My watch has stopped. All day it has been 25 minutes past ten. And although I know only too well that my watch needs a new battery and that it is unlikely to start tick-tocking again until I sort
out its battery-deficiency - I still keep automatically looking at the darn thing. And, yes, every time I look, it is still 10.25 a.m.
We have so much to do today, so we need to keep a check
on how we are doing time-wise. Mr B and I are taking our preparations for tomorrow's choir concert really seriously - we are going to look as smart as paint in our red shirts and black trousers. More than that - we have
patiently re-typed the words of all the songs we are to sing on separate sheets of paper to be filed neatly in our smart red files. This will mean that (i) we won't have to scrabble to find the words each time a new song is announced;
and (ii) we will be able to read the words easily without peering down at the pages and screwing up our eyes, the better to decipher them. We shall be able to look up and smile at our audience. Occasionally, at least. What's more,
we shall be the Teacher's Pets. Muriel (our conductor, you may remember) will be well proud of us.
Mr B, as a former compositor, is adamant that we must have the titles of our songs in 24 point
Arial Bold, underlined. The actual words are to be in 14 point Arial Bold. He is very specific about this. We divide up the songs more or less equally between us and set to work, me on the laptop downstairs and Mr B on Super Mac upstairs.
Every so often, we have to check with each other because some of the typing on the original song sheets is a trifle, shall we say, challenging. Do the Country Gardens "come" to town or should it be "came"? Is there such a word as "lender" or is it fair
to assume that, when Irish eyes are smiling, the laughter is "tender and light" not "lender and tight"? We practise a little as we go along. We remind each other that we must lilt when we sing about the "lilt of Irish laughter" - it's not that easy
to lilt, you know, especially when you're trying to type in 14 point Arial Bold at the same time.
I'm down to the last song on the programme, the Beatles' "When I'm 64." Now that I'm actually
typing out the words, singing as I go, I start thinking how well they sum up what life was like for us, before we were married, when we were day-dreaming about our future life. And the future wasn't a detached house, a fast car, luxury
holidays in posh hotels. No, we dreamed about what it would be like, being together, even if that was mending a fuse, digging the garden, knitting a sweater by the fireside. We looked forward, longingly, to going for a ride on a Sunday morning,
renting a holiday cottage on the Isle of Wight "if it's not too dear." "We shall scrimp and save," sang the Beatles and so did we. And, yes we dreamed of children and grandchildren on our knees. Though not called Vera, Chuck (must
make sure to pronounce that final consonant when we sing..) and Dave.
I am not sure if today's young couples would relate to the song at all. It would be good to think perhaps they would
and that dreams aren't so very different, all these years on. But thank you, Beatles, for a song that brought back memories of how we used to be.
Today, in more ways than one, time just stood