Thursday, 9 October 2014

The one that got away

Just a very brief word from my extensive stock of whimsical trivial musings.

On my favourite soap-box, criticising the wording of TV ad's.

Have just seen the umpteenth version of one of my pet rants.

Presenter proudly holds aloft bottle, spray, canister of product with the reassuring words " XXXXX kills 99% of bacteria.

Which means that the product does everything but what you want it for.

It is not the weak, feeble mostly harmless bugs we want to be rid of, it's the 1% powerful malign monster which the spray cannot touch.

When oh when will advertisers actually read their own ad's.

Phew.   That feels better.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

I feel pretty...

It's that time of year again.

Friday's choir rehearsal was extra tiring because I had a persistent cough.

Thought it was just my usual reaction to a huge draughty and dusty church.

Saturday morning taught me the error of my ways, sore throat, runny nose, sore eyes and such a pretty pink nose.

This morning I phoned the choir mistress to tell her I was hor's de combat and likely to be so for a while.  All this in a gravelly voice which would have done justice to Louis Armstrong.

Glad to go back to bed I nevertheless felt somewhat aggrieved to be missing the Harvest Festival.

There is a particularly pleasing arrangement of all the donated 'goodies', and I have missed it.  Not fair!

It happens around this time most years so I shouldn't be too surprised but it is very disappointing to attend  all the run-up to the day and miss the main event.

From here on the musical part of the church escalates week by week, as extra services pile up and more and more demands are made on our time and vocal resources.

Luckily we have a lot of new members, and while we all go down with the lurgy at some stage, there are now enough people to cover all the gaps

I shall not attempt to return until all signs of infection have departed, it wouldn't be fair to the others, to say nothing of the affect it would have on my aged vocal chords.

From the good but quite small choir I joined in May 2010, we have grown to a huge 30 strong one with a very good sound when we are all present.  This includes 10 mice (my name for the 8 to 12 year olds)

The bats have started to make the occasional sortie during rehearsals once more, so we must be doing something right.

Unfortunately the resident arachnids are also 'dropping' by to pay their respects.  Uggh.

I'm rambling so will return to bed, there to sneeze in comfort..

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Au(rachni)tumn

One more the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us, together with its less welcome components.

On Tuesday morning a warm and sunny Autumn day, I was going about my duties at St M's when a trip to the loo became necessary.

Innocently approaching the hand basin I saw it had an occupant.  Roughly about 3 inches in diameter and sitting black and squat and evil in the centre.

Hastily turning to the other hand basin I completed the fastest hand wash in history and made my shaky way to the refectory where my obvious agitation caused mild concern until I had explained the reason.  The resulting "Oohs,  Ohs and Yuks", caused a young male volunteer to offer assistance.

I yelled a completely unreasonable "Don't kill it" after his retreating back and he vanished.  It seemed about 10 minutes - probably more like 30 seconds - before he returned holding something very carefully wrapped in a paper napkin headed for the door and proceeded to release his captive in the churchyard.

About an hour later, as we went into the Lady Chapel for the lunchtime eucharist, the caretaker told us the spider had tried to come back in (The main doors are kept wide open all day) and someone else had taken it back to the far side of the churchyard.

It obviously knew where its home was and resented being evicted.

They don't call them house spider for nothing.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Pride goeth before a fall

This week on Wednesday we welcome our new incumbent at St Mary's.

Looking at my less than sparkling surplice and stock I took them home to give them the rare treat of a bleach, wash and iron in honour of this event.

Getting into the taxi this morning, plastic covered 'whites' carefully placed on the seat I thought.  "Lovely, the white will blind everyone".

Scrambling awkwardly out of the taxi the hanger shed its load which slithered out of the plastic into a most fetching heap in the road.

Mildly annoyed I gathered it up and was pleased to find no marks on it, proceeded to robe and get myself ready to process with the rest of the choir at 10.00 am.

Aware that I had the honour of the first reading I paid less than usual attention to my progress clutching black folder and hymn books and got down to the front of the aisle.  The hand microphone slipped off its perch and full of bravado I made a grab for it, missed slipped and wound up on my back in the middle of the aisle.

Half a dozen concerned faces surrounded me as I lay like a stag beetle on my back unable to get up, this was instantly followed by dozens of hands hauling me to my feet.

Shaken and shaking I stumbled to my place in the choir stalls and proceeded to shed papers in all directions.  Singing along with the choir hands shaking, face red and all dignity lost for ever I reflected that really it had been a waste of time laundering my robes  since i was clearly destined to destroy all my good work.

A lesson there for me I think.

By the way, I'm told the reading was fine.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Old favourite

Finding this terrible heat and humidity too much to do anything useful I have just sat through the whole of one of my favourite films.

The wonderful "Beckett", made in 1964 and starring Richard Burton in the title role with Peter O'Toole as the weak, petulant but ultimately vicious Henry 11.

Back in the day I was under the spell of the Burton voice and added to that the beautiful blue eyes of O'toole, which had it not been an excellent film with 1st rate acting would still have coaxed the price of a good seat from my shabby purse.

The original un-edited film lasted for about three hours, today's trunkated for tv version was still a hefty 2hours and 20 minutes.

How faithful the dialogue is to the Anouilh play I don't know, but the witty barbed comments of the two lead characters illustrate beautifully just how intelligent Beckett was and how devious Henry.

Not historically faithful it is still an intriguing picture of these two Titans of Norman England.

Despite the occasional whiff of 1960's England the film stands the test of time well and for anyone who missed it, well worth the cost of a DVD. (I'm sure there must be  one)

If this oppressive weather ever relents i shall return to sanity (and a shed-load of work)

Retreats back under stone.

Friday, 11 July 2014

P S

Apropos of nothing in particular except that this is the picture I had intended to use to illustrate my "Writer's Block" post, but could not upload at the time.

So just because I thought it would be a shame to waste it and anyway I wanted to look at it again, here it is.

Awww  !

Monday, 7 July 2014

Writer's Block

My blog silence recently has been due in the main to a total lack of inspiration combined with tendency to snooze in the afternoons.

Saturday brought about a change,

It was Roald Dahl day, an annual event in Aylesbury and celebrated by the town as a whole, and traditionally at St. Mary's.

Every year there is a procession starting at the church and making its way down into the town centre and eventually back to St. M's

This consists of a fabulous variety of characters from Dahl's books in puppet form, some tiny and hand held, some gigantic and needing several adults to manipulate.

Local schools spend weeks making the puppets and the procession is led by a brass band.

There are related events throughout the day and  always a lot of activity in the church.  Displays of flower arranging with the chance for people to make their own little arrangements, stalls with Dahl related chocolate
bars in a chocolate tombola, raffles and a lucky dip for the smallest children.

The choir puts on a couple of 20 minute shows of mixed music.

A local dance group for handicapped children gives a short display, and there is a hamburger and hot-dog stall in the churchyard.

The refectory and kitchen are run off their feet,  and about 3.oopm everyone capsizes heaves a sigh of relief and toddles off home.

I had my lunch at 4.oo pm and reluctantly cleaned myself up and headed back to town for a concert in the church.

I am so very glad I went.

The concert was called "The road home", was given by an a cappella chorale called "Oasis", and I can say with all my heart it was the best choir I have ever heard in my long life.

It was formed in 2003 by a group of young Anabaptist people who worked in a home for handicapped children.

They invited a conductor to join them and began to recruit members from all over America and Canada.

These are all volunteers and are drawn from many Mennonite missions and care organisations.

They have toured the UK before and also Ireland and all down America's East coast.

The choir we heard had 36 members, 18 each of men and women, and had some of the best voices I've ever heard,

They resemble the Shakers in some ways, dress very simply and without ornament and are active in prison ministry and in promoting peace.

They mingled with us in the congregation before the concert, in the interval and afterwards.

Several of us found ourselves in tears by the end of the concert, not just because of the beauty of the sound but the overwhelming feeling of love they generated.

The final item in the concert was "God be with you till we meet again", beautifully sung and made even more moving by the way they left their positions in the choir and began to slowly walk among and around the church until we were surrounded by these lovely people and an immense feeling of peace.

Terrific theatre I know, but not theatrical.

There was absolute silence briefly as they finished then a roar which would take the roof off.

There was not a trace of cynicism on any face and the whole audience wanted to stay an talk all night.

Eventually we let the poor tired people get into their coach to their hotel begging them to return soon.

Saturday was lovely!!.