have just popped in to see if they like it or not,
and to enjoy a cup of coffee and a digestive biscuit afterwards - all the stalwarts come along equipped with similarly bright red files in which they keep the words and the music to all the songs we are learning / attempting / struggling
to sing. It's a sign of belonging. It shows commitment. Each red file is like an A4-sized membership badge.
Ah, badges! By sheer coincidence I have just happened across a Tupperware box
containing dozens of badges which have lain hidden therein for years. Every badge tells its own story.
"I'm at Butlins with Toot and Ploot!" one badge announces, cheerily. It carries a
picture of two blue-faced aliens from outer space - and catapults me back in time to those happy holidays we spent at Butlins, Bognor Regis, many moons ago, where we were, indeed, met in Reception by said Toot and Ploot. Strange looking creatures
they were, as well, if I remember rightly. Somewhere I think I might have the photographs we took of them with the kids, looking scared (as in, Toot and Ploot were looking scared, I mean....)
one of the warmest people I know!" declares a large orange badge, smugly, advertising something called Harp Heating, whatever that is / was. Self-congratulatory is not a good look. "Look After Yourself," is the sweet advice from a white
badge depicting a fiendish look character, wielding a skipping rope. "Save Our Seabirds!" commands Cap'n Birdseye on a badge with a nautical theme. And "Please Look After This Bear," pleads another, with Paddington on the front, adding: "Thank you!"
for good measure. I do like politeness in a badge.
There are badges to show that one or more of us, at one time or another, visited the Royal Tournament, the Cutty Sark at Greenwich,
the County of Cornwall (Motto: One and All), Staplehurst Carnival and Fete, the Imperial War Museum (according to the badge, it needs us...), Manor House Leisure Park in Tenby, Swallow Falls in Betwys-y-Coed, the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway and
the Llechwedd Slate Caverns. We also invaded the British Museum, according to one particularly war-like badge, featuring a Norse warrier with helmet, sword and shield.
The badges prove that, over the
years we have lent our support to the RNLI, Basil Brush Childrenswear, Gillingham Football Club, Mr Wimpy, Help the Aged (youth campaign), Segas Central Heating and the Ilfracombe Corps of Drums. As you can tell, we were generous with
At least one of us was a Cub Scout Tea Maker, someone was a Kent Trust for Nature Conservation Nature Spotter and someone else was in the RSB Young Ornithologers Club. One of us even
earned a yellow Swimming badge. There are badges depicting Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog, various characters from something called The Fizz, Dougal from The Magic Roundabout, the Dulux dog, and the Queen with
Prince Philip (in their younger days.)
I've put the badges back in their box - all except one. I'm off to see my little Welsh boys next week and young Sam has just joined the Beavers so I
thought he might just like his Dad's Cub Scout Tea Maker badge. "Was Dad really a Cub Scout?" he may ask me.
Oh, yes, my bonny lad, I'll say - and I have the badge to prove it.