I’m in the choir
Up until about 9 months ago I would have laughed, and laughed, and laughed at the thought of ‘village life’, ‘community halls’, and ‘choirs’ and now it seems I can’t get enough. This evening I found myself in a community hall, at the back of the St Ives Backpackers hostel, listening in rapt admiration to a group of people sing Bohemian Rhapsody, Windmills of My Mind and Angels by Robbie Williams.
I walked in smiling and I left smiling 3/4 of an hour later. Smiling at the choir, smiling at myself, smiling at how disdainful I’d been in the past of all things ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ because that’s exactly what the group reminded me of. It’s archetypal English, village life at its most quaint and most lovable and I genuinely wanted to be a part of it.
At one point I almost expected Maggie Smith to walk through the door wearing tweed, reminding everyone to switch off the lights when they left. Young and old, male and female, with a glass of wine or bottle of beer next to nearly every chair, they all looked like they were really enjoying themselves; and on a cold Tuesday night in March how could you not want to be a part of that?
I don’t remember the names of most of the people I met this evening, but I do remember how friendly they were, how they bustled me off to the pub as soon as they found out I’d just moved into the area, how quickly they made me feel a part of the group, and how enthusiastic they were about the choir. I was quickly convinced that if I was to have any kind of fun in St Ives I MUST join, as quickly as possible.
So join I did. After a swift drink in the pub I walked determinedly over the road to ‘audition’ for the Grande Papa of musical life in St Ives. I ‘aahed’ (or ‘arghed’) to 4 or 5 notes until I was told firmly that I was a soprano and I would be welcome to join. Obviously all those years of karaoke were finally paying off.
It’s so funny where life takes us: I’m sure that someone, somehwere is having a good laugh at my expense. Like the father of the bride at the wedding of his child who was ‘never’ going to get married, or the grandmother at the birth of her 3rd grandchild from the daughter that was ‘never’ going to have kids… there’s a good old laugh coming from someone looking at me – the person that was ‘never’ going to leave London, the person that was ‘never’ going to join anything remotely villagey, the person that would have rather died than gone for tea with a couple older than her parents (which I did agree to do earlier this evening AND I’m looking forward to it), and the person that was judgemental and downright rude about anything quaint or hokey.
Tonight I left the house without wearing make-up in the same jeans that I’d been wearing all day to run errands, and move boxes. My stilletoes are in a box somewhere in the house and I’m not even compelled to look for them; my beautiful haircut which seemed so important to me when arranging my leaving / engagement party in London has now been dragged back into pigtails, and my nails are a hodge-podge of lengths and chipped nail varnish.
I should add that absolutely none of this mattered to me as I hastily changed my jumper for a less revolting top and ran out the house smelling of roast chicken to catch the end of choir practice which is, I feel compelled to mention, just round the corner.
CUE: Hysterical laughter from everyone that has ever known me.
Do I care? Not really to be honest. I had fun tonight. I made some friends and in a place where I know no one bar the people living in this house (currently Danny’s mum and Danny’s (and mine) mate from Bristol) that’s pretty needed; and of all the people I met there wasn’t a judgemental look between them… not even when I ordered a diet coke at the bar and declined a cigarette.
The whole evening was a cross between a Vicar of Dibley episode, a Joanna Trollope novel, a Richard Curtis film and a Roald Dahl poem: And to all my friends and family, still laughing manically about how things have turned out for me, I say this – don’t mock because, like me, one day you too may find yourself doing everything you said you never would, and liking it.