The Perplexed Nightingale

I was in the kitchen just now, cooking alongside my DH (he’s making Halloumi Curry and I was making a Mushroom Bajhi to go with it.) I was singing as I stirred my spices.  When I realised what I was doing, I stopped singing, turned to Mr L, and I asked him what I find to be a very difficult and perplexing question.

I clearly love to sing.

I sing all the time around the house. I sing in the shower. I sing at the stove. I sing while I spin. I even sing on the loo. I do not sing well, admittedly – but it is obvious that something in me needs to express itself through lifting up my voice.

So, how come I never, EVER sing when there are other people around me?

When I was young, my happiest times at school were when we gathered for “Singing Together” – listening to Kathleen Ferrier blowing her winds southerly… I was picked for several junior school and youth club choirs. I was happy enough to sing then. I was in the choir at my first Grammar School – a very posh establishment; all gymslips and navy blue knickers (it was in Royal Tunbridge Wells – this explains all) and I sang the descant part in morning assembly, where we would rotate the music for the Lord’s Prayer weekly over several weeks (I seem to recall it was a six or eight week cycle, but don’t hold me to that.) I must have been able to carry a tune at one time. I do not  however recall ever singing out loud in company of other singers since I was maybe 12 years old. I mimed in assembly.  I went to weddings and funerals and mimed. I didn’t even sing when I was drunk and in the company of the local Rugby Club (although I admit to having learned all the words to The Good Ship Venus) …  I have become convinced that I am unable to hold to a tune when others are singing around me.

And then I met husband #1, who barred me from singing in the house because I made “such a horrible noise.” Did I? Do I? I have no idea. All that I really know is that it stopped me from doing what comes naturally for a great many years.

So, at events such as the one that I attended last night, I sit mute. Embarrassed to open my mouth and show myself up by being the only one to make a horrible noise.

And it is no fun at all.

And it makes me look stand-offish and snooty, which I am not.

I’m glad that I at some time got over the total inhibition. I am really happy that I sing unconsciously as I go about my work each day. I do know that I have a genuine difficulty in singing in company, as I really have no idea where to pitch my voice and it wavers all over the place. Probably nothing that a little tuition could not fix. I also know that I have a problem in having insufficient breath to get through many phrases. Again, not much that a little tuition and some practice would not fix – and the exercise would actually help my breathing.

Something in me shudders at the idea of that tuition and the need to expose my vocal contortions to a stranger – I would feel very naked.

Ah, well, back to the shower. Maybe while I am there I can ponder the irrational “logic” going on here – because a part of me knows that it just doesn’t fit. It makes no sense. At all. After all, I love to sing! Perplexing, is it not?

Recently, at the: Crooked House



It’s a reasonable day today and thus we have the back doors standing open. This means that Chloé can come and go as she pleases (she refuses to use the cat flaps and expects us to give her ingress and egress via the sitting room window). We were taking a coffee break in between sorting out the van, when we heard a strange Chloé-type noise. I did not like it. I wondered if she hadContinue readingThanks!

Petunias always make me think of Dinghies

Petunias always make me think of Dinghies

It has been a busy day, not much time for anything. We walked the dog this morning but I took no photographs until I decided to take a few potshots in the village on our way back.

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  1. February 12, 2012

    Sing, sing, sing.

    Writing as one badly formed tin-ear to another, I too do not sing in public. Mainly because I have more respect for other people’s ears. I do sometimes sing when only L can hear me and I know it’s awful but she is usually very kind about it. L also sings (I can hear her now from the other room) the same sort of noise that is a cross between a tom cat and a fox. It is bloody terrible, and she refuses to continue singing if I enter the room. However, no matter how bad her singing is, I love to hear her sing because I know that when she sings she is not unhappy*. So fill your lungs and sing. I’m sure Mr L feels the same way about your singing as I do about L’s.

    * We don’t do “happy” here the best we get is “not unhappy”.

  2. Carole
    February 12, 2012

    Singing is such a pleasure, never let anyone stop you. I bet you sing perfectly well. It reminds me how my history teacher told me I couldn’t draw, and deprived me of that pleasure for decades. He was wrong, and I bet hb#1 was too.

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