Friday, 6 January 2012

Chicken Coop Quintet

Many years ago at school my music teacher was called Miss Parrot. Truly. Despite my best efforts Miss Parrot wouldn't allow me to join the school choir. Even as a seven year old I recognised the fact that whenever I sang (always with gusto) people gave me funny looks. But I loved singing. I have such happy memories of singing along with my mum, from whom I inherited my talent. Country and Western, Irish Folk, Christmas Carols, hymns. We warbled happily together in our own unique way. I still love singing but these days I can accept that no-one would allow me to join their choir.I consider it to be their loss.
My Dearly Beloved, having got over the initial shock in the early days, generally gives me interesting feedback. He was in a choir for many years, as was my friend P, so both of them sing to a socially acceptable standard. Only a couple of days ago he commented that it was unusual to hear so many key changes in my version of a song.I find such positive comments heartwarming.And I still sing with gusto.Usually the dogs join in.

P has a different but equally supportive approach. She strongly favours enthusiasm over talent and happily joins in with whatever I'm singing in a most encouraging way.As I do with her. Sometimes we stop abruptly when she slips into totally the wrong tune / key / words etc, but inevitably we resume after a little laugh at her mistake. I'm always quite surprised when this happens, given her musical ear and chorister's background. I don't understand why she never corrects herself though. I've even been quite direct in pointing out the error of her ways but she just laughs and carries on regardless. I suppose some people struggle to acknowledge when they're in the wrong.
Anyway, the reason I've been thinking about this is that for some weeks now I've been awakened in the dank, darkness of the winter mornings to a pre-dawn chorus. Of a sort. In the garden, near the bedroom window is the Hen Run and in that blackest time just before daybreak the Chicken Coop Quintet prematurely greet the forthcoming dawn with the most amazing sound. It starts with a shy and rusty solo croak that gently escalates in volume. Incredibly off-key harmonies tentatively join in one at a time until all five of the hens are serenading the new day. Their happy-sounding, reedy, out of tune crooning reminds me of someone's singing but I can't for the life of me think who it could be.
After a while they are drowned out by the professionals of the Solway Symphonia; the song-birds herald the day beautifully.
But as I snuggle into my duvet in these dreich Scottish mornings I'm smiling. Out of tune and out of kilter the hens are happily singing. We've formed our own little choir. Take that Miss Parrot.


  1. Great post Mari. Your writing and photos are a real treat.

  2. I really do enjoy your blog and seeing your photo captured moments you choose to share. You deserve the Creative Capture Blogging Award. Please enjoy the fact that someone out here in the blogosphere enjoys your photo captures and posts. Stop by to get your badge if you would like to show others your award status. Keep blogging, keep photographing, and keep sharing. Congratulations! : )
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    Just Ramblin'