Well somebody seems to think so. At 7am yesterday morning I did my usual wander round the lambing shed to see if anything had happened. As I came out of the shed three big skeins of geese flew overhead, heading north. Obviously somebody has decided that time is pressing and the north is calling them.
On the other hand the ewes have sat there perfectly happily and have done nothing for the last twenty-four hours. It’s mild and even a little damp; you’d have thought that this would have prodded them into action.
Last blog post I mentioned a Sunday school trip, and talking to somebody later they asked if I remembered the trip we did to Manchester Opera House. Honestly after all these years I don’t remember whether is was Sunday school or Mother’s Union or whatever. Different labels, same community.
Thanks to the miracle that is google I’ve managed to find when it was. To quote, “Mary Hopkin appeared at The Opera House Manchester 1971 in “Cinderella” for Mills & Delfont. This pantomime starred Mary Hopkin with Arthur Askey and Lonnie Donegan. The young man playing Dandini on £55 a week was David Essex!
I confess that I remember it mainly because as a child I got to see the great Arthur Askey. There again, it appears that I saw David Essex live as well. But I wonder how many of the names anybody remembers?
But what I do remember about that trip is the Opera House. We were up in the gods! Seriously on the fourth flight of stairs we left the Sherpas behind, making our own way and carrying oxygen. If we’d been any higher we’d have been sitting outside on the roof.
Somewhere down there, an apparently infinite distance away, was the stage. To be fair, it was no worse than watching it on telly because back then tellies weren’t so damned big either. But then the ladies got into action and managed to get opera glasses for all the children. Back then ‘your’ opera glasses were clipped to the back of the seat in front of you. So they ransacked the place and found enough.
And what do I remember of the show? Not a lot to be honest. At one point they threw sweets to children in the crowd. To reach us they’d have had to use artillery. Also something happened down there because Arthur Askey dropped out of character and told part of the audience that if that happened again the show was stopping and him and the staff would have a quiet evening putting their feet up.
And Mary Hopkin sang ‘Those were the days.’ A couple of years before it had been her big Number One hit.
In case you never heard it, it’s at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3KEhWTnWvE
What I hadn’t realised until now was that the song is far older than Mary Hopkin. It originates with a tune composed by Boris Fomin (1900–1948) with words by the poet Konstantin Podrevsky.
When you see the words of the chorus you see a refrain that has been sung by every generation.
Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way
At some point each generation must suddenly come face to face with their mortality and the knowledge that, actually, they’re not special.
Oh, and as an aside, if you go across the Tallis Steelyard blog, you’ll see I’m running a competition.
Go on, you know you’re worth it