Monday 6 November 2017

Autumn, Rydal and Singing

"I think I almost prefer it when the sky is grey and moody," I say.
"Yes, I know what you mean." 

You can't help but think of Wordsworth and the way nature in this part of the world both spooked and inspired him.  

We are enjoying a lovely lunch and looking at the view from the dining room at Rydal Hall. As ever, we are really well looked after. The food is sublime, the bedrooms and common rooms spotless and tastefully decorated and the staff efficient, effective and caring. They're busy but they always find time for a chat.   

We've been before.  Read about our previous visit here.  It was slightly different experience as it was summer then and we were very fortunate with the weather. Yet this autumn visit is just as enchanting.  
On Saturday afternoon we take a break. I stay behind to chat to one of the ladies who works at the house. All of the others go off on various walks.  I've suddenly realised there is a very strong connection between Rydal and some research I'm doing. But where does the time go?  After what feels like a few moments there are voices in the entrance hall, and cake and teas as well, of course. 

"Relaxing walk, you said? We've done six miles and we were actually singing on the uphill bit. I need cake!"      

And we sing and sing, of course. 

Jeff puts us through our paces. "We're plugging the gaps," he says. Indeed, we try out quite a few pieces that are considerably different from what we normally do. Great fun and rather beautiful, in fact. Our music reading skills are thoroughly exercised. That's good, though.  

There is more singing on Friday evening as John and Paul (no, not the Liverpool lads but two of our very own basses) entertain us with their guitars and voices, soon to be joined by Ella and Marilyn. On Saturday evening Marilyn leads us in a sing-song of various Beatles' and Abba songs.

After dinner on Saturday we put on a mini-performance for the only other two guests at Rydal. We're just outside the office so the staff – who are still there at past eight o'clock – can hear us too. We include one song we've only just learnt – and it works! 

As ever it is mainly about the singing. As well, there is always something very companionable about singing with a choir. You're with a bunch of people you trust and you're working together to perfect something. Egos disappear. 

There are several extras, though, when you come to Rydal: the lovely surroundings, the beautiful old house, the generous hospitality, delicious food, a pleasant drive home and of course – cake!          

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