The beginning of April and the world is alive with the delicate snow of cherry blossom. There is nothing more evocative of old England than the hedgerows and gardens drifting pink and white with snow. They have crept north now as far as Derbyshire, and when I went up the garden to shut the hens, showers of tiny petals danced across my face.
Abbeydale Singers concert last night. top class a capella and some new works. Mum had been here all day and stayed for the first half. Tim, who had come from Liverpool for Mothering Sunday, drove her home. Clare, his wife, has gone to Las Vegas with her school choir for a week! I am very busy with choirs just now. In the Derbyshire Singers we have Belshazzar’s Feast in Derby next Saturday, then a sheep service with singing on Sunday am here in Edensor. In the evening next Sunday I have to go to Taddington to sing in thePassion Sunday carol service. This is more vital than the Walton really as there are only four of us sopranos. Then there is a double christening up at Chatsworth on the following Saturday. I have an invitation anyway so we can expand out little choir up to 21. Joe said he was trying to explain that if they want “I was glad” then we need 4 sops in each part, let alone “Unto us a boy is born”. All beautiful stuff. I just hope my residual growly cough disappears.
Of all the singing traditions I love the English folk songs the most. They are so tied up with my Cotswold youth and singing as a primary school child. Deep green valleys of Gloucestershire and memories of Houseman’s poetry, achingly nostalgic. The church was packed for Mothering Sunday today. David made me give the talk, which was fine, except that I couldn’t see over the reading stand in the pulpit, so had to lean out over the side. I included Hagar in my story, someone I have always thought to be a fascinating and deeply theological character. So many people forget her.