A time for reflection

Things are slowly getting back to some sense of normality in the village. The noise of a few more children in the school playground is a wonderful sound for sore ears.

It’s too early for things to be as they were – if they ever are again – but at least we can meet friends and family in gardens, the six of us keeping our distance. No-one in Dorset has been impressed with the scenes on our beaches, with daytrippers packed in like sardines just because they have an urge to see the sea and a lifting of lockdown restrictions allows them to do so.

There is a real fear that the county, which has done reasonably well up until now, could be facing a second wave of the virus.

In other news, the cat went to the vet this week. Nothing serious, just preparation for a pet passport in case we are able to travel to France later in July. It was a surreal situation, with customers waiting in their cars for the masked vets to come to them.

At our local hospital, which I had to attend midweek for a medical procedure postponed when lockdown happened, the corridors echoed with the lone footsteps of patients making their way to long-awaited appointments. Doctors and nurses in personal protection gear, perspex screens around the receptionist, and social distancing notices everywhere.

Yesterday, the dogs finally got the haircut they were due on the first day of lockdown. The little one is now more like a sausage with a head than a gundog. I knew she was thin but even I was shocked. I shall redouble my efforts to fatten her up with potatoes.

The weather has changed, the wind is blowing clouds across the sky but the view from the hill is reassuringly the same. It pays to find solace and escape from it all and reflect on life. A fool, alone on a hill.

My very own desert island.

Which leads me very nicely into the fact that I can breathe out now my Desert Island Discs debut has aired this morning. My bit was a light interlude in a programme full of moving stories.

You can listen to the programme here. I’m on at 32:20.

Time and time again, the programme and theme being broadcast throughout the day on Radio 4 illustrated the power of music. Whether it’s in times of reflection, celebration or just a change of mood, music has the ability to move even the most stone-like of souls.

It’ll be my last Sound of Music Through The Square Window this Sunday, and I’ve put together a finale which I hope will capture the fun-filled spirit and creativity of this community.

I’m hoping people who are socially-distancing dancing in windows, doorways, on pavements and the village green will wear a hat, something colourful and maybe sparkly shoes. As the weather forecast isn’t great, it could be sou’wester and galoshes but as long as they’re bright and cheerful, that’s fine.

I’ll be letting you know how the last day goes. And now that the people aren’t staying at home, I might close the window for a bit until I have something else to write about.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

#DesertIslandDiscsChallenge

This coming Friday morning on Radio 4, there’s a special Desert Island Discs featuring the music that is helping people through lockdown.

And the village’s story of The Sound of Music Through The Square Window is included in the programme.

I can say this because several people have already told me they’ve heard my voice on one of the radio trailers, which means my interview hasn’t been left on the cutting room floor

This fills me with relief because talking to Lauren Laverne was a bit nerve-racking, mostly because I worship the ground on which she walks. Also I had severe feedback in my headphones. This was so discombobulating it led me to declare that the village sits beneath the lowest point in Dorset when I meant the highest.

Still, it was lovely to be able to share the tale about the daily request slot and how the theme tune to one of the famous film musicals of all time became the most played song in the village. To see folk on the green socially-distanced dancing every lunchtime, along with neighbours waving from windows and people on pavements pogoing, has been a tonic for this close-knit community.

We’ve felt a part of something, even though we can’t be together.

I have only one tune in this programme but you can guess which one it is. Didn’t have a choice really.

In the build-up to Friday’s programme, which features some emotional interviews with listeners all over the country, the BBC has launched the Desert Island Discs Challenge.

To take part, you have to:

  1. list your top eight pieces of music, starring your favourite
  2. add a book and a luxury (don’t forget you already have the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare)
  3. include the hashtag #DesertIslandDiscsChallenge
  4. tag eight friends to join in the fun

It might seem easy but it’s really quite tricky – the songs shouldn’t be your eight favourite pieces of music but those that mean something to you, maybe jogging a particular memory. You can find guidelines on how to choose your list here.

This is my list of tunes and the reasons why I chose them:

  1. When Will I Be Loved, The Everly Brothers (my older sisters singing in harmony)
  2. Sugar Sugar, The Archies (performing it at the primary school social)
  3. Jupiter from The Planet Suite (as a child I imagined it being played when on a family visit to Tarr Steps, Exmoor)
  4. Rock Your Baby, George McCrae (blackcurrant picking in the summer with the sun on my back and earning 35p a bucket)
  5. What Do I Get, Buzzcocks (teenage angst)
  6. Cars, Gary Numan (being teased about my Somerset accent when I started my journalism training)
  7. Jackson, Johnny Cash and June Carter (singing this with Mr Grigg on our 10th wedding anniversary)
  8. To Build A Home*, The Cinematic Orchestra featuring Patrick Watson (because I love it so. I got soaked walking back in the rain to our accommodation after seeing them at The Roundhouse, London)

Actually, scrub that. It’s just too sad. I think I’ll go with Rock Your Baby instead. I smell blackcurrants every time I hear it.

In any case, it might take me a while to get the hang of my luxury item to play a bit of Mrs Mills, which I’d need to cheer me up if I chose that Cinematic Orchestra track as my one and only desert island disc.

You can see how difficult it is now.

For my book I’m having The Complete Illustrated Guide to Practical Witchcraft and Magic (I might be able to conjure up a rescue vessel or make myself disappear).

And my luxury is a piano. (I had lessons as a child but didn’t have the patience to practise. I figure if I’m on the island long enough, I might become proficient to at least play one tune from beginning to end).

I’ll be posting a short version of my list on social media but, in the meantime, why not give it a go?

That’s about it.

Love, Maddie x