Last Sunday all six of us were invited to Miss Wright’s 90th birthday bash at the Village Hall in the village where she has lived her entire life. Her actual birthday was Valentine’s Day but the ‘do’ was diarised for last weekend.
How come we were invited? Well the tale goes back rather many decades now. Probably as far back as when the family moved from Coventry to the coast. My Mum was a church goer, and shortly after moving in she duly took herself off to the nearest church. It is a quaint curious church, front section of pews obviously for the landed gentry with the ornate carvings and little pew doors, further back the bland bench-like pews for the servants, employees and oiks of the parish to do their bidding. Well in the 1960’s, it would seem some changes had not reached this sleepy backwater and Mother was turfed out of the pew she selected because “So-and-so sits there you know”. Mother left embarrassed and disgusted, come the following week she sheepishly ventured to the nearest church in the other direction, selected a pew near the back, not far from the old organ. I think the organist [Miss Wright] was surprised to have anyone seated that far back and after the service they struck up a conversation. Thus a passing acuaintanceship was born.
A number of years later when I was banging about on the piano at home I was threatened with “Learn to play it or it goes”. A piano teacher was sort and that was Miss Wright and for the following fifteen years, each week I had my one hour lesson, which progressed through RSM examinations in both theory and practical, competitions and recitals. Not long after starting lessons Miss Wright thought it would be nice to start a little childrens choir for the church and a rehearsal venue was required, our house, it had the piano [thanks Mum!]. Through out the 1970’s and best part of the 80’s there were twice yearly ‘outings’ for the choir, parents and other cajolees, off to the Pantomime, Thursford, Norwich, Snape etc.
Miss Wright would organise her students to peform recitals at Somerleyton Hall, I still remember being the one to play the National Anthem -shudder- and the wave of applause after I played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. There were also the summer garden party held at her house and gardens, where we would perform a party piece, one year I was a twenties flapper girl, another I was a Victorian lady who “Dillied and dallied”. I remember making a top hat for one year, cannot remember what for but it made an excellent waste paper basket for decades.
Miss Wright was frequently a sunday dinner guest at our house and we would visit her and her parents. So many marks of my life have included Miss Wright. She was invited to my nephews wedding and still, once a year, she takes us all out for a Sunday carvery.
Anyway, back to the party. As with most village halls, even recently built ones, they are always a bit of a squash. I think there were about fifty people there and once seated, no one could move, which curtailed the mingling and chatting somewhat. There was a deliscious light buffet, other friends of Miss Wright sang folk songs and old songs that were easy to join in.
The rug rat known as ‘Tyler’ my little great-nephew has just discovered the excitement of walking, but in a squashed room, walking, crawling and generally getting about was not on his menu, but you’d be surprised how much fun can be drived from a couple of napkins, a paper table cloth, a few table top toys, a Granddad, Nana, Mum, Dad and “taunty” [me]. He was a doll! Even took a snooze on Nana’s lap and devoured the cheese sticks and egg from Granddad’s plate. For an event we did not really know what to make of, nor know how the 11-month old get-about would take it, it was a fun few hours.
Myleene, oh yes, my nephew went to High School with her and Miss Wright was her piano teacher until she went to music school.