Hens, Hay fever and Heros.

Macarons and roses for Beth’s hen party cake!

What a lovely load of clucking hens filled the White Lion last night for Baby Beth’s hen party. It was choir central, haha. Beth was just 18 when we started the choirs and now she’s 32, so many of these ladies have seen her go from teen to adult, mum of two and soon to be wife. The Wilson women never do things in the “traditional” order either – I had kids, then got married (a registry office and a very low-key thing for my 2nd attempt), actually, Beth was born after we were married, but it wasn’t intentional, haha. Anyhow, it was such a lovely little hen party. Nothing crazy. Drinks, pizza, chips, selfies, music, cake, some funny games and the stripper from the Village People. Well, Nige dressed as a Native American prancing around to The Sweets, Wig Wam Bam. The Hearties are so very kind and clubbed together to rent a little old Beetle to take Beth to the church (she started to cry a little when she got the card) AND she has some vouchers too! Thank you all so much. xxxxxxx

He’s been making us laugh for nearly 25 years, so had put in an appearance!

Once you become a mother, you’re never alone with your thoughts. There’s no longer the one set of plans rolling around in your head, there’s several sets; yours, your kids and now, their kids. One second I’m thinking about the new term for the choirs, then into my head pops, “the boys (Little Max, Ru and Finn) start school in September… uniforms, lunchbox…”. Then I end up on Amazon buying them safety scissors and dinosaur cases. It never ends.

Hens R Us. Caroline has been framed!

I’ve spent the last few days working on a version of Mariah Carey’s, Hero. I find this song rather naff in it’s original form, BUT it really is such a perfect song for Think Pink. I also try to get as much mileage I can out of the songs we do and this will definitely work for cabaret and Wintersong. I fell upon a live Youtube video of Pavarotti singing parts of this at a concert. This was my inspiration for this and I slowly built it into a kind of English/Italian duet for the Hearties. We have our very own (slower) piano track too and not a horrible 80’s style one like the original. I think it’s going to sound brilliant, although I am not sure if I’ve got enough depth in one or two places, but I can tweak this once we get started.

Sarah W shortly before she was dressed in a toilet roll wedding dress.

I wonder if my allergies will ever calm down again? Fifty years of gradually building a tolerance to pets and pollen, only to get a “factory reset” after the chemo. One touch of dust, a whiff of pollen, a stray cats hair and my skin flares up, I struggle to breathe, my eyes stream and feel on fire and it’s impossible to sing! I get so frustrated that I can’t record good vocals now for the choir – I just get through it the best I can. I’d be quite happy with regular hay fever; this is way different. Oh well, maybe I’ll improve and when I’m ancient I can have another whippet – Doris.

Viv looking very glam wearing several rolls of Andrex.
Hero for the Hearties. Arr. Max Wilson.

Buona festa del papà

Saturday. Did you know that just two stops from Canary Wharf on the lovely new Elizabeth Line takes you to Italy? Yes! One second you’re walking through Liverpool Street Station and then you’re surrounded by the smell of proper coffee and endless cabinets of Italian goodies. Ok, so it’s not Italy, it’s Eataly. I highly recommend most things Italian (except boyfriends and the crazy drivers), it’s definitely my fave food! Eataly isn’t new, there are 13 scattered across the globe; all a mini Italian paradise for foodies and an informal place to eat, shop and even learn how to do it! We had a perfect coffee in the Gran Cafe (we sat on giant coffee cup stools) after admiring all the pastries and gelato. Then we walked through the Via del Dolce (I think!) which was a long, twinkly tunnel full of sweets and biscuits and a cannoli counter. Then on through the store and fresh pasta, cheese, meat, fish, lovely bar and panini and light bites. Everything is being made right there as you shop! Upstairs is a supermarket style floor which stocks EVERYTHING including ginormous olives and more nougat then I’ve ever eaten in a dream!

“How much are your plums?” Al Fresco.

We had a lovely meal in the al fresco area. I love Italian food because it’s so simple; it’s all about the quality of the ingredients. As great as Eataly is, it can never match going into a little backstreet cafe in Rome, where you pay a couple of euros for a coffee that blows your head off, but in London, Eataly may be the next best thing. We are in training for our big trip to Italy next year. Roll on August 2023. Woohoo!!!!

Fairy lights and sugary bites xxxx

Sunday. Father’s Day. Dear Wally. I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me – 58 years worth of bailing me out, house moves, fixing my cars (and buying them!), cutting my grass, making me laugh, helping with the kids, cleaning my windows, nipping out for coffee, changing the lightbulbs, fitting kitchens, taking me for hospital appointments, unblocking the hoover, going to gigs, taking us on holidays, sitting through so many shows. You and mum are my biggest supporters and amazingly, have gone along with all my harebrained schemes (my goodness, there’s been so many), even the ones that failed. My heart is full of gratitude, even though I inherited your ingrowing toenails. Xxx

Ru. Another piece of our family jigsaw xxxx

Signed, sealed, delivered, it’s yours! Baby & Toddler Rockits Sensory Room.

Congratulations to Beth! Baby & Toddler Rockits now have their own little home in Tenterden High Street. B&TR sensory room will open in August and Beth’s little classes will be held there, together with lots of other very worthwhile things, like classes for new mums, slots for little ones with SEN’s and all manner of wonderful things. What a great thing to have in Tenterden! So proud of Beth as she has achieved such great things and also genuinely cares about her community. I am sure it will be well used! Rockits and Hearties will also be welcome to come in for little bits and bobs, including help with theory and new songs. Can’t wait. While I am waiting, I am working my way through loads of new songs in preparation for the end of year shows and the new term. Today is, Say a Little Prayer, last week was, Sign of the Times (Harry Styles) and I have a little list of Motown (Signed, Sealed, Delivered, is a favourite of mine) to look at for Think Pink.

The Crested Iguana with a crown of gold. xxxxx

I’ve come to the realisation that I need slightly different things out of life. I need to work out exactly what they are and then make any necessary changes. The last year or two has been a slightly exhausting blur. That isn’t to say it’s not been enjoyable; much if it has been fab, but I just need a bit more balance or something. The Rockits took an enormous hit as a result of the pandemic and then (while in lockdown) our regular hall bookings were given away…just one thing after another. I may have been a little overcautious in the length of time I closed the choirs while we were in the midst of Covid chaos; I felt responsible for everyone and didn’t want to take any chances. It’s also true that the majority of Tenterden Rockits are now in the Hearties (56), meaning that Thursdays Rockits became thin on the ground. For that reason and after loads and loads of fretting about it, I decided to fold this group. Hawkhurst Rockits is doing well and will provide a welcoming home for any Tenterden Rockits just 15 mins away.

It is the law that we must go to Montalbano’s for ice cream on hot days. xxx

Rufus has been a little off kilter lately. He has been sad a few times when he goes to pre-school and not keen to leave Beth. He is such a caring, sensitive little soul. He used to go bumbling into school, forgetting to give me a kiss and say “abberm” (that’s just what we say; something left over from when he was a baby), but sometimes now he looks me in the face, searching to see if I am happy that he is going to school. He thinks I will be sad and miss him. I clown around and smile and jiggle, but he still searches my face. Now, as soon as he is inside his little face appears at the window and watches as I leave. Every now and then I turn around and pretend I’m a monkey and he does a little smile. I carry on walking, turn again and he’s still there…waiting, so I strut around like a chicken. We blow endless kisses and I try to make him laugh. XXXX

Rex is just ordering some toys on Nona’s Amazon account xxxx

Moments of Pleasure at CHOIR ACTUALLY.

Full marks to us for a fabulous show last Friday! CHOIR ACTUALLY was a great success. The Hearties sang to raise money for St Mildred’s Transformation Project and Macmillan Cancer Support. Huge thanks to all those that made this possible. Caroline for organising, the guys for lifting, the bar gang for serving, the raffle squad for raffling, Ruth for backstaging (not sure that’s a word), the group leaders for group leading…etc. Candice wrote, “absolutely stupendous performance last night by everyone involved. I’ve received such favourable feedback from friends and family and I’m sure I speak for everyone in saying there’s just something about being a Heartie and being in that stage together that adds a little sparkle to our lives. We really are one amazing Sister Act!! Max as always you have totally outdone yourself with your musical arrangement genius and your vision, huge thanks to everyone else involved and especially to our wonderful Ruth who kept us all in order backstage and looked after us so well. Xx”

Rachel Luckhurst took some FANTASTIC photos. This is my favourite.

First half : Ascot Gavotte, Could have Danced all Night, Without You (solo – Louise), Feed the Birds (Gill did a lovely job feeding her pigeons), She (with Wayne), Get me to the church (with Jon, Roy, Thomas, Caroline and Carol), I’ve grown accustomed to her face. Then a very quick change (that wasn’t quite quick enough) and It means Beautiful (Laura, Suzanne, Ellie, Jenny and Nicky), Wall in my Head and He’s my Boy (love that song!). Then our Dreamgirls sang, One Night Only, I who have nothing (Gwyn, Tracy and Beth sang with the choir) and Beth ended the first half with, And I am telling you. Liz wrote, “Everyone looked smashing, absolutely dashing & what a spectacle it was. I echo what’s already been said, so much hard work behind the scenes, in the prep, creation of the scores, beating us into shape, trying to organise excited race goers etc. Thanks to everyone, choir (we really do act like sisters) Max, Caroline, Ruth, Rosina, too many to mention. Loved it, great to be part of it🎶👏🏻👏🏻💖xxx”

“E’s getting’ married in the mornin’- oi!” A pair of sweeps – Caroline and Carol.

Second Half : What’s inside, Waitress medley, She used to be Mine (Tracy, Kate, Tali, Sarah P and Penny). Calling our Angels (our song for Ukraine), followed by our Sister Act set. Bless our Show (Sam, Carol, Kate, Sally, Ane and Sue C), I will Follow Him, Eye on the Sparrow, The Life I Never Led (Sam), Sister Act, Welcome to the 60’s (English version, haha), Shout & River Deep. Sally (Mother Superior) wrote, “No-one (as far as I could see) tripped up, or down the catwalk, no-one fell off the stage, so apart from a few late arrivals (sorry ’bout that 😞) after a not-so-quick change, I think it all went amazingly well. It’s an incredible feeling to be part of a group of such awesome ladies and being at the front for Sister Act, to hear the full weight of the choir behind you (normally being at the back), well, that really was something special. Thank you Max so much for this choir. ❤️ xx”

There were My Fair Ladies, nuns, waitresses and Dreamgirls. Tali, Candice, Jackie and Tricia.

We were able to donate £1000 to the church fund. We also raised a fair bit for Macmillan (some of which is still uncounted in a bucket) and that will be added to the money we collected at the Jubilee Picnic. As usual the show did cost a fair bit to produce – sound, hired help, printing/banners, costumes etc., but they are all necessary and important if our productions are to be as wonderful as they are. Sarah Lucas wrote, “What these figures do not take in to consideration is the benefits we get from being in a choir, friendships etc., and for me that is priceless xx” Hear, hear!

My beautiful girl. I’m such a proud mum xxxx

As one show draws to a close, I’m always midway through working out the next one and the one after that. It’s a conveyor belt that must keep rolling. I have scribbled on scraps of paper everywhere and have a list of ideas that grows daily, in my ITunes “To Do” folder. It’s only June, but I’m thinking about October, November and Decembers events. It’s actually the only way to manage – get a plan and hatch it as early as possible. I’ve been delving into some Kate Bush (probably my fave ever songwriter and songs I have always wanted to use) as there are some beautiful pieces I want to add to Wintersong (November) and some Aretha for Think Pink; it’s all about the girls (literally, haha). Have you ever heard, Moments of Pleasure? Give it a go…

And MY mum – always there behind me, supporting and helping.

40,000 steps to heaven.

Jubilee dinner dance. Lilibets trifle and Eton mess.

Well, that’s about it for the Queens Platinum Jubilee. What I liked most was that it brought the community together, that there was bunting on all the houses and I just loved some of the TV coverage; the Queen having tea with Paddington Bear was brilliant (Platinum Party at the palace). The fact Rod Stewart butchered Sweet Caroline and talky sung the verses and Bocelli is no longer brilliant (and took a gazillion breaths during Nessun Dorma) and Diana Ross was miming and ‘Wonderful World’ was totally ruined by Celeste, didn’t really matter too much, because when I saw everyone crammed together having such a great time, I felt quite emotional. All of the music was dire – I got to thinking how sad that all the greats are gone and we’re left with Alicia Keys.

St Michaels Village Hall looked splendid xxxx

Jubilee at St Michaels Village Hall. 4th June. Entertained by the Ruby sisterz, Beth and Leila and the Cafe Society Jazz Band. This was wonderful, but oh my god, it was incredibly hard work. Last year, the Ruby Sisterz had planned a Valentines event, but Covid ruined that. Then I heard that the village hall in St Michaels needed help, so I immediately thought to kill two birds with one stone. We jointly hatched a plan for the Jubilee dinner dance. It ended up with Caroline and I spending days setting it up and clearing it down – but it was worth it. We didn’t raise loads of money because the overheads were high (catering, staff, food, hall decor, entertainment), but £10 from every ticket was donated to the village hall fund and we also had a little left over to add to our Macmillan Fund. Over the main two days work, I reached 40,000 steps on my watch! I didn’t lose any weight though.

Tina and Caroline made the front page. Jubilee Picnic at the park.

Jubilee Picnic on Sunday 5th. This was a little, free community event at the park. TTC put in marquees and so on and the Rockits, Hearties and Ruby Sisterz sang and the choirs ran a tea tent brimming with homemade cakes! It was really nice and luckily the rain just held off! Families came with a picnic. Over £550 was raised for Macmillan in the tea tent. Rex took his first tottering steps and is now officially a walking, talking (nonstop!) little boy. He keeps phoning me and babbles as though having a chat. ❤️

Rosina, Sarah and a plethora of Hearties and Rockits!