Thursday, 11 October 2018

Singing for pleasure.

One afternoon each month a group of us play the old songs at an old folk's home in a village about fourteen miles away.    The journey is a lovely one through Wensleydale, the Autumn leaves were at their very best today (especially any on trees in the Maple family).   I went alone as W was busy, but G was there and also S who is good at jollying along (I am hopeless at it).   G and I played ukuleles and we all sang songs like 'Side by Side',
'Daisy' and 'She'll be coming round the mountain'.
They all sing with great gusto.   We stop in the middle for a cup of tea and a piece of cake.   It is a lovely afternoon.

I have come to the conclusion that I am just not very sociable.  I am quite happy with my own company most of the time, I like one-to-one relationships but I am never comfortable in a crowd situation.   I was concerned this afternoon that when I got there I would be the only one there and would have to lead the singing alone - something I just couldn't do.   Happily I didn't have to. 

 One of the nice things about the afternoon - and it happens every time - is how many of the residents thank us as we leave and tell us just how much they have enjoyed the singing of the old songs.   Most of them know the words and the tune off by heart.   I watched one old man today who I took to be asleep as he had his eyes closed but he sang every song and obviously enjoyed it.
 
It is a particularly nice old peoples' home and the residents seem very happy (it has a good reputation in the area) but I look at it with horror and know that I will fight tooth and nail to stay in my own home when I find life difficult.  As somebody once said (was it Bette Davies?) 'old age is not for sissies.'

29 comments:

thelma said...

Although you say you are not, you are sociable, meeting people for meals etc. I must admit to being happy with my own company, the strain of small talk gets to me sometimes especially in a crowd.

Gwil W said...

I sometimes think when things get too much for me as I get older I'll go and live in a hotel - the more like Fawlty Towers the better!

Derek Faulkner said...

I rather suspect that many of those people in the home are the same sort of age as you Pat and so you have done extremely well to still be as independent as you are. I doubt many of us would want to end up in such a place voluntary, it's certainly my worst nightmare. Like you, I tend to be mostly anti-social and being alone in my house and garden is mostly all I need in life.

Rachel Phillips said...

As Gwil says, he thinks he would like to go and live in a hotel. It used to be the case that people did do this. I remember a solicitor friend of mine whose father lived in a kind of 1 star hotel and shuffled around outside and this is how I found out that he lived in a hotel when I said to his son that I had seen his father in the street one day. He said "oh yes, he lives in XYZ hotel there and is very happy". I don't know whether this still happens. Wasn't it a bit like that in Eastbourne? I like the idea of this too.

angryparsnip said...

I enjoy being with others but I must admit I too enjoy being alone. All the years of working, school, projects I just enjoy the happy
quiet. I am house bound but busy as I want to be.

cheers, parsnip and badger

Bonnie said...

You bring much joy to many in these visits and I imagine you receive as much as you give in reaching out like this. I also hope that I never have to live in such a home for I value my independence. I think it is in the preservation of that independence that many of us work to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Bovey Belle said...

I think "small talk" leaves a lot of us cold Pat - best to have conversations with folk we know we get along with. I for one don't suffer fools gladly and have to really bite my lip sometimes!! Still, it sounds like you really enjoy making other people happy, so that is not something to be sniffed at. You've got me singing in my head now, "Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do" . . . : )

I can remember people going to live in hotels too. I used to go riding with a boy in Romsey whose parents kept a pub/hotel and they had several genteel old ladies and a retired colonel staying there on full board . . .

Librarian said...

Music is just the best when it comes to reaching out and make people happy - others and ourselves.
There is probably nobody who wants to spend their old age in a home for the elderly. Don't we all want to stay in our own homes and take care of ourselves for as long as possible? Sometimes, though, there is not much of a choice, I guess.
By the way, at the moment it is unclear whether I will actually be coming to Yorkshire the week after next. My Dad is very ill and we are not sure it is a good idea for both of us - my sister and I - to be away at the same time for two weeks.

Anonymous said...

Pat, if you are not sociable, then I am a recluse - a true hermit. I don't mind being alone either. I was born that way. I can't imagine living in a retirement center with people all around. I do hope I am able to prevent that as it would be the worst of times for me. Our cool weather has just arrived. I actually am wearing leggings and socks with flip flops today. Might have to leave my bedroom screen door open tonight if my weenies and I don't get too cold.

justjill said...

You can actually make your wishes known. As I get more decrepit I have made it clear I wish to stay in my own home with carers coming in. My GP knows this as do my family. This is Scotland not sure it applies to England.

Barbara Anne said...

What joy you and your group bring to so many people who need a happy break from routine. The beautiful surrounds you drive through to get there and get back home no doubt lifts your spirts, too.

If I remember correctly, that quote was from Mae West.

jinxxxygirl said...

Pat ... my hubby drives a bus for a retirement home here in the States... and i help out a resident who lives there in her bungalow once a week.. Sometimes just getting a helping hand a few times a week can help you stay in a home longer.. you might look into it. Since hubby started working there i have seen both sides of the coin at this place.. Some reisidents are just darling and so pleased with any time you spend with them or anything you do for them or just listen to them. It can be a very uplifting experience but then i've seen them be so cruel to each other... to maybe someone who does not conform to how they think things should be.. If one is a little odd or different they are not very accepting.. and i found that very sad.. I wish instead of showing judgement they showed compassion.. Hugs! deb

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

I can't play and sing at the same time, which really annoys me. I do enjoy playing music.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lots of nice comments here and they have cheered me no end. Seems we all feel the same about going into care. Shall we start a bloggers home??

Rachel Phillips said...

I'll stick with the hotel, thanks.

Heather said...

Those afternoons sound lovely and seem to provide pleasure for everyone. My mother had to go into a very nice care home which seemed to be run on similar lines to the complex of retirement flats I now live in. Each resident in the home could chose to keep to their own room if they wished, or use the communal areas. In our flats the same applies and as I enjoy my own company I spend most of my time in my flat, though I do partake in some of the social events. Let me know when the Bloggers home opens it's doors and I'll put my name down!

Unknown said...

Count me in on the home for bloggers. Pat..........no top age limit, I presume.
EH

John Gray said...

Singing is pure pure pleasure believe me

Joanne Noragon said...

If you ever find yourself alone, ask a resident to lead the singing while you accompany. Problem over.

Cro Magnon said...

Para 2 is the story of my life. I'm changing my middle name to Hermit.

Gwil W said...

Singing is good for the soul.

Tom Stephenson said...

I wonder if the next/next generation of old people will enjoy sing-songs. I cannot see groups of rappers doing old 90s in nursing homes.

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Derek Faulkner said...

Pat, I'm not sure a blogger's home would take off. Perhaps the reason that a lot of bloggers do blog is because they can stay in touch with people without having to physically socialise with them - it suits the lonely nature of a lot of us.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

It's funny that you describe yourself as not very social because I always think of you as someone who gets together with friends for lunch and goes for drives to different places with people... but I suppose that's not a crowd situation. It is very nice that you play and sing for the people in the retirement home. As someone whose own mother finished her life in a retirement home, and whose mother-in-law is currently in one, the decision to enter such a place is a difficult one, and often money comes into play. Unfortunately, some people just don't have the funds to remain at home and have "help" come in frequently, at least that's the case here. -Jenn

Elizabeth said...

Sounds a great afternoon. Community singing really raises one's spirits.
I hope you manage to stay in your nice bungalow for many years more.

Ruth said...

Oh my - in describing yourself with respect to crowds, you've described me. I dread the thought of ever having to go into a nursing home, or to move from my secluded home into a senior citizen community of close neighbors. I want to die in my boots (my home) even though I fully realize that won't be my choice to make when the time comes. I love attending church and have been able to muster the courage to go to some meetings there, but that's only for an hour or two, then straight home again. Somewhere I read "Home is the sacred refuge of our life" and that's exactly how I feel. I love reading about your excursions because it makes me happy to see that you're active and involved, but after each one I can tell how happy you are to get back home and settle in with Tess. To me that's a very happy way of life, and I thank you for sharing it!

liparifam said...

Yep, good ol' Bette:

“Old age ain't no place for sissies.”
― Bette Davis

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