Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Life goes on.

Our garden, but the grassy area isn't ours.
This year has been a bit of a challenge at times, (understatement). We've decided to eliminate some of the stress by taking our house off the market. I'm actually very happy with this decision as I had mixed feelings about moving in the first place. Our new neighbours are delighted as they didn't want us to move. But it has been really upsetting that the reason our house isn't selling is because of our garden situation. For those who don't know, we found out a year after we moved in that the bottom part of our garden doesn't belong to us, it belongs to the owners of a small industrial estate located at the bottom of the garden. We had to sign a lease which states that we can use the land indefinitely. It's been like this for over 30 years, but we weren't told about it when we bought the house. It seems unfair that we are being penalised for something we knew nothing about. Still, life is unfair at times.

A photo of me on a school trip to Hadrian's wall, shared by a school friend.
Still, it hasn't been all bad. At the end of July I was able to return to Scotland to attend a reunion of the Musselburgh Grammar Class of 1968. We were all turning 60 this year and a couple of my old schoolmates had decided to celebrate by organising the reunion. Roughly half of those eligible attended. A few were not able to attend as sadly they are no longer with us.

Friends who were at the same primary school as me.
I had a lovely time catching up with old friends and finding out what everyone had been up to. I've become friends on Facebook with some of them and there is talk of having another one in two years time, which will be fifty years since we all started at the Grammar School. The sad fact is that leaving it for another ten years at our age, could result in a few more not being able to make it. I even got to meet, 'the one that got away', and realised that it was probably for the best. The reunion was followed by a lovely weekend of catching up with family and other non-school friends.

August has also been a great month as we had our annual WOAPA DAY, which I always thoroughly enjoy. This year was no exception. For anyone new to my blog, I'm part of the WOAPA Adult Singing Group, which meets every Wednesday evening, during term time only. Every August, to give us our WOAPA fix, Brian and Lou, organise a day, usually a Sunday, when we meet and learn some songs on a theme, which we then perform in the evening for family and friends. This year's theme was Best of Broadway musicals. It is also an opportunity for those of us aspiring Diva's, (ME) to sing as part of a duet, or larger group, something we don't usually get to do with WOAPA. This year I performed a duet with Gail, the girl I sang with last year. We performed Carole King's, 'You've Got a Friend', from the musical, Beautiful, which is about her life and work. There was also a very special performance from a pair of sisters, one of whom is normally very shy and reserved, and it was very emotional seeing her being so brave.

WOAPA day wouldn't be the same without a surprise guest. Who can forget last year's special performance by Shirley Bassey, alias Louis Raschke. This time it was the turn of Dolly Parton, singing the iconic '9 to 5'. I was very jealous of her/his, legs, but I wouldn't have been able to walk in those high heels she/he wore.

I also managed to get a little bit of writing done. At Cogges, we sell a book about the places used as locations in Downton Abbey. But this book was published before they began filming at Cogges. I was asked to produce a double-sided leaflet about the filming of Downton Abbey at Coggges, to be inserted into the book and it is now part of the book. That cheered me up.

So, all in all, this year isn't turning out too badly. It's had its lows, but also some memorable highs, and hopefully, there's still more to come as i still have my Popstar experience and my simulated skydive to come.

That's all for now, I wonder what the topic of my next blog will be? Meanwhile I hope you'll enjoy watching this video of Gail and I singing our duet.

Photographs Isabel's own or shared by permission of Diane Iverson Mullinger.

Video, courtesy of Diane Iverson Mullinger.

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