Category Archives: singing


Mr M has managed to put his back out – climbing into bed on Sunday night! We still can’t for the life of us work out exactly what happened. He can get out and about around the house at least – albeit he looks rather like a ponderous, bearded turtle.

I’m positively athletic in comparison – though the aches and clicks remain. (I joked to oldchurch choir director that if she needs any jazzy accompaniment to the stuff we’re doing, just use me as a pair of castanets!). Must admit however, that the thought of the annual Christmas card marathon isn’t an enticing one just now. If this goes on I’m afraid it’ll just have to be a quick scrawl, no news and a New Year’s Resolution to finally get round to doing a proper database so that next year we can do address labels.

To boldly go – poetry and pilgrimage

"I'll get me hat."
Mstr Miff on Graduation Day 19 July 2011

We seem to have a touch of the gremlins here in the tech dept – either that or my computer and camera have had words, so you’ve been spared the group photo of son and his cronies on their graduation day. Never mind – I think the above snap has a certain “Je ne sais quoi” about it, don’t you? A good time was had by all, the rain held off until just after the final snap was taken, and no doubt since then several hundred English graduates when asked “What were you doing on Tuesday?” have seized the opportunity to answer “Oh, I was in something with Patrick Stewart!” (the latter having received an honorary doctorate).

On the other hand, I’m kind of relieved to learn from Mstr M that he was sufficiently overawed by the gravity of the occasion that he abandoned his original plan to have a quick word in Sir P’s ear as he crossed the platform, asking him to insert a certain rude word into his acceptance speech!

I was pondering questions of life, the universe and everything the other day, and came to the conclusion that life’s been very much “Thunder and Rainbows,” lately. Realising this makes it a tad easier for me to hold onto the positives (of which I’m blessed with more than my fair share) and stops me from spiralling down into a spate of existential and vocational angst aka PMS (no, not thatPMS, I’m post menopausal); we’re talking that common complaint – “Poor Me (s).”

So, let’s forget the thunder for now – I’ll update you on a few of my recent “rainbows” over the last month or so: The Grand Mr and Mrs M walking trip and pilgrimage to Iona, obviously – which I’ve written about elsewhere; a flying, unofficial mini -meet with a fellow Shippie and ‘Seabird;’ Ms Miffy’s adventures in, and safe arrival home (what a relief!) from Thailand and Cambodia; Mstr M’s graduation; planning and execution of a Seabird Area Meeting – the which gave me a few grey hairs, but was great fun, and thanks to the rest of the group, seemed to go off well; I’ve picked up a few pieces of writing…Then, even if modesty forbads me to blow my trumpet – I guess I’m allowed to blow a little party popper: a couple of weeks ago something I wrote was set to music and sung in church. Aaagh! Terminal embarrassent alert! May I sit back down now, please? Thank you.

p.s. The urge to rush about the back garden painting everything in sight continues unabated. And I have a new toy – one of those Irish poacher’s ‘Volcano’ kettles to use at Greenbelt, (never try and keep a Miffy from her Nice Cup of Tea!) the use of which is unleashing strange, primitive urges in my good self. It must be my inner hunter-gatherer trying to get out. Though my neighbours may not agree – it stinks to high heaven!

Morning Earworms

Walking Miffdog just now, it struck me that we’re both singing from the same hymnsheet.

The Ship has a great thread on ‘earworms’ at the moment. My latest is Beethoven’s Creation’s Hymn, ‘To God eternal the heavens utter glory,’ which the choir I sing in used in concert last Saturday. (Umpteen versions to listen to on Youtube; can’t get links to work on here this morning). Sadly, Mr M does not appreciate either my tuneful whistling or the dog’s meliflous tenor barking first thing in the morning. Come to think of it, I don’t exactly fancy our resident Pavarotti warming up either, but that’s beside the point.

So, out to the park we go. If you’re a dog owner, especially owner of a scent hound, you’ll know that walking them is a sloooooooooowwwwwwww process indeed. It’s not unlike being with a toddler. You (or rather the dog) stop to sniff every lamppost, investigate every piece of shrubbery, explore unknown and (to you) unsniffable pongs. Though my sense of smell seems to be particularly acute just now; I love strolling along taking in the scent of flowering shrubs and blossom. I just operates at a higher level than Miffdog; his view of creation is definitely more earthy, basic, and nearer to the ground. (Besides which, if I walked round the neighbourhood with nose to the ground and bottom up in the air, I might just end up being arrested!).

Still, anyoldhow, here we are: him where he is, and Yours Truly where she is, humming away in happy harmony; Creation’s Hymn. I love it.

Looking back and looking forward – life stirs

in the archive ‘Musings,’ – at last!

On 8 April 2005 we learn:

Son collided with daughter just now, on his way into the bathroom. She was coming out of it. Neither saw the other coming;both having burst into a spontaneous rendering of ‘The Road to Amarillo!’

More original than ‘Happy Birthday To You,’ I guess – it being Mr M’s half century plus some birthday today.

If music be the food of love…

….do take that cheese out of your ears. I’m sure I’ve mentioned the Miffy attempts at making not-so-sweet music before now. I’ve been having singing lessons for around five years now; beginning with a group class with the local college. Then when that folded for lack of numbers, a select group of us decided to continue with our tutor on our own. And great fun it was. We were so keen that we used to practise our warm-up exercises in the car on the way to the lesson. Fellow motorists who happened to glance across and caught a glimpse of four ladies of indeterminate age apparently mouthing goodness knows what, must have wondered what on earth we were up to! A couple of years ago our tutor moved out of the area, we decided to go our separate ways. Since then I’ve been taking individual classes with the music director from Oldchurch. It’s only 30 minutes once a week, and the quality of the Miffy voice shall we say…well, ‘variable’ might be the kindest way of describing it. As any wibsiters who’ve been unlucky enough to be next to me in church at Wightmeets will certify.

Be that as it may, I’ve found that half hour really important in all kinds of ways, not the least in the confidence stakes. And even more as something which I do just ‘because,’ and not because I ‘should.’ More especially back last year when I was going through a bit of a bumpy patch. Singing on your own of course, means having to focus (no sitting back and letting the others do the hard work). I quite often come out with if not always a spring in my step, at least a smile on my face and whistling away not so much like a nightingale as a slightly demented sparrow. I’m currently ‘murdering’ that beautiful Purcell aria ‘Music for a While.’ There’s a certain amount of ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ needed for this of course, as I’m a quavery alto and it’s usually sung by a counter-tenor. It’s got a wonderful, ethereal quality about it; versions here by the late Alfred Deller and Philippe Jaroussky. Wonderful!