Tag Archives: singing

radiators and drains

It’s only six days into 2020 but you know what? It’ s already better than the whole of 2019 was. I think this year is going to be a good one.

Last weekend I got two really lovely compliments, totally unexpected and one was a bit of a sideways one but I’ll take it. You take your compliments where you can when you get to my age.

Let me tell you the story of last weekend.

On Saturday Lashes and I attended a choir workshop. We were singing songs from Les Miserables, one of our favourite shows, we can almost perform the whole show between us as we know it so well. It was advertised months ago and we have been counting down the days and practically wishing Christmas to be cancelled, we were looking forward to it so much. Anyway, Christmas came and went and the big day was upon us.

A couple of hundred people from all over the south west came to sing, it was very emotional and we had a thoroughly good time. Well, I did. Lashes defected from altos for the day to join the sopranos so we could sit together. That was a whole new singing experience for her. She’s used to singing the tune not embellishing the edges with stardust haha.

During the course of the day there was much chatting, giggling, new friendships were made, old ones renewed and everyone was united in their love of singing. The atmosphere was lovely. While I was chatting to one woman we know she asked about our plans for the future. “Well, if we ever sell Boofuls Towers Boofuls will retire but I’ll be looking for a job.”

“WHAT? A job? Work for me. I want you! I’ll wait. Choose your own hours.”

“I’ve never worked with kids before. Not disabled kids anyway. I am a qualified teacher though so I suppose I could muddle through.”

WHAAAAT?!? YOU’RE A TEACHER? Why didn’t I know this? I need you. Please, please come and work for me. You don’t need experience, you just need a big heart and yours is,” spreading her arms wide, “this big.”

Wow. It’s nice to be wanted. What a lovely compliment. I was quite emotional, especially since this woman is one I admire very much. Praise from her is praise indeed. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

The journey home from the workshop was a half hour or so drive. Lashes and I chatted, and listened to the recordings of the day that she’d made on her phone. Then conversation turned to a woman we know.

I commented to Lashes that I always felt drained after I’d been in her company. I found her very negative and needy and I tended to avoid her.

Lashes said, “That’s because she’s a drain. People are either radiators and make you feel warm and cosy or drains. She’s a drain. That’s why you feel drained around her, it’s because she drains you.”

Hhhmmm. I pondered this for a while. After such a rubbish year last year I wondered if I had become a drain.

“Am I a drain?”

“Drain? You? Are you kidding? You’re the biggest, stupidest, overfilled, fizzing out all over the place, bloody irritating radiator ever.”

Hahaaaa. I’ll take that. Thanks.

Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir

Some months ago my friend told me about Eric Whitacre’s virtual choir. I remembered seeing it a couple of years earlier and being fascinated by the concept of totally unconnected people all over the world joining together to sing.

Obviously, I had to go and have a look online and I was blown away by what I saw and heard. Of all the various virtual choir performances I watched I enjoyed Lux Aurumque the best. It is hauntingly beautiful and I was totally immersed in the music and by the faces of the singers from all over the world. Treat yourself and go and have a listen.

My friend, I’ll call her Susan because that’s her name, told me that she was going to upload a video of herself singing.  She has an amazing voice and I can well understand how she would want to be part of it.

Then she encouraged me to do the same. “No. I can’t do that. People will hear me screeching. It’ll be awful.”  Then she kindly pointed out that no one would hear my actual voice as it was a blend of all the voices together that created the unique sound.

Imagine. A choir of over 8000 people. Ok, actually I can imagine that as I cast my mind back to the proms in the park and 11,000 choir members from all over the country singing together. But this was different. This wasn’t a crowd belting out a song with gusto,  dancing, laughing and generally partying. This was grown up, serious singing.

Anyway, after much dithering I decided to go and have a look at the website, read the instructions and then *cringe* film myself singing the words…notes. There aren’t any words, it’s  just notes. Anyway, after redoing it many times, until the dog’s ears were bleeding from listening to me, in fact, I uploaded it to the virtual choir website and then forgot about it until this week.

And here it is, the finished product. The images in it are stunning. The music is ethereal and beautiful and if you listen really carefully you can hear me screeching in the background. Enjoy.


Doorstop bereavin’

It’s no secret that we love living in south Devon. Now its autumn and we have a bit more time on our hands we’ve been getting out a bit more.  One thing I’ve noticed on our travels is that so many of the business names are so similar.

Salt Rock, Rock Salt, Rock Fish, Salt Water, Wierd Fish, On the Rocks, all names that have been carefully picked to conjure up images of the coast, the seaside, fresh fish, fantastic food, holidays, sailing and generally how good life is on the coast.

Trouble is they are all so similar that they all run together in my mind.

Can I recommend a good restaurant? Yeah. Try Rock Water er….I mean Salty Fish Water.  Eh? Oh no.  I mean Weird Cod Rocks. Or do I mean Rock Fish Balls or maybe Water Salt?

Come on guys. Come up with something a bit more memorable!


Did I mention that Lashes and I have joined a choir? No? Wow! You must be the only people in the world who don’t know.

We are LOVING it.

One of the songs we are learning at the moment is ‘Don’t Stop Believin’.  Every week about fifty of us traipse up to the local village hall to warble away like little (and not so little ) rocking songbirds.

One of the choir members is a really lovely Chines lady who just beams all the way through the evening. She’s a delight to be around. Or so I thought. She sits in the alto section where Lashes sits. I sit in the soprano section so I’m never really near her when she’s singing.

Last week as we left the choir lashes glowered at me and announced that she wouldn’t be sitting near the Chinese woman again.

“She puts me right off.”
“Why’s that then? I thought she was lovely.”
“She is but her accent is so strong and her voice so loud I can’t tune her out.”

It turns out that this lovely lady booms out her own version of the lyrics:

‘Doorstop bereavin…hode on to a fee-ee-eeri-i-i-n’
street rife peepoh…ohhhhh-ohhh-OOHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!…

Strangers waitin’ up a’ dow’ a’ bourevar..shadows searching i’ a’ niiiiiiigh’

Bless her, I liked her even more when I discovered this.  I’m not going to be sitting near her anytine soon though.

Just as a Saturday treat, here is the original  version:

You couldn’t make it up Chapter Two

I know you’re all dying to know the second instalment in the carpet disaster, so here it is.

The insurance man cometh this morning to inspect my poor disfigured bedroom carpet.  Stony faced and unapproachable. As he walked, or rather waddled into the house as he was grossly overweight and clearly had trouble with his legs, I couldn’t help but feel like my claim was going to be instantly dismissed on the grounds that stupidity isn’t  covered on the policy.

“How did this happen then?”

I related the whole sorry tale, not leaving out the funeral, the  wrong colour or the lack of glasses. I saw the corner of his mouth twitch and his eyes crinkle a bit as he tried not to smirk when I got to the part about not having noticed I’d spilt paint everywhere.

“Well, you know that it’s possible to get 90% of that stain out.” Mind you, it will destroy your carpet.”

Helpful, I thought.

“How old is this carpet?”

“About ten years old.  It’s not new but it’s a good one, we wanted it to last a long time.”

Obviously, that was the trick question to see if I was going to try and con them out of any money. He nodded as if satisfied with my answer, suddenly became much more friendly and filled in his report form saying the carpet was indeed destroyed as I’d said.

Which brings me nicely to today’s zero to hero challenge:

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

Funny things, reputations.  My own feeling is that your reputation will vary depending on the context and circumstances you are in at the time.

Boofuls just walked into the room so I’ve just asked him if I have a reputation. after filling him in on the background his almost instant answer was. Yes. You have a reputation for inviting people to go on walks and then nearly killing them. ”

Hahaa  I can’t argue with that. The trouble is that I struggle with the idea that my children and grandchildren aren’t as fit as I am and can’t keep up.

At this point I was going to talk about my reputation for being stupidly honest, however. A bigger reputation seems to be pushing it’s way to the fore so I’l tell you about that one instead. 

I know, apart from the occasional blip, I have a reputation for being generally happy and cheerful with a massively overdeveloped sense of the ridiculous.  I’m generally so cheerful in fact that the staff at work think I’m on drugs.

Clients are often surprised when I burst into song as I photograph them. Once I sang Bohemian Rhapsody to a family group. That backfired a bit as the first half a dozen frames were ruined by the look of shock on all their faces. Another time I was on a fire escape staircase at a hotel waiting to shoot a wedding group shot. We were  waiting for a missing guest to arrive so I asked them if I should sing while we waited. Well, you know, it worked for Sir Cliff at Wimbledon.

A few of the guests shouted back yes. So I did. I sang, ‘I’ve got a loverly bunch of coconuts’, which incidentally, I also sang to a group of my peers while I was doing my teacher training a few years ago. The tutor, a very crusty psychologist nearly had a heart attack.

That’s the same tutor who was totally bemused one day when I got a fit of the giggles in his class and had to leave. He’d made a comment about the dogs helpline and my sense of the ridiculous kicked in and I had a vision of a beagle answering the phone with it’s sympathetic listening face on. I was laughing so much the tears were pouring down my face and I was struggling to breathe.  Of course I couldn’t tell anyone what I was laughing at, they’d have had me locked up.

Crap. I’ve just realised I am in fact a bloody nutcase. 

Too busy partying to blog

You know that saying about not worrying about being careful in life and ending up in heaven all pristine, instead you should roll up in a sports car, skid in sideways and say “Wow! What a ride that was?


This one:

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!’”

Yes, ok, it says it so much better than I did.

To be honest I’m too knackered to think straight. It’s been a FAB few days. Just like the saying goes, we have been ‘burning the candle at both ends’, ‘ larging it up, Baby’, and ‘ carpe diem -ing.’

Thursday (happy birthday to meeeeee) was brilliant, apart from the fact that I woke up stupidly early at ten past six. It must have been because I was excited at being 50 again (I’m counting backwards now, remember?).

Boofuls had, as normal, excelled himself in the pressie department with tickets to go and see Ghost at  Manchester Opera House in April.

A cracking dance lesson followed. Not a lot of dancing went on but there was a lot of laughing.  We are going over a particularly tricky bit in the waltz and it’s causing more brain strain than is acceptable.  The brain understands exactly what is supposed to happen. If only I could get it to tell the feet!

Posh coffee with Lashes and Munki, a nice brisk walk with Mrs Woofy and  then I popped into work and Peewee Winklepop surprised me with a bottle of my favourite wine, Chateauneuf du Pape.

Not only was it a lovely surprise it was made all the sweeter because she doesn’t drink wine and knows little about it other than it comes in three colours. She’d put a lot of effort into finding out what I’d really like. As if she hasn’t enough other things to think about, thanks Peewee.  Big bunch of vitrual roses for you.

An evening of hilarity with Boofuls and my sister rounded the day off nicely.

All in all not a bad day.

Friday was even better.

Apart from the photoshoot I had booked in for 4pm, that is. The shoot went well  enough and I’m chuffed with the photos but I had far more important things to be getting on with:

Our Caribbean themed party!

The chicken was jerked, the lamb was stewed, the rice was pea-ed (by The Rev) the sausages were honeyed, the beef was roasted and the stupidly strong rum punch was mixed by yours truly. Lashes made a brilliant cake:


Caribbean Cake


All the times I’ve tried to put on interesting and varied food when I’ve done a buffet. Tsk, well haven’t I learnt a valuable lesson?   What a waste of time that all was. All I really needed to do is give the buggers meat – and lots of it.

Not a lot got wasted ( though a few people did –  teehee).

The family, the inlaws –  and  couple of outlaws turned up for food, drink and karaoke. Even the dog got in the spirit of it all:


Party Dog


It was off the silly scale, the whole evening was one of those  that wouldn’t possibly have worked unless everyone knew each other well. Oh how we laughed. Do you want to see a video of our ‘choir’?

It’s not for the faint hearted so don’t watch it of you’re of a nervous disposition.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

It could have been worse, we could have been singing “Chocolate Salty Balls’