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Monday, 29 September 2014

The Book of Me: I am a "Joiner".

Julie at Anglers Rest   has introduced bloggers to "The Book of Me, Written by You"  as an opportunity to remember, explore and rediscover memories of our own.   Ultimately, this is the creation of a legacy for the future. 

The latest theme - Clubs and Societies  - is a natural  choice for me, as I have my mother to  thank for encouraging me to be a "Joiner".  

Because of my father's work, we moved around a lot, and Mum (left)  joined whatever women's group was there as a way of getting involved in the local community and making friends whether it was a choir, Mother's Union, Townswoman's Guild, Church Work Group, Parent-Teachers Association, Women's Rural Institute (WRI) etc.  

Whenever there was a coffee morning, bring & buy sale, spring fete, summer fete, Christmas fete, Mum was part of the activity, with her contributions for the sales tables - aprons, cushion covers, doll's clothes, soft toys and of course cake and candy. 

As a dressmaker she was often called upon to help with costumes for Gala Days and concerts.  

Costumes my mother made for for Staining Gala Day - in apple green satin
I am the little girl on the front row left.

My life as a "joiner" began, I suppose with Sunday School - though I did not have much choice in that.  The next step I was far more enthusiastic about - joining the  Brownies in the Leprechaun Six.   Here I made my first stage performance  at a Brownie concert when, clutching our teddies,  we sang "The Teddy Bear's Picnic".

I graduated to the Girl Guides and joined the Scarlet Pipmpernel patrol, sporting the red tabs on my uniform and collecting badges to sew on my sleeves.  but I never took to camping!   

 , We were not a musical family in terms of playing instruments, but music played an important part in our lives. My mother  joined local community choirs and  my father, with his brother, had sung in a  church choir from the age of seven.  

So it was not surprising that singing in a choir (school, church, community)  has been a key activity throughout my life from primary school days onwards, whether it was folk songs from round the world, spirituals, carols, sacred music, opera and operetta choruses,   or songs from the shows - musical tastes that still mean a lot to me today.

 I was very happy to be a chorus girl, with no pretensions to be a soloist - I knew my limitations!  It is a marvelous form of music making, whatever your age, a great creator of the "feel good factor",  and there is nothing to beat singing with the full blooded accompaniment of an an orchestra or  organ.   

 High school introduced me to Gilbert & Sullivan  and I was hooked, singing in most of the operas over the years.  At University, I joined the  Savoy Opera Group and the annual G & S performances were the highlight of my years there - I loved taking part in them - the dressing up (the girls made their own costumes), the singing and some dancing. 

In "Yeoman of the Guard"
My other main interest of history, meant I naturally  gravitated to local history groups and family history societies,  where I not only met like-minded enthusiasts but was given the opportunity to develop my research and writing skills through the production of booklets and articles for magazines. 

And yes, I have sat on more committees and written more minutes  than I care to remember. But  I always steered clear of becoming President or Treasurer - not a role I relished.

My last house move was two years ago to small village - and who says there is nothing to do in retirement?  My life seems busier than ever as I have joined the local  history group, a Gilbert & Sullivan concert group ( I know I am well past past the age to dress up as  a young maiden in a stage production!), and the WRI (Women's Rural Institute).  

I have never joined a sports club, but  in the cause of a healthier lifestyle, I am now a member of a  Walking Group (one of a network in my region of the Scottish Borders)  where we do a 3-4 mile walk every week - always finishing  at a local cafe  for scones and further chat.    Highly recommended!  
So Mum's example has stayed with me, and left me an important message on how to make friends and become involved in a new community.    She was an inspiration!  


  1. What a thoughtful response to Julie's prompt. I have been wrestling mentally with how to approach the response to this question and you have given me inspiration.

  2. Thank you, Alex, for such a lovely comment on my post. I look forward to reading your contribution to the theme..

  3. Hi Sue, I wanted to let you know I've nominated your blog for the One Lovely Blog Award!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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