After my last blog post I toddled off to bed. And something happened, which would have been perfect to include in the post I’d just written. There was some music emanating from the direction of the DAB radio/CD player in the bedroom and all of a sudden (*cocks ear* I’m writing in the kitchen and can hear the Bear guffawing in the living room: there must be something funny on the telly. ‘Scuse me, I’m intrigued: I’m just off to investigate.)
. . . anyway, I digress. All of a sudden (*disruptive guffawing again*) I heard the words O tidings of comfort and joy quite clearly. Whooohooo, this music recognition game is coming along quite nicely, thank you very much. It turned out to be from Annie Lennox’s new album, A Christmas Cornucopia, and the clear vocals and familiar carols were a winning combination as far as I was concerned. I listened to the entire thing right through and even understood the French carol Il est nė le divin enfant very clearly – something I actually remember learning to sing at school, but after I’d become completely deaf, so it was the first time I’d ever heard, rather than seen, it sung.
Up to now, music was always something just seen – mouths opening and closing – or felt, the bass notes usually. In the right place pew backs could transmit the deep rich tones of an organ. Just feeling music gave such a partial impression of little else other than the rhythm, though.
I’ve always enjoyed signed singing – I’ve done it myself – and today at the Victorian Fayre in Worcester there was a lovely heartfelt demonstration of signed carols and seasonal songs from a choir of hearing and deaf signers, conducted by an interpreter. They did some warm-up exercises for their fingers first, and quite right too as it was extremely cold (actually, it reached the balmy heights of 5 degrees C today, after being below freezing for about a week on the trot). A dear little girl in a Santa outfit was signing along fluently at the front and had a steady stream of people popping pennies in her collection bucket. It was all very jolly and rhythmic and clearly everyone was having a whale of a time.
We wandered among the stalls and the crowd of shoppers and listened to the organ on the Victorian-style carousel with galloping horses. It was churning out When the Saints Go Marching In. One of our usual watering holes when in Worcester is the Cathedral cafė, just off the cloisters, where the men from the cathedral choir in their red cassocks treated us to a few carols. Tinngggg went the tuning fork and the sound soared up to and bounced down again from the octagonal vaulted roof. A little lad in his red cassock was also walking round with the collection bucket : clearly the successful strategy of the day! We were most amused to see another little boy of the same age, clearly prompted by grandma, make his way up and drop his pound coin in en passant with a disdainful expression without breaking his stride. The other little boy received the coin in like fashion: their paths crossed briefly and they walked in opposite directions without so much as any nod of recognition or a backward glance.. It looked just like a covert MI5 drop. . .
I chatted to so many people today – I think you have to be extrovert as a deaf person, but today I surprised myself by chatting away happily to the man in the park and ride, looking cold and lonely in the snow, the man in the shop where Bear was trying on a jumper, the mother and daughter just down from Newcastle-under-Lyme in the coffee shop, where we shared a table in the extra extra busy lunch hour, and the man in the charity bookshop, as well as various stallholders.
I love people-watching! It’s so lovely to be able to see, and feel, AND hear, everything that’s going on!