An enjoyable, if somewhat eccentric, leavetaking of Germany (just for the summer). A friend had planned a lawnwarming (like a housewarming, but for her fresh new lawn, of course) for the afternoon before I flew to England; this then grew, slightly out of control, into a sort of high tea / garden party (probably says a lot about us that it was only about two hours in, chatting to some German guests, that I realised we'd forgotten...erm, the tea!). I was far more occupied by planning for cucumber sandwiches, and scones (we outsourced most of the baking to a sweet American friend whose hobby it is), and correctly-constituted Pimms, than anything quite so mundane as packing a suitcase (lord alone knows what's in there - it will be interesting to find out over the summer!). We even managed to track down doilies (doilies!!) and bunting, which we scooted up ladders to hang from branches in the grey and overcast morning cool.
Amazingly, the weather brightened just as the first guests started to arrive, and it really felt like one of those perfect English days (helped, naturally, by the Pimms). Wonderful relaxation, once the pre-party scurry of peeling and chopping and buttering and arranging was swapped for the glass in the hand.
A singer, however, is seldom properly off duty. I was press-ganged (there really is no other term for it) into singing by my friend's next-door neighbour and landlord, a delightful and totally crazy sculptor with a passion for playing guitar in the pub. He dragged me to one side, eyes shining, and showed me the crib sheets for three songs, explaining that they'd fished out a music stand for me so I would be able to read the words, and that he could play in any key I wanted, and he was just DYING to make music with me. I tried a few pathetic little excuses (like, just because I'm a singer, it doesn't mean I know how the middle bits of popular songs necessarily go), but I was swept away on a tide of his enthusiasm (yes, yes; and Pimms).
Thus I found myself standing in the sunshine at an English garden party in Germany, complete with hat and gloves, belting out Moon River and Somewhere Over the Rainbow and finishing with Memories (from Cats... this one in German!!)... and grinning like a loon!! The sheer joy of performing, with no pressure at all and mainly for the purpose of making someone else happy, was overwhelming. A much-needed reminder, as I head for a period of (relative) vocal rest, of just how exhilarating being a performer can be. Cheers!