Wolds Diary: Rushing to dress like a sloth

This last week has been really quite frantic. I felt so tired on the Monday I excused myself from the rehearsal knowing I had a full week to come.

The colours of the trees have been so striking this year. Pic: Chris Radburn/PA.

I’d walked the dogs and even did some washing and tidying and then made myself sit down and sew for a while. Tuesday began with a trip into town to do some shopping. Then after the dogs had been walked I set off to head over to Lancashire again for another talk. For some reason the traffic was very heavy.

I stopped off at Ilkley to see friends and had a cup of coffee with them and then drove on to just past Clitheroe to a charming little village called West Bradford. By the time I had got there it was dark but from what I could see it had great character. I knew I was close to Clitheroe because all I could see in the night sky was a huge column of what I presume was steam rising from an industrial works a few miles away.

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I arrived at a magnificent pub and had a fruit juice and then my hostesses arrived. They were a charming group of ladies belonging to the Tangent Club and the meal was very tasty as well. Then I gave my talk and they seemed to laugh in the right places and I left to drive back about quarter to 10. I didn’t get home until 11.30 having driven for five and a half hours there and back. I was pretty exhausted and the cost of petrol was such that I’ll have to consider any talk as far as that rather carefully. On this occasion I was very out of pocket.

The next day I had a superb walk up on the Wolds with the dogs and cleared my head and felt much better for it. I did various chores and then in the evening picked up a friend from the church and together we went to Holme Upon Spalding Moor for the South Wolds Deanery Synod meeting where I met many other synod representatives. It was quite a cheerful affair and I learned a lot about how the deanery and the church in general is being run. There was a lady from the General Synod there who was most interesting. By 9.30 it was concluded and I drove home and my friend who had been returning from Scotland had just got in. Fortunately he had taken a key to my place with him and he and his lovely dog had settled in and there was a very welcome glass of wine waiting for me.

By 8.30 the next morning I was at the vets with four of my dogs for their last booster of the year. With four of them it was somewhat chaotic but at least Loo Roll didn’t tip the bin over this time. Then out for another walk with them. It has been really very mild for the time of year and remarkably pleasant when out walking. The colours of the trees are very striking and it makes the countryside look so rich in beauty.

That evening was the dress rehearsal for the Trial by Jury concert the following evening and it went very well. I was due to sing a solo in the first half of the concert and had selected the Flanders and Swann song about a sloth.

On the day of the concert I rushed round, bought some fur fabric hats from charity shops and made a sloth costume for the evening. One of my fellow tenors in the choir had elected to stay at my place during the day rather than to go home to Market Weighton only to return to Pocklington a bit later and we went for a lovely walk on the Minster Way overlooking Welldale which I always find quite entrancing.

I’d been asked to add a bit of humour to the programme for the concert which was by the Celebration Singers. I was rather flattered that I’d been chosen for such a task and when the concert had started I did provoke a few laughs. The evening was a great success with a larger than expected audience and we raised £400 for the church.

My visiting friend had come and had taken some potentially highly embarrassing photos of me in costume but once back at home we enjoyed a good chat and I finally tipped into bed at about 2am. He got away mid morning on his journey back to Somerset. Another friend arrived and then a bit later another and I had a very happy day in great company. I duly fed and watered them before they left. Happy days!