Inventions and intentions.

Rockits Choral started today and bloody blimey, it was very well attended! I find it so lovely that all those Rockits and Ramblers want to actually LEARN about music. Music is a language and sometimes it takes a little while for it to sink in – but they will all eventually get the swing of it. They did incredibly well today, despite the fact that once I start talking, I never stop and their brains may have been exploding. Written music is so lovely, not only because of what it represents, but it’s just so nice to look at – I suppose in the same way, certain scripts like Chinese may be nice to look at. Maybe that’s just me! I have some pale pink pillowcases with music on them – quite naff, but there’s a childish bit of me that loves them. Speaking of bedding…I am SO excited as I have new brushed-cotton, candy-floss-pink bedding for tonight. Brushed cotton reminds me of being a kid. I don’t want Egyptian cotton! I want Wynciette. I may start a campaign to bring it back into fashion. I can hardly wait to go to bed! This is one of the many perks of sleeping alone. You can also binge-watch, ‘This is us’ for an entire night, eat melon at 3am, spread yourself out like you are doing a snow angel, have as many hot water bottles as you like, look at funny dogs on Youtube, watch video’s of my Amigos over and over and over and not worry a jot about snoring. I am a terrible snorer. A bedroom is YOUR place to be…it’s not a showroom. Whatever makes you feel happy and comfortable should be inside it.

Amigo’s II and III are too young to notice their Nanny is a bit odd.

I’ve got SO rubbish at looking after myself. I wear big, massive knickers that have gone an odd colour in the wash. I used to pride myself on very lovely, ridiculously expensive, matching underwear, but after I took a battering from the cancer and a couple of hideous relationships, that all changed. I put on LOTS of weight, lost through surgery parts of myself that had previously made me feel feminine and I immersed myself in the choirs and far too many midnight feasts. However, I am tackling my weight, I’m being rebuilt this spring, I’m having my teeth resurrected (meds also gave them a battering) and I intend to be back by the summer. Dog walking is already on the agenda three times a day. Haha – Martha has a new slightly large coat. Her little stubby legs just poke out from the bottom – she looks like a red hovercraft floating along the high street. This makes me laugh! Sadly, not sure Martha will be able to stay with me due to my VERY annoying allergies (they have tainted my entire life). I’m rather attached to her already because she is the sweetest little thing, bright and so well behaved, without a single bad bone in her body. I’ve grown accustomed to her face – her smiles, her frowns, her ups, her downs, are second nature to me now, like breathing out and in… haha. No, that’s my mind wandering back to a song from My Fair Lady. Oops. Looking forward to that one in the autumn.

The Hovercraft – not a good invention! Stormy seas and hovercrafts don’t work!

CP and I have invented a cocktail!!! I’m not sure anyone else other than CP could drink it; he’s had a lifetime of drinking sickly, sweet things, like liquid marzipan and tins of evaporated milk. Really. So, after Christmas, we were rummaging in his kitchen and found some Advocaat, some cherry soda and some cherry syrup-shots for coffee (the Dragons Den won’t know what’s hit them when we arrive), so we whizzed it all up and it started to bubble and pop, like the weirdest experiment you ever did in the school science lab and then layers began to form! We have invented, the Bloody Merry Christmas! It’s a hideous looking purple and green frothy mess, but CP loves it, haha. It’s too sickly for me, which is saying something. I must also mention here that CP does intentionally always look funny in his photos. Inside, we are still only about twelve and it amuses us.

The Bloody Merry Christmas AKA The Ruptured Ulcer. You saw it here first!

I am eager to get on with the events this year – especially Grease! There are some really good songs in the show, plus I will merge others with them that should have been in it haha. We did today’s song four years ago, ‘you don’t own me.’ I will put it in again this year… great fun! I love ‘worse things,’ from Grease too. I always imagine a drunken Bridget Jones singing ‘worse things,’ while upset and very drunk – wearing her big knickers just like mine.

It’s old and rough, but kind of cute. You don’t own me.

Teething trouble.

It’s been a very up and down kind of week. New terms always bring quite a bit of chaos and it takes a little while for things to settle back down. Everything is a somewhat noisier and more confusing than usual (yes, that is possible) but I have to say, WOW! The choirs are speeding through the new rep at the speed of light! They also seem to be enjoying the more challenging music and arrangements. Aldington has had some teething trouble as Wayne isn’t his usual vibrant self and needs some time off to get well again. We are sure his wife, Karen, will be nursing him back to health (it may take months as she’s got an Ann Summers nurses uniform). As usual, the amazing Rockits have rallied and Tracy will now step into Wayne’s size tens and with a little help from her friends (us), lead the group there. Good luck Tracy – we know you can do it!

Rockits Choral. Brand new!

Rockits Choral starts tomorrow morning. It’s a new kind of group and will no doubt find it’s feet as we go along. I will enjoy getting back to my roots – I need the rust blasted off me. I have planned the first twenty lessons already and worked out a path through key signatures, intervals, perfect 5th’s and dotted quavers. I do love Quavers. There are theory exercises, newly invented warm-up’s and nice choral pieces to work on too. This will be VERY interesting and nice to do something new. If you can’t tell a Crotchet from a Cratchit, this may be just what you need.

All she wants for Christmas…

Martha has lost her front teeth and is looking very gummy. I am expecting four massive, Ken Dodd teeth to arrive soon. The Three Amigo’s are still getting their teeth, although Amigo I has a full set and has even been to the dentist for a check up! I seriously HATE teeth. Mine are a complete nightmare since the cancer treatments/bone drugs etc. I start a big course of general renovation soon; I’m so dreading it. The only consolation is that I get to sit down for an hour each time I go.

Martha has been doing very well with her Vespa scooter, stunt driving.

Rain, puddles and Marmee.

Last Thursday was Sarah’s birthday, so we went for a lovely afternoon in a very blustery and rainy Rye. Cheesy eggs in Haydn’s, followed by Little Women at the Kino – with smiles on our faces and jazzies in our months. Oh Marmee! A truly charming version – not just a remake, but a stunning new take on the classic. Brilliant cast, narrative, filming, soundtrack – it’s just, yes, pure class. I think Little Woman is something lots of girls grew up with and it’s almost as though the March sisters childhoods are part of our own. Actually, in the cosy Kino, sat with my sister-friend, I felt as though I was in that candlelit room full of love and laughter.

You really must see this one if you get the chance. Ooh, all those petticoats x

Aldington group started last Wednesday. Well done Wayne! The wonderful thing about this, was the support shown from the Hawkhurst and Tenterden Rockits. It makes a HUGE difference to those coming along for the first time, if they don’t feel isolated and lost. Watching you greet them, chat with them and sing with them, really was so sweet and special for me. That is what is at the heart of the Rockits – HEART.

Martha, the sausage, is MASSIVE now and not yet 6 months old. She is a full Korker-sized, fur stole.

Rockits Choral starts this Friday, so I have busy working out my syllabus for the year. I have a plan (oh dear – I can see several of you panicking right now)! We are going to SING our way through theory. As far as I am aware, none of you are coming along because you want to be concert pianists, or need to brush up on your singing before you embark on a tour with the Monteverdi Choir. Nope. I think most of you just want to be able to truly understand those dots that you see above the words to our songs. I think you want to improve your singing, your confidence and your general understanding of music. So – I will not add in things we don’t need to know – my goal is that everyone will eventually be able to sight-read a piece of music, write down a simple piece of music (don’t panic!!) and improve on our breathing, pitch and overall sound. I am going to work with my own version of grades and hopefully, each term, the ‘students’ from Rockits Choral will be ready to move to the next level. Yay!

Loves of my life. X X

I am very gladdened with all the news about amazing new target drugs for secondary cancer. I am saddened that two more of our ladies are embarking on courses of chemo. Cancer is a bastard thing, but now we have the very best chance of getting rid of it OR managing to live full and happy lives with it. There may never be a cure, but if it’s something we can live comfortably with, then that’s a massive step in the right direction. Thank God.

Pure joy! This can’t fail to make anyone smile. Xxxx

Lets set 2020 on fire!

I’ve been working on Set Fire to the Rain – a lovely new 2020 version for The Rockits. I was looking at this terms rep and decided we needed a little more oomph in it – something to blow away the cobwebs. What a bloody brilliant song it is. In fact, Adele is just generally brilliant (although I do wish she would drop the unnecessary swearing at live events) and I am very much looking forward to her new album coming out this year (fingers crossed). This takes me back a few years, to our tribute to Adele, at Rochester Cathedral. Believe it or not, we actually forgot to put “tribute” on the front of the advertising material and it just said (in a VERY tiny font), ‘the music of’ and then in a HUGE font – ADELE. No wonder it sold out in a record time. Mind you, if anyone seriously thought it was the REAL Adele singing for a tenner a ticket, they must be quite mad. I thought it was a very good gig and one I enjoyed more than most. I think that’s partly due to the music – Adele’s music appeals to all. The songs are SO strong and contain all the ingredients that most great songs do. Some could have been written in the 1950’s, and that brings nostalgia and feel good factor – it’s something we have heard in one form or another for our entire lives. Adele also has a habit of writing words that relate to us all – words that touch us. Hang on, I will find a video from the evening….

Remedy. I added a nice little bridge as Adele forgot to put one in. © Arr. Max Wilson.

CP has pointed out that I keep referring to Butsy as Busty in my blog. Haha. This is down to spell check I guess, or my uncontrollable, overexcited fingers.

Butsy’s birthday cake – strawberries and cream – her favourite. I was assisted by Martha. xxx

Martha May Hoovier is the loveliest little sausage – well, mid-sized sausage, but she may be making me itch and wheeze a little more than I usually do. This is very sad news. I have always been allergic to most things on the planet, dogs more so than other animals. However, I was very lucky with my whippet, Darcey. She never got a stiff, doggy coat – she always had thin, velvety-soft fur and she never got that doggy smell either. I had hoped I would be fine with a sausage dog too. I have been bathing Martha in anti-allergy stuff so lets see how she goes. For a pup of five months, she is quite amazing and well behaved and even helped me make Butsy’s birthday cake – notice the blob of buttercream on her nose haha.

Look at those eyes! Martha May Hoovier is going to enter the Great British Bake Off!
Set fire to the rain. 2020. © Arr. Max Wilson.

Butsy, my shadow, my sunshine.

I can’t believe that my little shadow is now thirty! I marvel at the woman she has become. She is the the most besotted and devoted mother – fiercely protective, she is bright, capable, talented, pretty and has been a joy since the day she was born. She works hard, sleeps very little and defends anyone she thinks is getting a raw deal. She will have her ups and downs, but she has the support and love of Mr Butsy and her entire family around her to make sure she is always ok – which she will be, as she is also as tough as nails. Butsy is the youngest of my three (she has two brothers) and was a little skinny 6lb sparrow of a thing when she was born. She stopped breathing twice when she first arrived home and worried me silly, so I slept with her by my side for a very long time – I wonder if this is why we are stuck together like glue? I will always remember when I was having my cancer treatment and she would come into my room at night, with the dreaded jab and say “its Nurse Needle, let me in” and then she would stab me with it. I remember when my hair fell out and we were both laying on my bed watching tv, taking selfies and laughing our heads off.

For the first 8 years, she flew around dressed as Tinkerbell.

So, yesterday for her birthday, Mr Butsy also proposed! Aaahhh…he bought the sweetest ring and put it inside her piano (just on the keys, not actually inside!) and then asked her to go and play a song for him. Now I have an engaged Butsy and am quite excited about organising a wedding! They want an informal, rustic wedding with twigs, worms and fairy lights. We had also organised a little surprise party for her close friends and family at the Kino in Rye later in the day. We made cakes, scones, sandwiches – bought Prosecco and all her pals came with their babies… ahhh. What a VERY special day it was. Congratulations my darlings xxxxx

Newly engaged – what a pretty pair they are. xxx

Oh my GOD – why do I always leave ALL the manscripts until the end? Every time, I tell myself to write them up after I have arranged each song, but no, I always leave it. Now I have masses of arrangements to write out, all ready for next week. All of the more complex songs are now…more complex and have full manuscripts. The ELO medley is FOUR pages long – honestly, I never make things easy for myself. Had a little rehearsal this morning with all our singing leaders (now including Wayne) to get ready for next week. We are LOVING the new songs and can’t wait to get started. Rockits Choral is proving very popular too. Yay! Big love xxxx

Mrs Wayne, Butsy and Donna learning ‘Shallow’ from A Star is Born xxxx