EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES – DECEMBER 1962

They are supposed to be singing at a garden party (Ah, Leave Me Not to Pine) thrown by the newly created Lord (Jamie Uys). Anne wears huge dangly earrings and Webster is wearing an evening suit with a cravat in the afternoon. They did this not long after he came out of the hospital and his chin is sunken and he doesn’t look well. Others in the cinema audience have a laugh but I see nothing amusing in it.

1 December – Go to town and singing. Anne tells me that their house was struck by lightning during last night’s storm so she didn’t get to sleep till 2.00. I pay her for the music she kindly bought for me and tell her of similar lightning experience at home a few weeks ago.

We start on Zion. She says I have a tendency to drag it. She tells me they listened to the Ninth and rather enjoyed it but thought the orchestra had no verve. She says, “I’m not trying to be big and know more but the UK orchestras have more life in them.” I tell her about Leo Quayle and she says that he was doing very well in Britain and he was mad to come back here when he had so much work over there.

We do Father of Heav’n. She says it’s a most difficult aria. We alter the words of a certain part and she says that if the examiner says anything about the alteration I can always say that Sargent did it that way.

Ruth is late and I tell Anne about Caroline’s engagement and the cocktail party of last night. She says, “Isn’t she having a lovely time now?” I agree.

Ruth eventually arrives and tells us that the party was simply fabulous. The tiles of their swimming pool are being laid today and everything in the garden is generally very rosy.

Ruth says that I mustn’t forget to come tomorrow afternoon to the City Hall. I go back to Mrs S’s. Miss Cameron comes. I practise sight-reading with Elaine.

Caroline Ormond

We have lunch and then see The Jolson Story. Caroline O’s engagement photo is in paper. She is very attractive.

2 December – Go to City Hall for dress rehearsal. In the paper there is an article by Gary A about the two Messiahs – he thinks PE has an edge on Johanesburg because of Webster.

At interval I take Ruth and Hester to the – café and we have cold drinks. Ruth says it might be fun to see The Merry Widow in Springs and we might arrange something. I tell her about the Lord Oom Piet film and she says she’d love to see it.

We take Ruth home. While we are in that direction we pass the Booths’ little house in Craighall Park. The Anglia is in the drive so I expect he must have gone to PE with Graham B or by plane.

3 December – Go to singing. The girl before me doesn’t arrive. Anne tells me she has three mosquito bites and has to take pills for them which make her drowsy. She makes tea and then we start on Father of Heav’n once more.

She says Bill Perry was accepted by PACT. She thinks Gary A was sweet about Webster. She says the orchestra in PE is very bad so apart from the soloists our Messiah will probably be far better than the PE one. He had a terrible cold when he left on Friday and he had to sing on Saturday in Uitenhage with a male voice choir so she doesn’t know how he’ll get on.

We continue with the aria. She says that I have such a pure voice I should make a fine oratorio singer. I mention the film and she looks embarrassed and says that it’s not at all dignified and I mustn’t expect it to be. She says that people who have seen it say they look nice but that’s about all. She’s worried about the show in Springs which opens of Friday night and she vows that she will never do another one even though they pay her a fortune.

At night I go to City Hall for final dress rehearsal. We have the soloists tonight. Nohline Mitchell has a lovely (but cold) contralto. Rudi Neitz is good but (as Webster mentioned) has to go down instead of up on the high notes. Gert Potgieter has a pleasant enough tenor, but, oh goodness, the soprano, Nan Mayer is simply hopeless. She sings out of tune and everyone has to grit their teeth to bear it. When Gert P finishes his Comfort ye and Ev’ry Valley, Gill says cattily, “And how does he compare with Webster Booth?”

I say that Webster’s record is far superior to Gert P and she says, “And how many years ago did he make it? He can’t sing now. He should give up.”

I say, “Admittedly he’s past his prime but when he was Gert P’s age he had a voice 500 times as good.”

She says, “I know that, but he can’t sing now.”

Iris rudely interposes and says, “I’ve always hated his voice and I shall record from PE to compare the two.”

Ruth, her mother and I go over to the café and have a drink. Mrs O says that it sounds really lovely and she’s looking forward to tomorrow night.

Ruth and I go back and I tell her of the unpleasant remarks of Gill and company. She says we must see each other over the Christmas holidays and she will phone.

Leo keeps us a little late but he is an absolute darling. Anton H comes and we present Johan with a present and sing For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow – quite the most beautiful rendering of that ditty, I think. We all get complimentary tickets for tomorrow.

At the car we meet Ruth and her mother so I introduce Mrs O to Dad.

4 December – Go to see Lord Oom Piet in the afternoon. They are the guest stars. The picture itself is quite amusing but I do feel sorry for them.

They are supposed to be singing at a garden party (Ah, Leave Me Not to Pine) thrown by the newly created Lord (Jamie Uys). Anne wears huge dangly earrings and Webster is wearing an evening suit with a cravat in the afternoon. They did this not long after he came out of the hospital and his chin is sunken and he doesn’t look well. Others in the cinema audience have a laugh but I see nothing amusing in it.

Ah, Leave Me Not to Pine, with Jamie Uys squirming in front of them. Disgraceful!

We go to the City Hall at night for Messiah. Ruth is there when I arrive and she tells me that they sent her an account because she didn’t pay her fees on Saturday. She is angry and is going to ask “the meaning of it!” She says they’re very hard up – doing a film like that and taking any engagement for money. She says they should be retired by now. “And living in a cottage in Devon,” I add.

Our singing goes very well. Leo Quayle is fine. The hall is packed and I see the soprano Rita Roberts in the audience. Soprano stays more in tune in the first half. We get a grand reception.

At interval we see the presentation to Johan. He is leaving tomorrow. I am very sorry he is going. Ruth says her chair was collapsing during the first half and she is exhausted from holding it up She is red and nervous. We say we’ll see each other on Saturday and phone each other.

The second half (apart from soprano soloist’s flatness) is excellent. There is wild applause. The Hallelujah chorus is terrific. Johan is brought on stage. Leo kisses his hands at us to signify delight. And so ends our choir for another year.

I have certainly enjoyed my choral work in the SABC and as I look back to each event I remember happy musical occasions – the Passion and Norma bring memories of the Drawing Room and Webster kissing us; Ruth making a fool of herself by mistaking the men’s cloakroom for an exit – that certainly was a night! Stravinsky, Robert Craft and the Symphony of Psalms, the Ninth and now Messiah. Of all the conductors, I think Leo Quayle was the sweetest and best. Father sat in the front row at Messiah and adored it.

5 December – Work and lunch in Ansteys. We get rave notices from RDM and Star – the Star especially says the choir was brilliant and the best of the lot!

Go to SS studio. Don’t do too much work but have illuminating chat with Gill who finally practically discloses the story about Webster she told me partially in April – about the whisky and the ladies’ cloakroom. According to her he was making up to some woman in the ladies’ dressing room at a concert and drinking whisky – or brandy!

I say, “Well, he’s never behaved badly with me.”

She says, “No. You’re his bread and butter.”

I go on, “All he’s ever done is to kiss me,” and she says, “I’m not saying he did anything more than that but it’s immoral.”

I laugh. She adds, “I don’t want to be old fashioned but I like a man to be a gentleman all the time He’s a typical showman and I feel sorry for his wife!”

I must be getting cynical but the story didn’t shock me in the least. As a matter of fact, I’d like him to kiss me again some time – I enjoyed it!

We part on friendly terms but Gill obviously thinks the worst of him.

Mrs S says she thought our performance awful but the critics begged to differ. Despite her opinion, I have a good lesson.

6 December – Go to hear the best lunch hour concert of the season – Leo Q conducts, and Adelaide Newman plays the piano most beautifully.

In the Eastern Province Newspaper, the critic says of Webster’s Elijah – that he sang with his regular superb artistry. I listen to his G and S at night. Continues with HMS Pinafore.

7 December – Go to guild and when I come home the Carmichaels from across the road are visiting. She was a singer and pianist and taught music and tells me that Webster was very involved with Kathleen Ferrier. She tells me that he has had several kidney operations, is a flirt and has led a wild life but is a wonderful singer. I like him none the less after all the damning revelations which might not even be true.

8 December – Go to singing. Hilda from St Helena answers the door. She is very well spoken and charming. Lemon is there too. Anne says The Merry Widow in Springs went very well last night but she was up till 2 every morning and on Tuesday she stayed overnight on a mine and her host had to give her a tranquilliser.

We start on Father of Heav’n and after the story about KF I feel rather embarrassed about it. To crown it all, he comes in and is charming. I ask about the oratorios and he says he had a terrible cold for Elijah but Messiah was much better. They say they knew our soprano, Nan Mayer in Britain – her father was the editor of a London Newspaper. She never got much work in Britain and must be at least 48.

I say that I had another late night last night so that’s why I can’t sing. She says that his coming back has upset everyone.

Do Zion and this isn’t much better. He says that it’s one of my ‘gargling’ days! She tells me that Mabel Fenney isn’t coming back to her husband and intends to stay in London and study. She says she’s probably got a boyfriend over there and after living in Europe nobody can really be expected to come back here.

Ruth is there to hear my bad effort and promises to phone me. I don’t know what they think I do on Friday nights.

Go to see Friends and Neighbours at night at the Intimate Theatre and it is a great laugh. Charles Vernon is unbelievably amusing and I roar. Frank Douglass, Helen Braithwaite are in it too. It cheers me up no end.

9 December – We go to Vanderbijlpark to see our old friends. We see the Alexanders – Inge is home for the weekend. They have two lovely dachshunds.

We see the Hills in passing. Mr H used to teach me music in days long ago. We pop into the Innes’s next door to them. Kathleen is now a picture of health after her terrible car accident. Sadly, she will never dance again.

We finish up at the Watts. Mr W has been very ill with lung problems and has been away from work.

10 December – Work hard. Anne phones in the afternoon. “Hello, Jean?” “Yes?” “Darling, this is Anne.” “Hello.” She wants me to change the time from 4.30 to 3.30. I agree – it will suit me much better.

I phone Ruth at night and we talk for 40 minutes about nothing. I tell her about Gill and she tells me about a wrapping party at her house for the Press Ball. Her father is a director in an advertising agency. She is going to the Drakensberg for the long weekend.

11 December – Go to singing and meet a little boy, Eddie who used to be in my Sunday School class with a lovely little puppy. He blushes when I stop to pat it.

When I arrive no one answers the door and then lift opens and Webster emerges very quietly and I get a terrible fright. He laughs at me and says, “Really, Jean. Your nerves are bad – jumping like that!” He imitates me. “I expect she must be phoning someone.”

We go in and he complains to me about the heat and tells me that he’s had a terrible thirst all day and has been drinking a lot of tea. While he makes more tea he feeds the pigeons in a concerned fashion and I say, “Your pets,” and he smiles at me.

Anne is busy phoning the doctor about her ears and when she comes out of the office she tells him to let me hear the records. He produces Kathleen’s record first and I prepare myself for an effort in self-control. Her singing of Father of Heav’n is quite glorious. He remarks that she takes it rather slowly and he doesn’t think this necessary. She says that her broad Lancashire accent comes over very much in the way she broadens her consonants. Obviously she wasn’t very fond of her.

I then endeavour to sing the same aria. He makes me hold the music up so that I don’t have to look down and swallow. I fill in a breath mark and she says that she sees I’m left-handed. I say, “Yes, another of my faults!” She says, “Nonsense! I’m very left-handed and left-handed people are all infinitely more intelligent.” “Anyway, what’s all this about faults? If we didn’t all have faults we’d be dull!” “Yes, but I have more faults than most,” I answer.

We listen to Prepare Thyself and I am pleased to see that the singer takes a breath in the middle of the long run. When it is finished Webster sings, “And thank God that’s over!” I then sing it and he beats time along with me. It goes quite well.

They say they’re feeling the heat. “It used to be a dry heat that was pleasant but now it’s very humid,” says he. “A damp, horrible heat.”

I come home with Kathleen’s record and a huge picture of her on the cover. During the lesson, Anne mimics her accent and he says, “She was so terribly ill when she made it.”

12 December – Work in the morning and then lunch in Ansteys with Mum – very nice.

Go to SS studio. Gill is there and tells me that she is planning to go on holiday soon. We steer clear of the pet subject – I’ve had enough revelations to last me a lifetime! I have a good theory lesson with Mrs S.

13 December – Go into the library to work and meet the German cellist from the orchestra there. He tells me he is going to Cape Town for his holiday. Lunch with Mum and meet Dawn Snyman from the rink. She hasn’t been there for ages.

Lunch hour concert – Anton H and Gé K. Not bad but latter takes a lot out of himself.

Listen to G and S at night. He goes on with HMS Pinafore and plays He is an Englishman. He tells of broken bottles in “Dear old Dublin in those hectic revolutionary days when we sang this song.” He says that the programme finishes on the twenty-seventh. Next week he’s playing Pineapple Poll. “You can write down all the tunes you recognise,” says he.

14 December – Work and lunch in Capinero with Mum. Go to singing and Webster arrives first wearing his white sports jacket and feeling warm. He says he can’t imagine what has happened to Anne. He dropped her off at a quarter to three at the ABC shoe shop.

We go in together and the phone rings – someone enquiring about the musical activities at the SABC. He suggests the caller joins the choir and says it’s run by someone called van der Merwe. He stops and calls through to me to ask about it and I tell him that Johan has gone overseas and I think Pieter de V is managing it now. He says to the person on the phone, “Better phone Anton Hartman – he’s the head boy of the SABC!” After this conversation, he says he can’t imagine why the person phoned him when he could have phoned the SABC directly.

He says he had to collect a package and pay 5/- for it which he thought rather a cheek. He says that since his illness he hasn’t been able to stand the heat – sweat pours off him. I make some sympathetic noises.

We do exercises and they go so well that he says I should forget them until nearer the time or I’ll get sick of them.

We start on the first study which he plays rather hideously. Luckily the phone rings again and Anne arrives. He returns and says to me, “Did you or I make a mistake or was it the bell?” He sits down at the piano and insists on playing for me again. We get halfway through and she intervenes by giving him a huge poke in the waist. I stop singing and he teases me, “Any excuse for you to stop when I’m playing for you. Don’t you like my accompaniment?” I have a good laugh at him.

The studies go very well too and they are pleased. Anne says her hands are getting stiff – probably from old age.

We start on Open Thy Blue Eyes by Massenet and she says I must sing it twice as fast. Being a love song I must put guts into it!

We also go through I Attempt from Love’s Sickness to Fly. I say I think it’s a bit high for me but they say it doesn’t sound strained at all. Webster tells me it sounds very fresh.

We complain about the heat and I say I should prefer a nice fog. She says the fog was all right when she was young but not now. He tells me he felt very cold in bed last night and Lemon was shivering after his recent haircut, and now today is a killer. He told me this before Anne arrives. He doesn’t look very well with his sunken jaw, rotten teeth and the suggestion of a nervous tic at his eye.

I come home on bus with Rita Marsden and she tells me she has finished matric and is going to work in the library.

15 December – Go skating after a long absence. M skating is just the same apart from some muscular stiffness. Arthur Apfel is back teaching at the rink and Armand Perren has left. There are few there that I know. When I think of the fabulous crowd we had in Erica Batchelor’s day. Still, I enjoy it once more.

We have lunch and then see No Man is an Island with Jeffrey Hunter who has gorgeous blue eyes.

I hear the choir’s recording of Oranje Blanje Blou on the radio.

16 December (Day of the Covenant) Go to family service at church and then to Betty’s to listen to the two records. Kath is wonderful despite her rolling consonants. At night I listen for the long-awaited broadcast of excerpts from Messiah and Elijah from PE. The announcer states that the soloists are Monica Hunter, Joyce Scotcher and Graham Burns but he doesn’t mention Webster at all. I imagine that he has made a mistake so I listen for one of the tenor arias.

The other soloists sing at least three solos each but not one of his arias are played – no explanation or apology. It makes me furious. What could have happened that they did not play one of his arias?

Imagine how he must be feeling tonight. Yet imagine what he was! Imagine him as a young man – tall, well built with dark hair and a handsome face; Britain’s wonder tenor. How awful he must feel now being spurned in this corny one-eyed country. I know what Gill and Iris will be saying.

18 December – Go to singing in the afternoon. Webster answers the door and appears quite cheerful. He tells me to help myself to a cup of tea and I clatter around with the cups.

The girl before me (Mary Harrison) is singing light songs. She’s an Australian in the cast of My Fair Lady. She sounds rather fun and being theatrical they get on well with her.

When I go in I see that they have started to redecorate the studio – white paper with silver motifs. I tell him that it looks lovely and he is very pleased.

Anne comes out and asks if I could come in the mornings while they are rehearsing for the next play at the Alex – Goodnight Mrs Puffin. It opens on the 16 January and goes into rehearsal on Friday.

He says, “We haven’t done The Swan for a hell of a long time. We had better do it.” I sing it too softly. “You are singing a Drawing room pianissimo – sing a City Hall one,” says he.

We do Blue Eyes and he comes and stands next to me and stares at the music, informing me that I’ve made a mistake with one of the notes. She says she doesn’t believe him. We do it again and he springs on me in delight when I make the mistake. He says he knew it was most unusual for me to make a mistake in my notation. He crows over me in delight.

I say I’ll fill in form for exam. She says that she’s glad she can depend on me to do things like that. Lucille, who has also to do an exam is quite helpless and has to have everything done for her. Webster says that if she passes this exam he has a good mind to do it himself! He does not appear to be particularly cast down about omission on the oratorio programme.

19 December – Go to SS studio. Gill informs me that she had a fight with Svea and proceeds to tell me all about it in a fuming fashion. She also tells me that Iris phoned her on the evening of the PE Messiah to tell her she’d got through to it. I say, “I suppose you were both able to sit down and run Webster down together?” She says, “Oh no. He hadn’t come on yet.” She herself couldn’t get through but listened on Sunday, saying that he probably wasn’t good enough to be broadcast. I say that he got a good crit and she says, “But so did Nan Mayer.” I say, “Damn it all, He wouldn’t have sung out of tune anyway.” She says acidly, “I’ve seen them having to turn their duets into a comedy act.” I make no further comment.

After that unpleasantness, I have a good and restorative lesson with Mrs S.

I get a Christmas card from Ruth and one from Gill. Ruth’s has their address printed on it.

She phones me in the evening. They had a lovely time in the Drakensberg and she met a man there who did the lighting for the Merry Widow. He didn’t like Anne but liked Webster. There were lots of fights during the show and everyone was temperamental. He said that they are very hard up now and can’t make much appearing in shows but producing brings in a lot of money.

He also told her that at a party someone insulted Webster and he was so furious that he didn’t wish to stay on. Anne refused to leave and this man danced with her for the rest of the evening. If anyone had insulted my husband I would have left with him.

She tells me that Caroline has failed her B Com exams but can write supps. She says she hopes she’ll pass her own exams. She is going to her school dance tonight and isn’t looking forward to it because of all the restrictions. We make lengthy arrangements to see Lord Oom Piet on Monday seeing they’re in it and we’re going to have lunch first. I’m to meet her outside the Carlton at 1.00. It should be interesting to see what she thinks of it.

20 December – Listen to Webster at night and he plays the ballet suite Pineapple Poll. Next week is his last G and S programme.

21 December – Go into town and meet Ruth in Ansteys. We talk for a little while and then I go to the studio. Webster answers the door and complains bitterly about the heat and makes me help myself to tea. Mary departs after wishing them a happy Christmas.

We start on Father of Heav’n and this goes much better today except for my diphthongs which he imitates. We do Zion. He says I do it much more easily than the other. He wonders why.

Their scripts are left on the piano for all in sundry to see. She asks if she thanked me for my card. She says, “It was so sweet of you,” to which I give a watery grin.

I wish them a happy Christmas and they wish me one too. She tells me she expects they’ll be working over Christmas with rehearsals and so on. I say hello to Ruth once more and depart in grim frame of mind.

Mr Stabler comes with a present at night and then I go carol singing with the guild. Archie and David have supps at varsity too. We have fun in my usual dull boring uninteresting way and I act gaily with pain gnawing at my heart.

22 December – I phone Ruth early in the morning. She went to a party last night and hated every moment of it and didn’t dance once. The school dance, however, was nice and she enjoyed it.

We discuss our parents’ ages and she tells me that her mother and father are both 50. We agree that our parents are all wonderful for their ages. She says that Webster isn’t bad for his age but Anne is very worried about the way he drinks. He’s not quite an alcoholic, mind you, but he loves drinking!

The swimming pool is finished and she says that I must go one afternoon to swim there. It’s very quiet, for her sisters are at work and we’ll have fun. She is so sweet. At the beginning of this year I made a resolution to make her my friend and pass my music exams. I’ve managed to do both, thank heaven.

We arrange to meet at a quarter to ten on Monday outside the Carlton. Unfortunately, I decline into a state of dire illness and am indisposed in a most excruciating fashion for the best part of the day.

23 December – Am ill today as well – no church, no nothing!

24 December – Go into town and buy Ruth a present. I meet her outside the Carlton. She’s a bit late but terribly apologetic so I don’t mind having to wait for her. We go to Capri and she tells me that she has not been made a prefect next year and hasn’t had her report yet. She tells me about a new boyfriend called Peter.

We enjoy the film and have a good giggle at them. His head trembles – I didn’t notice before – shame. His bad teeth are also very much in evidence. She gives me a present and I give her one.

We go to Greatermans so that she can get the tip of her shoe mended. Caroline is going to work in the Standard Bank and continue with her commerce degree part-time.

I take her to lunch in Ansteys. She says she prefers Webster to Anne because he’s always the same and never has moods. Her father is a partner in an advertising agency and had to work his way up from the bottom. When he came out to SA he didn’t like it but he couldn’t afford to go back to Scotland so he stuck it out. She says her parents had George Moore and his wife to lunch one day and GM drank a lot.

We have great fun and she promises to phone me after the New Year and I will be able to go out to swim at her house. We wish each other a happy Christmas and part cheerfully.

I meet Elna H on bus. She’s still studying ballet and doing commercial art.

Webster’s new programme Great Voices starts at 7.30 on the first Saturday of the year.

Ruth’s present is a pair of blue slipperettes which are very sweet.

25 December – We spend a quiet Christmas day at home and enjoy a lovely Christmas dinner. In the afternoon I listen to the programme of carols of our choir which we did last year. It takes me back to the night we made that recording.

26 December -We go to His Majesty’s to see The Music Man with Robert Preston, Shirley Jones and Hermione Gingold. It is very pleasant and Robert Preston is full of energy.

27 December – Story about Goodnight Mrs Puffin and big picture of Anne and Webster who play Ma and Pa in the play.

Listen to last G and S. He plays all his favourite Sullivan music: Invocation from Iolanthe, selection from Gondoliers, the Wine song from The Rose of Persia and the Long Day Closes by the Tommy Handley Memorial Choir, “which was formed from Tommy Handley’s famous singing friends so that we could pay tribute to this great comedian.” One way of saying you’re famous! He wishes everyone a fabulous new year and invites them to join him a week on Saturday to hear his new programme, Great Voices.

28 December Go to singing in the afternoon determined to be bright and have a fabulous time. Webster answers the door and I give him a fright with my cheerful greeting, so much so that he tells me not to bother with the cold tea – he’ll make me a fresh cup later on. I chat gaily to Anne who tells me how run off their feet they are with the play but they still managed to have a lovely Christmas. I tell her that Ruth and I saw their picture and enjoyed it very much but thought Jamie Uys should have let them finish their song before he jumped in the river. They both have a great laugh at this.

Anne tells me that they went this morning to have their passports stamped as aliens and he says indignantly that they had to wait one and a half hours to have it done. I tell her we went a few months ago. We agree it would be madness to lose one’s British citizenship. Hilda, however, was not allowed to have permanent residence in this country. They’re very cross about it.

We start on Zion and I sing it very well. He brings me some tea. They tell me that they had a Christmas card from Uncle Mac who told them that poor Anderson Tyrer died on the boat home – possibly from a heart attack. Webster says rather callously, “Uncle Mac must be about 100 – I only hope he lasts long enough for you to get your diploma!”

Also, poor Bill Perry lost all his brothers and sisters in a head-on collision. He had to go to identify the bodies on Christmas eve.

She says I may either come at 10 next Thursday or 4.30 next Friday – the two times are between Ruth and me. I say that I’m sure she would like to go on Thursday and he says they might give her a lift in seeing they virtually pass her door – lucky Ruth.

I wish them a happy new year most effusively and shake Anne’s hand – she gets a surprise. I wonder what to do about him but his hand is already out ready to shake mine with a strong, firm, dependable grip – he holds it for ages. He says something about celebrating Hogmanay in joking tones and she says, presumably trying to imitate Scots accent. “Are you not having a party?” They’re going to one. “But we should really be at home learning our lines.”

I feel quite elated when I leave today. My hand tingles with their handshakes – ridiculous, I know!

Webster says that he was very cold yesterday and they nearly lit the fire. He says that last Boxing day they did light the fire and sat huddled in front of it. She says she went out last night to do a Springbok programme Password and had to wear winter clothes.

29 December – Death of Anderson T reported in paper. He was a famous composer and conductor. In SABC Bulletin there is another article about Great Voices, remarking on the fact that he doesn’t intend to put in his own recordings. He started off at a salary of £4 a week as a singer – and now look at him! They are to appear as Entertainers at Home in Paddy O’Byrne’s Sunday morning programme on 13 January.

30 December – Gary A says that G and S was one of the Top Ten radio programmes of the year.

Go to church and Cecil Oberholzer takes the service. There are very few there.

31 December – Here we are at the end of another year. My only real achievements were passing the exams. Next year I have to pass my finals and earn some money with music.

As far as personal relations go – I’ve made real friends with Ruth and I’m very happy about it. I was sorry to see the last of Peter C and Peter S. As for the Booths – they’ve caused me heartache but they’re the only ones who can make me feel elated. I am as fond of them now as I was when I first met them. I’m glad Webster got over his illness and is now prospering theatrically – I got to know Anne well during his illness and I’m grateful for that.

The SABC has helped me developing musicianship and I have enjoyed my experiences there. It is a pity that we shan’t have Johan with us next year.

It’s been a varied and interesting year if not always a happy one. I hope that next year, despite the hard work in store for me, will be interesting and happy at the same time.

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES – JULY 1962

I get rather a shock because Webster does not do the programme this evening. They say that unfortunately he is indisposed, so Paddy O’Byrne reads from his script. I feel like howling, honestly I do! It sounds absolutely ridiculous but it would be futile if I could never hear or see him again. I’m shocked with myself for saying this but I’m afraid it’s true. I cannot help myself.

1 July – Go to Sunday School in the morning. Play for them but little boys are too much for me to handle! I get the play script from Gail and stay to church. Mr R very good.

2 July – Go to choir in the evening. I go up to 2c with Anna Marie and we see Hugh Rouse reading newscast. He won’t be doing that for much longer, I’m afraid.

We rehearse quite hard. Ruth is away and Gill is not there so I talk to Scots couple and a girl who is doing the same TC exam as me in August. We have a pleasant time – it is nice to get to know others in the choir for Ruth and I have a tendency to live in a little world or our own. Iris gives me a lift home.

3 July – I work extremely hard today and enjoy it. I hear JB Priestley talking about Ryder Haggard. He has a lovely, soothing voice.

Adjudicating in Bulawayo

At night we all listen to Anne’s new programme – Music for Romance. I’m afraid the summing up of this would be tried and found wanting. She spoke nicely of course in a sophisticated and deep drawl but she didn’t play one of their records. When I first met her I thought her such a pet – unaffected, charming. She has changed.

4 July – I lunch with Mum in the Capinero and then I meet Gill who is going to collect her clarinet from Gerrit Bonn at the SABC. I go with her and say hello to Johan and Gerrit B. I wait in the foyer while she collects the clarinet and am fed peppermints by two girls who are waiting to go to the Radio Record Club.

I go to Mrs S’s studio with Gill (complete with clarinet) and she demonstrates it to me but not much sound comes out yet!

We do ear tests which go well and then I sight-sing – I do this far better than Gill. She is fairly impressed.

Rita, Mrs S and I have coffee and then I have a nice lesson with Mrs S in which she asks me to join her choir, the Sylvia Sullivan Choristers, which rehearses on Saturdays at noon. Should be fun. She is pleased with my work and I feel quite elated. She plays a record of the Chopin Mazurka I am working on.

There is a picture of Webster in the Rhodesian paper just after his illness and he looks really awful.

He is going to be in a film about a Boer who inherits an English title called Lord Oom Piet.

I go to first play rehearsal at night and feel that I don’t do badly at all. My North country accent is a fair treat. Fun!

5 July – Have lunch with mum again and then go to lunch hour concert which is crowded out. I see Roselle reclining in a box, Jill Harry, and the lady who sits next to Ruth at choir. Quite a few children are there and they make a lot of noise. Gideon Fagan conducts and Walter Mony is the soloist. He is very good but naturally is angry at the noise – I don’t blame him!

Listen to Webster at night. He continues The Yeomen and gives us Martyn Green. Unfortunately Webster’s voice is very croaky.

6 July – Go to studio and Anne answers the door looking really awful and I feel sorry for her. She tells me that Webster is very seriously ill indeed and is now in hospital.

On the fourth day of his trip to Bulawayo, he collapsed and the doctors thought he had pneumonia because he couldn’t breathe. He managed to return home and was examined by their doctor here who was so worried about him that he sent for a specialist. He took blood tests and decided that he had developed a fever. It was too expensive for him to be treated at home so they put him into the fever hospital with a temperature of 103 degrees. She isn’t allowed to see him and today someone from the municipality rang up and asked if she was the wife of the “suspected typhoid case.” She says he can’t have typhoid fever but they’ll have to wait a week before they have the results of the tests.

When I got home I look up typhoid fever in a medical book. Within seven days red spots develop so maybe he does have it. Also, the heart valves have been affected. Poor, poor Webster. I am so very sorry for him and I pray that he will be well.

She makes us tea and I help and say (to cheer her up) that I liked her programme. She says she thought she sounded rather dull and slow but she’s rectified this in the second one. Let’s hope so!

My exercises (due to shock maybe?) go out of tune and she says it may be the result of my out-of-tune piano because I have a good ear. We go through them again and they get a little better – but not much! She says I must go through them bar by bar at home to get the tune firmly imprinted in my mind.

Sweet Polly Oliver is quite good – a little dull perhaps – but good. Mayday Carol is also better and My Mother is technically perfect but needs a little more light and shade. The studies go very well and she says, “I see you’ve been doing what your Uncle Boo told you!” She asks to borrow the music to practise them if she’s going to be my accompanist at the exam. I’ve to collect them on Tuesday evening before choir. Also, I have to go a bit later at 4.30 for the next two weeks because the little boy is going on holiday.

I say I hope Webster will feel a bit better and that she’ll get good news of him. She puts on a face of studied tragedy. I’m so sorry for him and I do want him to get well. To think that only two months ago – almost to the day – he was so happy doing Drawing Room and kissing Ruth and me.

Go to guild at night and we have the best evening for a long time. At fellowship I pray in round of prayer – my first ever public prayer. I pray for the sick but my heart was praying for Webster. We also pray for the poor Sharpe girls whose father died of a heart attack on Wednesday.

We have a games evening and I play the piano. All very jolly and good fun.

7 July – Go to rehearsal early – 8.30am and we work quite hard. Peter Spargo brings me home for tape recorder and we record hymn for communion which goes quite well.

Sylvia Sullivan with great-niece.

I go into Mrs S’s studio to sing in ensemble. Most of the girls are from Parktown Girls’ High. Mrs S makes me take the altos and then she comes in to helps us. She says she hopes to get a broadcast for us.

I have lunch with parents in Galaxy and we see Susan Slade with Connie Francis who is very good. All most enjoyable.

8 July – Go to Sunday School and play for them. Church is conducted by Mr Huth.

I listen to Leslie Green, Die Goeie Ou Tyd, Time to Remember and Life with the Lyons. Gary A is “bitterly disappointed with Music for Romance”. Says that the public want to hear her own recorded stage appearances. Good for Gary. I agree.

9 July – Develop another cold so as today is Family Day (alias The Queen’s Birthday) I nurse it – grue, ghastly etc!

10 July – Work and nurse cold in the morning. I phone Johan’s secretary to apologise for not attending choir tonight.

I go into town to buy tissues and go up to the studio to collect music. Anne answers and, lo and behold, she has left it on top of the piano at home – she’s so sorry! What can she say? Will it be all right on Friday. I expect so.

Webster has a normal temperature now and if he’s all right by Saturday they may let him out of hospital. As yet, they don’t know what’s the matter with him but I expect if his temperature is normal he must be quite well. I say, “I’m so glad,” – perhaps a little too fervently, but it is the truth.

She is all apologies for not bringing the music but it doesn’t really matter because I really wanted to know about Webster. Thank God he is better.

11 July – Work in the morning and then go into town. I meet Eleanor – Ruth’s enemy – on the bus. She is affable and most la-de-da and talks about everything but Ruth. I rather think she used to be quite nauseated with Ruth and me drooling over Anne and Webster all the time!

I have lunch in Ansteys with Mum and it is quite like old times. The second trumpeter is still there drooling over his roast chicken and green peas.

I go up to Mrs S’s and do ear tests with Elaine, Rita and Gill. Latter tells me that next week we are recording the commercial record unaccompanied. All goes well. We have coffee and then I have my lesson in which I do scales and a Czerny technical exercise which (I think) I sight-read well. Have to go and “perform” on Saturday immediately after play rehearsal – how ghastly!

Go to rehearsal at night – I don’t know my words very well – must really learn them. We practise with our recording. Peter S brings me home and also fetched me. He is a very easy chap to talk to but oh, so learned!

The record Net Maar ‘n Roos is on sale in Ansteys so evidently it couldn’t have been terribly popular.

12 July – Work very hard and listen to Leslie Green – recording in Trafalgar Square – talks of pigeons, rain, London bobbies and buses and makes me feel quite nostalgic about it all.

Am now in bed waiting for G and S. It is a simply glorious programme. He finishes The Yeomen and plays a record by “my dear old friend, Winifred Lawson. Winnie made this in 1921.”

He then plays one of Sullivan’s part songs, The Long Day Closes – a record made after the funeral of Tommy Handley by eight of his singing friends – the most famous singers in Britain at that time – Norman Allin, Parry Jones, Trefor Jones and of course, “myself”. The proceeds went to the Tommy Handley Memorial fund. Good for them.

He finishes with his own recording of Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes seeing he’s starting to play the Gondoliers next week. It is very beautiful indeed and I enjoy it. Tonight was one of the loveliest programmes he’s done for ages. I’m so happy he’s better.

13 July – I go up to studio and Anne is there listening to Leslie Green broadcasting from London. I say I listened yesterday and felt quite nostalgic hearing his broadcast from Trafalgar Square and him talking about the pigeons. She says they had a letter from him yesterday and he has absolutely fallen in love with London. He’s very pro-British – both his parents were from Yorkshire and had broad accents.

She says that since Webster was taken ill she has felt more home-sick than ever. She hates South Africa and simply can’t settle here. “Maybe if I went back to Britain for a holiday that would settle me but I just can’t settle here now!”

I say that my mother is just the same and she says that the people here are very ill-mannered. She has to put the car into the garage in Plein Street and people are ready to run her down and bump into her. She has reached the point where she stops her car and gives them a mouthful! She says, “Webster was always there to help me but now there’s no one.”

Webster is getting out of hospital on Monday but the membranes of his heart are severely damaged and next week he has to stay in bed and have a cardiograph every day and then he’ll have to rest up for two or three weeks. She went to see him through a glass and could only wave at him but he was able to write her a letter on Tuesday.

My singing goes quite well today – best for a long time. We do studies and they are better for leaving them alone for a bit. Bedfordshire Carol is still a bit out of tune but she says that if I “think flat” on the D it should come right. I do this and it improves. My Mother and Polly Oliver are better because of vast practice. She says I must practise octaves and come down on all vowels to achieve evenness. She praises (sincerely) the tone of my voice and I feel elated.

She says Ruth sent her a postcard and she feels so sorry for her still being at school – I don’t! I envy her. We decide that after this exam we’ll burn the music.

I have a nice long lesson today as Bill Perry doesn’t turn up. It is just like old times. I feel elated and light as air but a little sad for Anne being so homesick and poor Webster still being ill.

Anne has been under a terrible strain running the studio, worrying about Webster and feeling homesick. If I had such a darling husband as him I’d feel pretty awful too.

14 July – I go to Mrs S’s studio. I play my pieces to Elaine and she plays hers to me. We work a little and then have coffee and cake with Mrs S, and her sister, Mrs Du Plessis. We work a bit more. Elaine says my pieces are excellent and then we play to Mrs S’s friend, Miss Cameron. The choir arrives and I play the piano for the altos. They all know Ruth and are impressed that I sing in the SABC choir. Their names are Shelley, Linda and Leila.

Go in the afternoon to see West Side Story which is, in my opinion, rather ghastly and too modern and ugly for words. That’s not music – that’s dis-chord!

15 July – Go to Sunday school and play the piano for them. I go with Joan to hear Peter C’s sermon – a great improvement from the last one. He speaks slower which aids matter considerably.

Listen to the radio – Leslie Green, Time to Remember and Life with the Lyons.

16 July – Have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to get the unaccompanied song in tune but have found another that I can sing perfectly in tune so I’m going to try and learn it beautifully for Friday and hope that Anne will allow me to sing it in the exam. It’s a bit late but I think it would be worth it.

In the evening I go to the SABC and the first person I come across is Gill V complete with her clarinet. I go and have supper with her.

We go into 1a to make the recording as Guest Stars of the Kreel Orphanage on the commercial record they have made and which is soon to be released. We sing our two Volksliedjies, unaccompanied. We manage to complete one song by the interval. Graham Green is the controller – he also did the controlling for Drawing Room. A photographer comes to take our picture.

At the interval, I try to play Gill’s clarinet and we all have a hilarious time. The noise I produce gets more squeaky as I proceed! After interval we record the first song Die Lied van Jong Suid Afrika. The sentiment of both songs is decidedly pro-Nat.

We also get our wages tonight which is perhaps the best part of the whole evening. I am quite surprised by the amount – far more than I expected. My first fee for singing!

17 July – Work and then have lunch with Mum in Ansteys. I treat her with my fee!

Work hard in the afternoon and listen to Leslie G in Kew Gardens.

Anne’s programme at night is still pretty awful as far as the music is concerned but her speaking is sweet and next fortnight she’s to play the Vagabond King so let’s hope it’s their beautiful recordings of it.

18 July – Work hard and then have lunch with mum and go up to the SS studio. Elaine and I sight-read duets together. We have coffee and then I have my lesson which goes quite well. I play on 1 September. I’m not looking forward to it.

We go for a drive at night to Hillbrow.

19 July – Go to shops, library, and park today with Shandy and we have fun.

I listen to Leslie G. He goes to the Tower of London where there is an actual rehearsal of the D’Oyly Carte company for Yeomen of the Guard. Then he goes to Petticoat Lane and tells of having high tea for 3/-. Am now in bed waiting for You Know Who!

I get rather a shock because Webster does not do the programme this evening. They say that unfortunately he is indisposed, so Paddy O’Byrne reads from his script. I feel like howling, honestly I do! It sounds absolutely ridiculous but it would be futile if I could never hear or see him again. I’m shocked with myself for saying this but I’m afraid it’s true. I cannot help myself.

Paddy O’B is excellent and from Webster’s script he tells us, “A pupil of mine lent me a record because he thought I was one of the singers. I made it such a long while ago that I’d forgotten about it. It has George Baker, Alice Moxon and Dennis Noble on it, and of course, myself. “ It is lovely – a selection from Gondoliers and his voice is glorious.

“This small company was called the Light Opera Company but we didn’t mind not being in the full company because the pay was the same.”

He starts with the overture to the Gondoliers and says, “I saw The Gondoliers in Birmingham the night before my audition and thought how bright and fresh everything looked. Imagine my dismay when the next morning I walked on to the stage and saw such tatty and dingy props! But who am I to disillusion the theatre-going public who have been my bread and butter for so many years?”

Paddy O’B goes on with the story. I feel so sorry that Webster wasn’t able to do it himself. I hope to heaven he is a bit stronger now. It’s so difficult to imagine such a strong, dependable, kindly man like that very ill and weak but no doubt he is and he must get better.

20 July – Go to the library and then to the studio in the afternoon. Anne answers the door and once more is in the middle of listening to Leslie G. I go in and listen too. He is on the train on his way to Edinburgh and describes the carriage, the friendly ticket collectors, the punctual time-keeping and the fast train. He went to visit a friend of Anne’s (Babs) and thought her garden was the loveliest in England.

Anne says that hearing him talk about all that she remembers so well makes shivers go down her spine and she feels so homesick. Strangely enough, I do too. When I listen to these programmes I always want to cry.

Webster is home now but he is still very weak and has to stay in bed. Last night and today he had a most terrible pain in his chest at the back of his breast bone so she called the doctor, and the specialist is coming for a cardiograph tomorrow. The virus cannot be killed and will only go in its own good time.

She tells me to come at a quarter to four next week and then, after my lesson, we can listen to Leslie Green and have tea together. That should be great fun.

I moot Hush My Dear and Anne is delighted with it. She says I must cover it more and all will be well. She spoke to Webster about the other one and he said he thought it was a state of mind with me. If he can say things like that he must be getting better.

All my songs go really well today and she is delighted. She says I am now singing quite beautifully and interpreting the songs well. Exercises are good and she says that my attack must be bang in the middle of the note. We finish with scale exercises. I think, with a bit of luck, I should pass the flipping exam!

Anne says that it is very tiring to sing properly because of the concentration it requires. Someone told her that it was simply pleasure, but brother, that is a fib!

I tell her to give Webster my love and tell him that I hope he will soon be well. She says, “God bless you, Jean,” and I depart.

I don’t know whether her awful gnawing homesickness makes her sweeter and more sincere but I do know that these last two lessons have been glorious and such fun, even though she’s worried about him. I think I cheer her up in some funny way – it must be that I’m British and love Britain as much as she does and she can confide how homesick she is to me when she can’t to a South African. She used to make a pretence of adoring this country but now she doesn’t have to because she knows that I understand how she feels.

Go to guild at night and we have a talk on guide dogs by young, handsome Mr Dawson and a demonstration by a lovely Alsatian. Very interesting.

21 July – Go to rehearsal for play and we mess around at the piano. Joan Rudman plays and I sing and they are greatly impressed and it gives me good practice at the same time.

Go to the studio and do ear tests with Pam and Olive. We have choir practice – only 3 altos and 4 sopranos are there. We combine with the sopranos today and it sounds very good.

Have lunch with parents at Galaxy and we see Follow that Dream with Elvis Presley who is quite decent for a change and very funny.

22 July. – Go to Sunday school. Playing and lesson go well.

In the afternoon the Alexanders come with Inge. They have a nice new Opel Rekord.

I listen to Leslie G and he plays a lovely record by Anne and Webster which I record. I turn over to Die Goei Ou Tyd and Francois van Heyningen plays a section from Glamorous Night with Webster singing Shine Through My Dreams and Fold Your Wings with Muriel Barron. Sunday has some really good radio programmes.

23 July – Leslie G is in Scotland – Loch Lomond, Stirling and Edinburgh.

Go to SABC at night. We start on Messiah and I really enjoy it and sight- read it well. Ruth is due tonight but she doesn’t arrive. I suppose she’s too exhausted after flying back.

Gill, Iris and I have coffee at interval and Gill says hello to Uncle Edgar and he grins at me as well. We do the Ninth Symphony after interval. Poor Iris might be having an operation soon.

24 July – Leslie G’s programme from the UK doesn’t arrive in time so we hear one he made in Jo’burg before he left. Quite disappointing not to hear from ‘home’ as Anne calls it.

25 July – Go to music in the afternoon and do ear tests wit Gill and Rita. Mrs S asks Gill to adjudicate at an Indian Eisteddfod at beginning of September so she asks me to go with her and be a second opinion. I agree to do this – will be a very good experience.

I have lesson which goes well. Mrs S says I must come as soon as rehearsal is over on Saturday and work with Elaine.

Go to rehearsal at night and it goes reasonably well. Archie is quite good but Shorty is hopeless. I cannot imagine play going on on 17 August.

Mummy listens to the radio in order to record Leslie G but instead of him, John Silver is on. He says that the programme hasn’t arrived yet but one wonders if his programmes were a little too pro-British for the SABC. They just have to put it on for Friday for we’ve such a lovely day planned and it must come off!

26 July – Have a rather grim day of feeling ill again. However, I manage to listen to Leslie G – he’s back, thank goodness. He’s still in Scotland and talks of Edinburgh, Stirling and Falkirk.

I am now in bed waiting for G and S and wondering who will broadcast it tonight. Paddy O’B does it again. The station announcer says once again that he is sorry that Webster is still indisposed. Paddy O’B goes on with the Gondoliers which is nice and also plays a quartet with Henry Lytton, Bertha Lewis and Leo Sheffield, lent to Webster by a friend – Norman Roberts. Henry Lytton is quite fabulous. Webster says in his script that he thinks they were far livelier than they are today. Paddy O’B sounds horrified at this!

27 July – Go up to studio. Peter (someone) a tenor with a glorious voice is singing the Serenade from Frasquita and Hear my song, Violetta. Anne says, “We’ll lend you our record of it. It’s a very good recording – we made it when we were young and sprightly and still had voices!” Hear her say that Webster is once again in the fever hospital!

Go in and in my excitement say, “What’s happened to Webster?” Anne says that he is terribly ill once again. Over the weekend he had terrible pains and the specialist decided that his heart was all right. It must be indigestion so he put him on a diet – no alcohol ( which he couldn’t tolerate for he must have at least one whisky and soda before dinner) and only ten cigarettes a day. The pains persisted and on Tuesday they were so bad that he had to have the doctor in again and his temperature was up. Doctor decided that he had better go to hospital again and have x-rays as the virus must have flared up again.

Wednesday and Thursday they were too busy to do x-rays but they thought it was either gallstones or something pressing against the heart.

Today Anne went along and sat with him while he was x-rayed and the radiographer was terribly rude and said he’d have to come back tomorrow (when there’ll be about 50 people there!). He said he had no intention of coming back again, so she said, “Do as you please. If you want to die, I don’t care!”

However, whether he likes it or not, he has to go back tomorrow. They’re allowing him to have a gin and tonic because he can’t go without it. He absolutely hated having to go back to hospital and is in a grim room. I’m so very sorry for him.

Anne says she thinks perhaps his gums could have affected his system but they won’t listen to her. She says she’d rather have all this happening to her because he’s in such agony.

We decide that we’ve wasted so much time we can’t listen to Leslie G today but I have tea anyway.

I sing – not too badly – considering. I haven’t been very well myself but I feel wretched about him. We go through everything and as tickets haven’t arrived Anne has to phone Arnold Fulton tonight. She says I can phone her at home on Sunday night to hear the outcome of the call. After all that work the tickets must come!

I say goodbye and send Webster my love. Poor, poor pet – he’s had one hang of a bad time and he must get better. How I pray he will get well.

When I get home Ruth has phoned. She phones again at 5.30 and tells me simply astounding unbelievable news – they (her family) have won £40,000 on the Ndola sweep! Can you imagine! I am utterly delighted and she tells me her parents are driving up from Natal today in a state of great excitement. I ask what they will do with all that money and she says they will probably go overseas and buy a new car. I am thrilled for her sake. She is a darling and deserves all the happiness she can get.

She says she phoned Anne but I’m the only one she has told about the money and she’s terribly sorry about him. It shows what a sweet lovely child she is to be concerned with him after winning £40,000! She’s coming to choir on Monday – I can’t wait to see her. I’m surprised at myself for I don’t feel envious. I’m just delighted for her.

28 July – Go early in the morning for rehearsal. Shorty, who is supposed to be my husband in the play, insists on giving me slobbery kisses and putting his arms around me at every opportunity. I survive, however.

Go to town where I see Johan in a bottle-green t-shirt and sports jacket looking far removed from being Anton Hartman’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice!

I arrive at SS studio in time for coffee and then practise Viva Voce with Pam and Elaine. This proves rather grilling with Mrs S listening to every word. Luckily I have to ask the questions rather than answer them. The choral singing goes rather nicely. Shelly, Leila, Mary and Belinda Bozzoli are the altos.

Have lunch with parents in Galaxy and come across Sally Bowling there. She looks older and more sophisticated than I remember her. She doesn’t go skating much now.

We see The Silver Key by Edgar Wallace – very exciting, and an excellent short on Russian culture – singing, ballet etc.

29 July – Go to Sunday school and play the piano. David Dury shows me all the postcards from Ireland. I promise Mr Russell to train the soloists which should be fun. He gives an excellent sermon today.

In the afternoon we have another rehearsal which goes well. Play is shaping up very well indeed. Later I have to phone Anne. She has not phoned Arnold Fulton yet. “I just haven’t had a minute with the two programmes. Would you do it?” She is so insincerely charming that I can’t really refuse. I say I’ll phone tomorrow afternoon. I’ll phone her about it on Tuesday.

Webster is a bit better and had an x-ray for gallstones today and is to have a stomach x-ray on Wednesday. She doesn’t sound terribly upset about him either – she is in one of her more callous moods tonight!

30 July – Work hard and intermittently spend time phoning Arnold Fulton but he’s not there.

Go to SABC tonight. Ruth arrives and is quite unchanged despite the £40,000. They are going to buy a Rover and her parents are going to Scotland and then around the world in September. They’re going to have another two servants and each of the girls has £100 to spend on clothes. She says she doesn’t intend to swank about it or get big-headed but she’s quite thrilled at the minute.

She says that Anne is acting very strangely and she is disgusted that Anne is charging us a fee for accompaniment. We enlarge on this. Ruth is rather sweet and says, “Money is no object to me now but I still think it’s a bit much.”

She says they sent Webster a whole lot of books to read in hospital. I’d like to be able to do that too, but alas – impecunious me!

We sing Messiah and Gill is rather acid about Tufty’s successful audition with Bruce Anderson. “They have to take people whether they can sing or not!” Poor Tufty.

At interval, Ruth and I disappear and she tells me about her holiday, Alan and Anne and Webster. She doesn’t seem so gone on them any more. She goes and asks Johan for her wages and says, “The more I get, the more I want! Life’s too short not to be happy!” Some philosophy this!

We do the Ninth and then Johan tells us that next week, as the orchestra is going on tour, we shall probably have Edgar Cree to take us. Come home with Iris and feel quite elated.

31 July – I get through to Arnold Fulton today and discover that he is as Scottish as the day he was born. He says he sent the forms to them so they must have gone astray. He tells me to fill in a form with all the particulars and send them to him.

I phone Anne and tell her this news. She tends on the brittle side but it quite affable. Webster has no gallstones and just has to have his stomach x-rayed and he might be home on Thursday all going well. I say that it’s lovely about Ruth isn’t it? And she says, “It’s not true!” Presumably, this is an expression of pleasure.

Have lunch in Ansteys with Mum and post letter to Arnold Fulton. Leslie G is in the Midlands today.

Listen to Anne’s programme tonight and have to say that it is quite fabulous. The reason is that she plays their own records and talks about Webster a lot. She plays Wunderbar, Only a Rose and Love Me Tonight. She says, “You’ll have to excuse the surface of that record. It’s probably getting old, just as Webster and I are also!” There is a slight tremor in her voice at this – somehow, it touches my heart. Her programme is fabulous and if it goes on like that it will probably run for ages.

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES – JANUARY 1962

3 January – Work. I have a cold drink with Yvonne and Lezya after work. I go to music and talk to Gill V who is going on holiday soon. Music goes well. I am improving and have a lot of things to work on. I go to table tennis at night. Peter says nothing about singing lessons so I don’t say anything either.

4 January – Work and have lunch with Mum in Ansteys. I go up to the studio and Webster answers the door. Nellie, as usual, is singing. Webster comes into the kitchen and makes tea. He is sweating and complains bitterly about the heat. He makes tea very efficiently and gives me a cup and then returns to Nellie who continues singing oblivious of rather ghastly mistakes!

When she goes, Anne in a pretty flowery dress and with hair definitely grey, tells me to go in. She too complains about the heat and orders Webster to bring her another cup of tea.

She asks about the SABC choir and I say that we are still on holiday until the 22nd of the month. She says she expects we’ll sing in the last symphony concert. She tells me that Anton Hartman has a wife called Jossie Boshoff who is a third rate coloratura and has been included in the season as the only vocal soloist. Webster says he can’t fathom the audacity of Hartman if she could sing, but when she can’t – well! He says that she’ll sing the bass arias herself if need be!

We do scales, starting from high note and coming down in order to settle the registers, I gather, although Anne feels that vocal registers are rude words. Anne says, “I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t think it true or if I didn’t mean it. You honestly have the makings of a magnificent voice if you work hard at it. It’s really beautiful!” I look cynical. She says, “Truly. If someone hasn’t a voice, I’ll teach them but I won’t tell them they have a voice if they haven’t. Your voice could really be exceptional when you’re a bit older.” I try to look modest but I feel gratified. We work very hard and long at the exercises.

Bill Perry arrives and we do My Mother Bids Me. Webster glowers at me the whole time so that I can’t smile. They moan about it and I say that I feel stupid when I smile. Anne gives her usual talk about it. “Singing is like selling stockings in John Orrs. You have to give it everything you’ve got. That’s what got Webster and me to where we are today. We would go on to the stage and even though we had squabbled off-stage we would make the audience believe we were madly in love. I would give him a lovey-dovey look and we would use our eyes and smile at one another. Isn’t that so, darling?”

Webster agrees. “Yes. Very true!”

I respond with a watery smile and agree to try.

7 January – Sunday school and Church.

Listen to Webster’s first programme of G and S. He introduces it with his recording of A Wand’ring Minstrel. He does Trial By Jury. I think he should talk more during the programme.

11 January – Have lunch with Mum in Anstey’s.

Go to studio. I listen to Nellie singing. Webster comes in and says, “God, let’s make a cup of tea! Is this weather hot enough for you, Jean?” He goos over Lemon and tells him, “Say hello to Jean.”

I hear Nellie say that she never goes to the theatre as her husband doesn’t approve of it.

Anne has her hair pinned up at the back – dead straight. It looks lovely. She tells me they went to see Beryl Reid’s show at the Playhouse and they thoroughly enjoyed it. They were very friendly with her in England and Anne thinks she’s got fatter and older-looking since they saw her last. When they were at a rehearsal at the BBC she was there wearing a hat with a cluster of feathers in it. She had complained in her broad B’ham accent, “I don’t know if it’s all this excitement but I ‘ave an awful headache.” A few weeks later she told them that it wasn’t the excitement giving her the headache, “It was that ‘at!”

We start on scales and Webster tells me that they sound much better. We have tea and Anne tells me that I have a most beautiful English complexion, “Hasn’t she, Boo?” I blush.

We continue with vocalisation studies which go particularly well. She corrects a few things and we go over them again to correct the mistakes but can see – as can they – a marked improvement.

Webster presents me with his record of Songs of England so that I can listen to Sweet Polly Oliver – A collection of English songs sung by Jennifer Vyvyan with Edward Lush at the piano. We listen to the record – Jennifer Vyvyan has a good voice and is extremely musical . Accept it with thanks. His signature is scrawled on the cover – L. Webster Booth. Anne says my Scots accent must not come out in my singing. I say I can’t hear this accent – even on tape. She says, “Oh, yes! It’s there!” Poor me.

She asks, “Have you seen your friend Peter since his lesson?”

I say, “Oh, yes. He enjoyed it. He’s decided he has a lot to learn.”
She has a good laugh. I manage to smile today but before I start singing Webster says to me, “I don’t want to be nasty, Jean, but remember to smile!”

I feel quite elated when I say goodbye.

14 January – Sunday school. Go to Betty’s afterwards and listen to Jennifer V. Her Bobby Shaftoe is fabulous. I love her “bookles”!

In the afternoon the Stablers from the flats on the corner, Robert’s Heights, visit. She is a doctor of psychology – a charming old lady. I listen to Leslie Green. Gary Allighan in the Sunday Times gives Webster a rave notice for his new programme.

Church at night. Listen to Webster’s G and S programme and his change in presentation makes the programme quite fabulous. He plays his own recording of The Lost Chord which is glorious – Herbert Dawson at the organ. He tells us that only two people were allowed to make G and S recordings without the personal supervision of D’Oyly Carte – Malcolm Sargent and himself!

He tells the story of HMS Pinafore and introduces the characters by imitating them. It is a really fabulous presentation and I enjoy every minute of it. I can congratulate him on Thursday now without any qualms about being insincere. Good old Webster – he’s done it again!

15 January – Go to work and faint when I’m there – am slapped and have water thrown over me and am then sent home! Mummy restores me to life! Rest for remainder of day and manage to practise at night. Strangely enough, all goes well!

16 January – Work. Lezya – who doesn’t look even vaguely ill – departs in the afternoon and I am left on my own to pass a million entries. Steadily decline but manage to get through it all.

Practise at night and we are invited to the Scotts on Saturday night. The choir starts on Monday. Have received no intimation about it so may phone Ruth Ormond.

17 January – Go to Mrs S in the afternoon and see Stan, her brother-in-law. Receive intimation from Johan v d M concerning choir on Monday night.

18 January – Work. Have a gorgeous lunch with Mum upstairs in Ansteys.

Toddle up to Webster’s at night. He is most affable and tells me to help myself to a cup of tea. I do this and make much noise with cups. Nellie (whose diction and voice are not at their best this evening) holds forth. Anne is silent but Webster is more eloquent. Nellie asks for a drink of water and he comes to get one for her and tells me, “It’s too hot to think, far less sing.” Nellie goes and tells Anne that she hopes she’ll be better next week. I wonder what is wrong and go in at Webster’s bidding. When I go in I get the fright of my life – Anne is pale with a huge swelling at one ankle and is hobbling. I voice my horror and she tells me that she has an allergy to mosquito bites and the swelling is the result of one. When she was in the south of France she was always hobbling around or had her arm in a sling because of mosquito bites. She hobbles over to the piano and tells Webster that she’d like a cup of tea and a biscuit because she feels hungry.

We start on scales which go reasonably well. She says I must retain my mezzo quality up and keep the soprano quality for the very top.

I thank Webster for his record and tell him I enjoyed his programme tremendously on Sunday night. He says, “Did you really? I couldn’t hear it very well because we were out in the country in the car. Do you think it’s the right formula?”

I say how I loved his characterisation of the parts – he seems pleased.

Anne says that I might (if I want to) audition for a part in the chorus of the two operas taking place soon with Mimi Coertse in them. Speak to JvdM. She says the SABC choir will probably be asked to sing in them anyway.

We do Sweet Polly Oliver and work like hell on it. Anne says that my consonants are lazy so we go through the thing again. I am accused of Scottish accent. She feels my breathing although she can hardly get up.

We do My Mother. Webster sings one part to me as it should be sung. It is as though I have never heard or seen him sing in my life – as I expect he sings on stage – quite a different man with a smile and a light in his eyes as though he’s singing for the joy and love of it. Losing his voice? Not Webster!

When talking about the opera Webster says, “Tell them you won’t sing for any less than £50 a week! Have a good laugh.

When I leave I tell Anne that I hope she will be better very soon indeed. She is so sweet and puts such a good face on it. She even tells me, “I’m glad I come from the North Country – all the people drop their jaws and yap all day there!” (in appropriate accents!)

With her hair back, her face pale and her ankle sore, she looked her age today, but there is still something about her that makes her remarkable. She is an angel at heart and I adore her!

19 January – After work I sing for at least two and a half hours in the evening. Confirmation from father that My Mother Bids Me has vastly improved.

20 January – Work in morning and meet parents in the Century restaurant and have lunch, then see Bachelor Flat with Terry Thomas – a poor film. We get a lift home from Mr Russell.

At night we visit the Scotts. Linda is going to high school shortly. Mr S says, “Tell Webster to play Iolanthe and the Mikado – the real Gilbert and Sullivan.”

21 January – (Webster’s sixtieth birthday). Webster at night is terrific.

22 January – Work. I go to SABC at night. We are doing a Cantata and Passion (Bach) for Good Friday (in Afrikaans). We will be singing in Norma with Mimi Coertse and also Tales of Hoffman, Hansel and Gretel and in the Symphony of Psalms when Stravinsky comes out.

Speak to Ruth O at break. She lives in Parkwood and goes to Parktown Girls’ High (in Form 4 this year) and Webster and Anne are on visiting terms with her parents. She calls them Anne and Webster. She tells me that Anne came to her house this afternoon with music for her exam – she’s doing the same one as me – and Anne showed her all my songs and exercises.

We say that neither of us can smile; we both hate looking in the mirror at the studio for next to Anne we look like hags; we are both nervous and it seems we both think alike generally. She tells me that Webster has a red face because of sunburn! She knows Mrs S for she teaches at her school. She says, “Girls are frighted of her, but I’m not!” We both blush when nervous and we’re nervous when we sing alone. It was a lovely conversation.

25 January – Have lunch with Mum in Ansteys.

Go to studio. Webster answers and he is not looking very well. I help myself to tea and wash and dry cup too. Nellie is singing for all her worth.

Go in and Anne tells me (on enquiry) that she had to stay in bed last Friday and have a cortisone injection but she’s all right now.

She tells me that a girl, Colleen McMenamin has been accepted into the SABC choir and is supposed to be going tonight. She’s a mezzo and comes from Germiston. I say I’ll look out for her on Monday. We’ll have quite a gang soon!

At Webster’s suggestion we start on vocalisation studies. Have to battle like mad over them. He spares me nothing although I’m dead beat. After many contortions by Webster and myself they improve.

We do My Mother and she says that my consonants are positively sluggish. No wonder – so am I! We try it to “ca” at Webster’s provocation. This is a great success and for once, he is pleased. When we do it again my diction has improved.

Webster gets terrible pain around his chest “like a band of hot steel pressing on me.” She looks startled and he says, “It’s probably the cheese sandwich I had at lunchtime.” He takes pills and I depart.

He is rehearsing for a new play, The Andersonville Trial.

26 January – At lunchtime I meet Liz Moir with her mother. She is most affable. I meet Mum in John Orrs and we look at sales. Do large and very profitable singing practice at night.

27 January – Work hard and buy some clothes afterwards. I pass the studio and their car is parked in Pritchard Street. When I come out of John Orrs I see Webster looking very hot in shirt getting into it.

28 January – Sunday school and work. Webster’s programme is lovely.

29 January – Work. Go to SABC at night and have a wonderful time. Gill is back. I talk to Ruth and she asks if I saw picture of Webster and Anne in the Star. She saw the Amorous Prawn twice. I don’t come across Colleen M. I think she is married. I see the photo of Webster and Anne at the home of Aussie Commissioner in Lower Houghton when I get home.

Anne and Webster 1962

30 January – Work hard. At night Peter C arrives unannounced and we sing. He had Anne all to himself on Saturday. Webster was probably rehearsing. His voice has definitely improved.

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES – NOVEMBER 1961

The first few pages of November were illegible so they were scanned and enhanced.

to stay in the hotel suite to write a letter home while Webster went to some farm. When she went to the bathroom the bath was full of ants! They talk of their house – a very old house with a garden of half an acre. They say

that when they moved in the back garden was in a terrible state – the previous owners had left a huge pile of rubbish with little bottles of injector stuff for diabetes. She says she’s so disgusted to find these little bottles in the garden still. The soil is awful and nothing will grow in the garden because there’s too much lime in it.

She runs down Nellie and says that although she has a wonderful voice she spreads her vowels, is Afrikaans and is a bit too old to learn! She looks up after she says this and gives a guilty little giggle!

They introduce me to Bill Perry (following pupil)and I depart, telling Anne that I’m sorry to have wasted her time. She says she’s sorry for my sake.

I go to choir at night but don’t – and can’t – sing.

Webster’s programme is as gorgeous as usual. He starts by playing Lacrimoso by Mozart conducted by Bruno Walter. Then he plays Speak For Me to My Lady sung by himself – glorious with Malcolm Sargent conducting the Liverpool Philharmonic from Don Giovanni. He plays a record by Lili Pons, “whom Anne and I met when she came over to England together with her husband André Kostelanis, the conductor. We found them both charming and a pleasure to work with.”

He plays one of his favourite songs, Where Haven Lies, conducted by Mark Lubbock. It is one of Anne’s favourites also.

8 November – Work – short day. In the afternoon I see Dell looking more spoilt and petulant than ever. Piano with Mrs S goes well and I manage to sing a little at night

9 November –Work. Go to singing in evening. Anne answers door – hair now silver-blonde!

I hear about the whole of Nellie’s lesson. When she goes, Anne says, “Don’t you think, Jean, that she has improved a bit since last week?” I agree that she has. Anne says that it’s difficult to get Afrikaners to sing “h” properly so they have to get them to sing a guttural “gh” before the “h”.

She makes me a cup of tea and offers me sugar. I say that I’m really getting too fat and she says I’m fine for my height. She’s surprised that I’m 5’8” and says she’s 5’5” but I’m sure she’s taller than that. She says that when you come to her age it’s a battle to keep your figure. Her father, who died at 90, kept his and could move with as much agility as she could herself. She’s sure age is hereditary.

I manage to sing and surprisingly sing better than I have done or ages. She is pleased. Webster comes in in the middle of this (from the dentist) and greets me charmingly. He looks very debonair in a blazer. Anne says, “How did you get on, darling?” and he says (through his teeth) “Ooh, it was a bit grotty.” He goes out again to bring her car round into Pritchard Street and we do Oh, Rest in the Lord. I manage to bring it more forward and she is pleased. I ask if I can do one of the Trinity College exams next year and she says it would be a good idea. I must get the syllabus. She talks about the old examiner, Mr Guy McGrath He played in an orchestra in which they sang during the war and when she saw him she asked him to dinner and then to Webster’s show. He’s 74.

We finish Rest in the Lord and Webster comes in and is pleased with it. He asks how Nellie got on. Anne says, “Oh, she’s very despondent about her voice. She doesn’t think she’ll ever make a singer, but Jean and I have both decided that her singing is better today so, at least, it isn’t my imagination.” She says it so flippantly and cattily but one still can’t help adoring her!

Webster is going to Durban next week and is leaving on Sunday by car. Anne is flying down in two weeks time to collect the car before he goes to Port Elizabeth to sing Messiah and Dream of Gerontius.

I wish Webster a happy time in Durban and tell Anne that I’ll get the syllabus for the exams. She says, “Do that, and if the old boy comes out next year half the battle will be won!”

Webster’s programme is lovely as usual. I’ve lost my list of records but he plays a wonderful record of himself singing an armistice song – There is no Death. At the end of the programme he plays two duets – Swing High, Swing Low and Trot Here and There.

10 – 15 November Don’t have time to record anything.

16 November – Work like mad but manage to get up to my lesson with Anne. Nellie is there as usual and her singing has improved a bit. At the end of her lesson, she shows Anne a tray-cloth which her sister had embroidered. Anne says that it is gorgeous and then Nellie says, “Anne, I should like you to have it. You and Webster have done so much for me in my singing. You’ve changed my life.” Anne is absolutely stunned and says, “No!” violently, probably because of the shock of Nellie’s words. Nellie presses her to take it and Anne says in a broken voice, “Bless you, Nellie!” The atmosphere is electric and I feel sure that they are both going to start crying. Somehow, I think that the teacloth will mean far more to Anne than all the orchids she has ever received.

Anne comes in and says, “Come in, sweetie Please excuse me a second. I simply must go and spend a penny. I’ve been in this studio since two o’clock and haven’t been out once!” She makes a dash for it.

I sit in the studio and savour the lovely wonderful atmosphere. Shall I ever forget as long as I live the photo of Webster and Anne standing looking fresh and bright-eyed and Anne holding a big bouquet? As long as I have memory, I’ll remember it.

Anne comes back and pores over Trinity College exams and decides on Grade 5. When she comes back from Durban she’ll go into Kelly’s and look at the music.

We start on scales and I get very high and very low and she is pleased. However, I am tired so I tend to drag Rest in the Lord but it isn’t too bad. She makes me a cup of tea for which I am thankful. She asks if I heard the symphony concert on Tuesday. She heard half of it and then fell asleep. She thought the singing of the SABC choir was very good. Suddenly she asks if I wouldn’t like to join it. I say that I’m not nearly good enough, and she says, nonsense. I must write to the choirmaster, Johan van der Merwe (good Scots name, says she!) and say that I’m a pupil of theirs and they think it would be a good idea for me to join.

She says that another pupil of theirs who is 16, Ruth Ormond, joined without any trouble at the audition. So drop a line to him. Whew! I’d like to but… I end up telling her of the awful efforts of our church choir.

Bill Perry arrives and I finish with The Lass with the Delicate Air which isn’t too bad. I say I’ll write to Mr vdM and I hope she’ll have a good time in Durban.

Am now listening to Webster on the radio. He starts off with some Christmas carols by the Norman Lubboff choir and his own record Sanctuary of the Heart with St Stephen’s choir, London, by Albert Ketelby whom he doesn’t think at all common or vulgar as so many others think.

His opera for the week is Gianni Schichi, recently produced successfully in South Africa by “my friend and colleague, Bruce Anderson.” The best is O, My Beloved Father sung by Victoria de los Angeles.

Then he plays a Noel Coward medley with Joyce Grenfell, Graham Payn and Anne. The cast was especially chosen by Noel Coward.

17 November – Go to rink with guild and have a gay time. Meet Menina, Pat, Gwyn and Jean Johnson. Menina has really improved. Robert, Peter and Rita come home and we have tea together.

22 November – Work hard then go to piano. Before this, I meet Cressola Raftopolous working in John Orrs for the holidays. Mrs S is affable. But how will I live through tomorrow without you-know-who?

Go to table tennis at night. Talk to Peter C who is definitely going to learn singing with the Booths in January.

23 November – Get a letter from Johan vd Merwe to go for an audition. Phone him and he is affable and says I must phone him tomorrow to arrange a time for my audition. My teeth chatter!

Am now going to forget all about it and listen to Webster. He starts off with In Verdure Clad sung by Isobel Baillie from Creation. Next he plays a semi-sacred song by Michael North, Such Lovely Things. He goes on to play the test song from The Master-Singers conducted by Sir M. He says, “I always felt my voice was too light to sing Wagner but Sir M insisted.” Next week he is playing Elijah as promised. Only I know that he will play Rest in the Lord sung by Norma Procter!

24 November – Work hard and practise at night because I’m having an audition at the SABC tomorrow at 10am. Groo! I’m scared!

25 November – Wow! What a day.

Toddle off very nervously in the morning armed with music case for the audition with Johan van der Merwe, the conductor of the SABC choir. Another girl with a music case is anxiously awaiting an audition as well. Mr vd Merwe comes in – a small dark man with glasses, aged about 25. He comes back from his office and is very pleasant and takes me into a gorgeous recording studio with a huge grand piano and microphone. He asks who I learn with and how long I’ve been there and how often I go for lessons.

He accompanies me in Drink to Me Only beautifully. I feel nervous to start but get better as I proceed. He says I have a lovely voice but it needs developing. He makes me sing two verses of Heidenroslein and corrects some faulty pronunciation. Sight-reading is quite difficult but I manage it. He agrees to take me on and tells me that I can come to the rehearsal on Monday night. I nearly die on the spot. I am thrilled to bits. My voice must have something.

Have lunch with Dad and then go to hear Capedium choir sing Creation in Great Hall at Wits. Excellent. I intend to work my fingers to the bone for music!

26 November – Sunday school and Church. Betty agrees that to be chosen for SABC is marvellous. Sing in choir at night.

27 November – Work like ‘ell and don’t get home till 6. Go to SABC for first rehearsal. I feel a bit nervous as there is no sign of Mr vdM in huge studio. Sign on and talk to fellow alto. Mr vdM arrives and gives me some music. I see Gill Viljoen – Mrs S’s pupil – and feel happier. Rehearsal is really marvellous. Johan certainly knows how to train a choir. I see only two intense-looking girls who could be Ruth Ormond. I feel exalted with rehearsal.

29 November – Work hard. In the afternoon it’s my half day but there is no lesson with Sylvia Sullivan because it’s the fifth Wednesday of the month and she doesn’t teach on that day.

Gill is at choir tonight and we go and do ourselves up before we go into the studio. Johan tells us he’s been conducting for six hours and is tired.

There aren’t so many there tonight. Gill tells me she teaches music and singing at Waverley High School for Girls and was dead scared about the audition. We practise and Johan is a wonderful conductor and gets everything out of us. At interval I discover that we wear full-length white dresses for concert performances and next Wednesday is practice with piano, Thursday rehearsal with orchestra and Friday recording for Christmas programme. I’m thrilled!

We talk to Johan afterwards and he says friends can sit in the control room to watch recordings. Tomorrow I’ll see Anne again.

30 November – Not too busy today. Go up to the studio. Anne is wearing a turquoise skirt and blouse. Nellie’s singing is really grim today and Anne pulls a wry face when she leaves.

Anne tells me that she feels revolting. She drove two of the cast of The Amorous Prawn back from Durban and had a dreadful time – Arthur Hall (who took over Simon Swindell’s part) was developing a ‘flu virus and felt awful, and Gabriel Bayman, who is an alcoholic, wanted to keep stopping for drinks! The car’s electrical system was giving way and she thought they’d all have to spend the night in Standerton. However, she managed to get the two horrors back in one piece.

She has managed to get all the music for the Intermediate exam for me. She spoke to old Kelly himself and he thinks that this exam would suit me fine. She has bought My Mother Bids Me Bind My Hair (Haydn). We go through everything to find the most suitable and easiest songs in the albums. She gives me a lukewarm cup of tea and offers me a biscuit which I refuse. I tell her about the choir and she is pleased, saying that Johan is very gifted. After much debate, we decide what we are doing for the exam and I leave the studio at a quarter to six. I ask Anne what Ruth Ormond looks like and she says she’s small with a round face, dark untidy hair and brilliant blue eyes. She’s a hard worker and she is very fond of her. I must look out for her.

We talk at the door for ages about the choir recordings and heaven knows what else. I feel quite elated. When she sings today she doesn’t sound as good as usual and her voice is a little trembly.

At night listen to Webster and he plays “my” Rest in the Lord by Norma Procter – beautiful and glorious. He plays his own recording of If You Had But Known, and things from Don Giovanni and Peter Pan. Lovely programme as always.