BOOTHS IN SOUTH AFRICA (1962 – 1963)

I have told about this wonderful period of my life in my book, Sweethearts of Song. Indeed, the whole pattern of my life changed from that time on. Webster has been dead for many years now but he will always remain one of the strongest influences of my life and I will always remember him with love.

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Anne and Webster 29 January 1962 in Lower Houghton.
Gilbert and Sullivan programme 7 January 1962 SABC Bulletin
The Andersonville Trial February 1962.
February 1962. The Andersonville Trial. Webster played a very small part indeed!
9 March 1962
Hymn competition winners. March 1962
17 March 1962 Drawing Room on the English Service of the SABC.

17 March 1962 Drawing Room on the English Service of the SABC. Article by Webster in the SABC Bulletin.

17 March 1962 Drawing Room on the English Service of the SABC.
Gary Allighan, March 1962
Showing some antiques to the press. 1962.
Anne choosing wallpaper – 1962.
April 1962 Olivet to Calvary, St George’s Presbyterian Church, Noord Street.
4 May 1962 The Vagabond King
June 1962. Music for Romance.
Arriving in Bulawayo, July 1962. He was ill.
July 1962 Bulawayo Eisteddfod
21 July 1962 Bulawayo
July 1962 Bulawayo

July 1962 – Leslie Green broadcasts from the UK.

Leslie Green was in the UK on holiday and Anne and I listened to Tea with Mr Green (broadcast from the UK) when she was in the studio on her own and Webster was very ill. By this time Paddy O’Byrne was reading Webster’s scripts on the Gilbert and Sullivan programme as he was too ill and weak to record the programmes. He visited Anne’s great friend, Babs Wilson Hill and did a broadcast from her home. He said she had the most beautiful garden in England.

Webster was very ill indeed when he returned from Rhodesia and had to spend some time in the Fever Hospital in Johannesburg.

Fever Hospital.

August 1962 – Music for Romance. Anne presented a series of programmes of recordings and reminisces about her life and career in England. It received adverse criticism from various radio critics and only ran until December.

August 1962 – Anne Ziegler
28 August 1962 Round the Christian Year, St Mark’s, Yeoville.
28 August 1962 St Mark’s Yeoville, Round the Christian Year.
At the wedding of Margaret Inglis and Robert Langford in the garden of Petrina Fry (pictured) and her husband, Brian Brooke. October 1962

October 1962 –The Pirates of Penzance. Bloemfontein. Webster directed this production. As a gimmick, he had a chimpanzee to accompany the pirates on stage, but the chimpanzee was not without problems. She disgraced herself during Webster’s opening night speech. He quipped, “You naughty girl. I won’t take you out in a hurry again.”

August 1962 – Webster Booth
Lord Oom Piet. Guest artists, eventually furious to have their singing disrupted by the antics of Jamie Uys. I always thought that was a terrible film and couldn’t understand why Anne and Webster had any part of it.
November 1962 Lord Oom Piet.
November 1962. Elijah.

November 1962 – Port Elizabeth Oratorio Festival. Elijah and Messiah, Webster, Monica Hunter, Joyce Scotcher, and Graham Burns, conducted by Robert Selley. The complete oratorios were broadcast locally in the Eastern Cape as usual. Later, excerpts were broadcast nationally but, for some unexplained reason, none of Webster’s solos were used in the national broadcast. Two older members of the SABC choir (Gill and Iris) took delight in cattily telling Ruth and me that it was because Webster’s singing was not up to standard and that was why he was not included in the broadcast. That was the last year that Webster sang at the PE Oratorio Festival.

1963

Great Voices – January 1963.
15 January 1963 At Alexander Theatre, Braamfontein
Mr and Mrs Fordyce and their stage family 15 January 1963.
Mrs Puffin (Jane Fenn) and Mr Fordyce (Webster) January 1963
Anne holds a tea party in Goodnight Mrs Puffin.
Photo in the programme of Goodnight Mrs Puffin.
Lewis Sowden crit.
Oliver Walker crit.
Dora Sowden’s crit?
7 January 1963 Great Voices

Accompanying for Webster. Shortly after Goodnight Mrs Puffin ended its run at the Alexander Theatre my father heard a recording I had made of myself singing Father of Heav’n from Judas Maccabeus on my recently-acquired reel-to-reel tape recorder. He passed several disparaging remarks about the quality of my singing and I was feeling extremely despondent when I went for my lesson. Anne and Webster were kind and sympathetic when I told them what he had said.

“My family never praised me for my singing either,” Webster growled. “If it had been up to them I would never have become a singer. Bring the recording along next time and let’s see what it’s like.”

They listened in silence the following week – perhaps my father had been right and it was awful – but afterwards, Anne asked rather sharply as to who my accompanist had been. They were surprised when I admitted to accompanying myself.

Nothing more was said. In the fullness of time, I recovered from the hurt my father’s criticism had caused me and I plodded on regardless. A few weeks later Anne phoned my mother to ask whether I’d like to play for Webster in the studio for a few weeks in April as she was going on a tour round the country with Leslie Green, the broadcaster of Tea With Mr Green fame on Springbok Radio, a great friend of theirs.

I have told about this wonderful period of my life in my book, Sweethearts of Song. Indeed, the whole pattern of my life changed from that time on. Webster has been dead for many years now but he will always remain one of the strongest influences of my life and I will always remember him with love.

Accompanying for Webster (April 1963)
Anne sent me a postcard when I was playing for Webster and she was away on holiday with Leslie Green.
Anne advertising a facial cream for “mature” women! I’m sure most mature women would have been delighted to look as perfect as Anne did at the age of 53!
Colonel Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard. 6 June 1963.
The Yeomen of the Guard.
6 June 1963 various cuttings including crits for The Yeomen of the Guard at the Alexander.
Kimberley Jim. Webster plays a bit part – the Inn Keeper – in that silly film. 1963,
9 August 1963 for the opening night of The Sound of Music.
September 1963 Jon Sylvester, radio critic The Star
A nasty comment – probably from “Jon Sylvester” (the pseudonym for the Star’s radio critic, about Webster’s programme.
I was Pooh Bah in this instance. I met Webster in the street one day and he asked me if I had written this note to beastly “Jon Sylvester”. I asked him how he knew that, and he said I was the only person in Johannesburg who could have done so!
They presented a children’s programme on the SABC, produced by Kathleen Davydd. At the same time they made an LP called The Nursery School Sing-along with the children from Nazareth House, conducted by my piano teacher, Sylvia Sullivan, and Heinz Alexander accompanying them.
21 September 1963 at Pietermaritzburg City Hall.
Michaelhouse, Balgowan.
Pietermaritzburg City Hall.
October 1963 – Ballads Old and New.
November 1963. Fauré Requiem.
Saturday Night at the Palace on the radio in November 1963, Anne, Webster, Jeanette James and Bruce Anderson.

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES – NOVEMBER 1962

I go to singing in the afternoon. When I go up Anne answers and invites me in to listen to a friend of theirs on the radio – Geoffrey Parsons who used to be their accompanist and is now out here accompanying Erik Friedman, the violinist. Leslie Green has him to tea this afternoon. When I go in Webster is quite immersed in the broadcast but eventually sees me and says hello. The interference on the radio is rather bad and I hardly hear the chap at all – the only thing I gather is that he is an Australian and would like to go back. Webster keeps shouting to Geoffrey, “Speak up, Geoff!” When Leslie’s interview finishes they tell me that originally he had asked Webster to tea, but this was the only time Geoffrey could go. Anne shows me a picture of them with Geoffrey.

1 November – Work hard and swot in reference library where all the poor tired students sit staring blankly at their notes. One chap actually falls asleep and wakes up looking dazed.

At night I go to SABC. Ruth doesn’t come. Johan takes us and Gill runs him down to me. I fear our Messiah will provoke some rotten eggs from the audience unless it improves greatly.

At interval I chat to Iris, Gill, Hester and a middle-aged gent with a leer. Hester tells me she’s in Form 1V at Roodepoort Afrikaans High School and would like to make singing her career. She is rather a nice girl and not ‘loud’ as Ruth described her last night.

2 November – Go to the dentist and miraculously get away with only two fillings but am told to call again in February for a check-up. Buy a lovely dress for tonight, have lunch with mum and have my hair set.

At night I go with Margaret and her mother to the concert. Margaret tends to be rather an erratic driver and Mrs M is most nervous. At Crown Mines hall I enquire about the choir competition in which Ruth conducted and Miss Cameron was the judge. Girls consider it a matter of great hilarity that Ruth’s choir came last and that she conducted in an odd fashion. They tell me that she beat time in wide, uneven strokes and nearly fell off the stage. I laugh at Suzanne’s and others’ description of the event but I still feel so sorry for Ruth. She has a great opinion of herself so perhaps it’s a good thing for her to be cut down to size occasionally.

Concert goes very well indeed and our singing is good. Ellen, my redhead ex SABC friend does a monologue and recitation. A pupil of Walter Mony’s plays one of the pieces WM played in Drawing Room, and at once I am back in Studio G30 reliving those glorious Drawing Room days once more. What fun they were.

Mrs S is in a very jovial mood. Margaret gives me a lift home.

3 November – Go to SS studios. Mrs S says she’d like to see me on the South African Society of Music Teachers’ panel of performers! Have coffee and do ear tests and sing in the SS ensemble.

In the afternoon I go to a cocktail party with Mum and the Lisofskys – a farewell party for Mr Thomas of Shimwells at the house of Mr Immink in Montreux. It is a very nice house with a swimming pool. However my thoughts are with Pirates of Penzance in Bloemfontein. It’s the first night tonight. I shall probably see Webster on Monday after a long absence of three weeks.

4 November – Play in morning and afternoon at the Sunday School anniversary – I play well and the children sing far better than I expected.

Ruth phones at night – still with the crack-pot idea of auditioning tomorrow. She wants to have an extra lesson tomorrow but 3 is too early, so would I mind changing from 3.30 to 3. I don’t mind, so I agree. She says Anne refused to phone me because she thought I’d be cross if she changed my lesson again! I tell Ruth I’m not going to audition but she is persistent and determined. I still refuse. Says that Anne sends her love to me but she didn’t talk very long and didn’t say much about Webster’s play.

I hear glorious recording of Webster singing The Bells of St Mary’s and manage to record most of it.

5 November – Their twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. In the afternoon I go to singing. Anne and I have a long discussion about opera. I half-promise to audition. Webster arrives, wearing an old tattered raincoat and I am delighted to see him once more. He carries on as though my feelings are reciprocated. He doesn’t know what we’re talking about but tells me that whatever I’m going to do will be a cake-walk. I wonder.

I ask about Bloemfontein and The Pirates and he tells me a funny story. He decided to have a gimmick so they borrowed a chimp from the local zoo to come on stage with the pirates. Everyone was delighted with the chimp and she nearly stopped the show. When he was holding her and making a speech after the show she disgraced herself, so he said, “You naughty girl! I’ll never take you out again!” I have a good laugh.

I sing extremely well and tell them my master-plan for ATCL in August. He says that he is quite certain I can do it and I needn’t worry. Anne says she’ll look up an extra time for me and let me know about it tomorrow. She says she wishes all her pupils worked as hard as I did and mastered things as easily. Lucille has 4 lessons a week and is studying full time, trying to do the exam Ruth and I did, and she still can’t master the pieces for it.

Webster says I mustn’t drag too much in Zion. I feel quite nervous today. Webster comes down in the lift with me to see about his parking meter which is out of order and we talk in a friendly fashion. He comes out into Pritchard Street and stands with me for a few moments. He really looks well and more like his old self.

Go to SABC at night and Ruth comes ready for the audition. When she sees the large crowd she changes her mind. We fill in forms but I don’t hand mine in either. She told Webster she thought he was looking very handsome and evidently Anne’s face was a picture.

6 November – It rains again but I manage into town through it all. I go to singing and Webster answers the door still looking extremely healthy. He says, “Oh, hello dear,” in extremely friendly accents.

A little girl of about 12 is singing The Honeysuckle and the Bee in a rather sweet little voice. Anne seems rather lost teaching her, but he is sweet and understanding towards her.

When I go in, Webster calls me over to the window and points at the crowns on top of His Majesty’s which are lit up, and asks me, “Doesn’t that sight gladden your Scottish heart?” We both agree that it is lovely to see the good old crowns up on the theatre again. He asks if I’d like some tea and furnishes me with a rather lukewarm cup.

Anne says that if I come at 10 on Saturday during this month, she’ll arrange for me to come on Friday next month after The Merry Widow in Springs.

I tell them about the audition and how we didn’t take it in the end and how the people had to wait for ages. They sent one of their pupils to the audition. She has a great voice but sings everything quite seriously with burlesque actions like Anna Russel. As if this is not sufficient explanation, Webster insists on giving me a demonstration which makes me laugh.

We start on Zion and Anne makes him sing it along with me. He stands next to me so that he can see my manuscript and tells me that it’s an excellent copy. We sing it together and I try to breathe in exactly the same places that he does. He sings most beautifully but drowns my voice without any effort. I don’t mind being drowned out by such a lovely and great voice as his.

He says that with persistent effort I shall easily master it. I also sing Ein Schwan. When I leave Webster says, “Aren’t you coming next Saturday?” and looks quite disappointed because I’m not.

I listen to Anne on the radio. She plays her test record from Merrie England and tells us about their trip to Calgary for Merrie England, and then plays his recording of Where Haven Lies from A Princess of Kensington, and says, “My favourite tenor!” afterwards, and their two duets from King’s Rhapsody.

7 November – Go to SS studio and talk to Gill. We do some theory and then I have a nice lesson with Mrs S who wishes me luck for Saturday.

8 November – Work hard and then have lunch in Ansteys with mum. Jossie Boshoff, of all people, is having her lunch there also. I go to lunch hour concert where I see Dora Sowden looking her usual gypsy-like self. Soloist on piano, Yonti Solomon is excellent, and conductor, Edgar Cree, good as usual.

Go to SABC at night. We work with Pieter de V and he wades into I. Silansky, who is furious about it.

At interval Ruth buys me a cold drink and tells me that she is beginning to get bored with singing and wonders if a change of teacher would do her any good. Then she says she knows she couldn’t possibly leave them because they would be hurt. She’s so very fond of Webster, and when he dies she’ll miss him more than she would miss Anne!

I don’t get round to telling her about ATCL but I really must on Monday for she’s going to have a lesson at 10.30 on Saturday after me, so she shall have to know.

Gill gives me my share of the fee from the Indian Eisteddfod.

9 November – Listen to Webster when I get up. He continues Pirates and he is very much in possession of his senses and is very good.

Go to guild at night and Mr R tells me he’d like to come and hear us singing the Ninth symphony. This is flattering but perhaps he’d like a comp for the show.

10 November – Go and write theory exam at Selbourne hall. I meet Svea and we go in together. Arnold F is there in all his glory and calls everyone darling and drags them to their places. Exam isn’t bad, but I think I made two mistakes. I see Bridget Anderson (Bruce Anderson’s daughter) from the SS ensemble and tall chap who sings in church choir.

Go to Mrs S’s afterwards and talk to Mrs du P. Belinda Bozzoli talks about Ruth and says she has quite a sweet voice. Belinda is applying for an American Field Scholarship. She had an American girl on AFS living with her family while she was over here.

In the SABC bulletin there is an article about Webster and his G and S programme. We have lunch and see The Lion which is very good.

Cecil Williams has been placed under house arrest. He lives all by himself in a flat in Anstey’s building.

11 November – Go to Sunday School which goes fairly well and then go with Doreen and Betty to Memorial service at Boys’ school. The boys’ band plays a lament and Mr R gives the address.

12 November – Go to SABC at night and meet Gill in animated conversation with Gerrit Bonn. She saw My Fair Lady and enjoyed it. I go to the café with her so that she can have a meal.

We work hard. Gideon Fagan, who is to conduct us, comes to listen to the Ninth Symphony and poor Johan gets very flustered.

At interval Ruth, Hester and I go for a walk and Ruth (when we pass the Drawing Room studio) takes it upon herself to relate the kissing episode we had with Webster there. Poor Hester thinks we are two naughty girls! Ruth has a speed domestic science test on Saturday morning so she’s going to singing next Tuesday instead. I tell her about my plans for the diploma and she says she’s sure I’ll get it.

In the second half we do Messiah with Johan. Ruth leaves her Latin book behind so Hester gives it to me so I will have to arrange to get it to her. I’m quite worried about the test she’s supposed to have using the book. Iris brings me home.

13 November – I phone Ruth about her Latin book but she says she’ll borrow a book from someone.

Geoffrey Parsons.

I go to singing in the afternoon. When I go up Anne answers and invites me in to listen to a friend of theirs on the radio – Geoffrey Parsons who used to be their accompanist and is now out here accompanying Erik Friedman, the violinist. Leslie Green has him to tea this afternoon. When I go in Webster is quite immersed in the broadcast but eventually sees me and says hello. The interference on the radio is rather bad and I hardly hear the chap at all – the only thing I gather is that he is an Australian and would like to go back. Webster keeps shouting to Geoffrey, “Speak up, Geoff!” When Leslie’s interview finishes they tell me that originally he had asked Webster to tea, but this was the only time Geoffrey could go. Anne shows me a picture of them with Geoffrey.

In the society page.

Webster says in teasing tones, “I suppose you want tea?” I say, “Yes please,” and he proceeds to make some. Anne has a look at my ATCL syllabus and says I must make use of my Scottish accent and sing a Scottish folk song. They pore over various books and Webster suggests a song – I don’t catch the title but he finds it most amusing and roars with cynical laughter.

I do my studies and they say that I must keep pace up in the first one, especially the demisemiquavers. He stands and counts while I sing and it goes better. He says they are most complicated.

Do Ein Schwan. He plonks himself down in a chair opposite and stares at me during the whole song and then has the cheek to say that I look a bit nervous. I tell him in dignified tones that it is the lack of accompaniment that makes me nervous.

We go through Zion and he sings along with me and then accuses me of singing a G natural where there should be a G sharp! We succeed in going through the lot without any further interruption. I say it sounds worse every time. He says I’m talking nonsense. I’m getting on with it very well. He says that everything in the Christmas Oratorio is difficult. He sang it two years ago in Kimberley and had to battle with it. He gives me a long list of the oratorios in which he has sung recently. He is going over Elijah for some reason. I say goodbye to him and he says in his ‘folksy’ voice, “Ta, ta!”

Talk to Anne at the door for a while about the Ninth Symphony and tell her about Gideon Fagan coming last night and Johan’s forced resignation. She is disgusted with this and says that she’d believe anything despicable happening in the SABC. We part on most friendly terms. Says that we must start on Zion on Saturday.

Listening to Erik Friedman at the moment and it’s nice to have a vague association with him.

14 November – Have lunch in Ansteys wit Mum and see Arnold Fulton having lunch there.

I go tothe SS studio. Gill says she’s heard our commercial recording and thinks it is quite awful. She played it to her classes as an example of bad singing! She says she’ll be glad when Johan goes. She doesn’t seem to have a good word about anyone!

We do some ear tests. I have nice lesson and Mrs S says that if I work there’s no reason why I shouldn’t do Advanced Senior in March. We start working on harmony and I shall probably do the next theory exam in June. She says I may be excused for a while on Saturday morning seeing I’m having singing lessons this month.

15 November – Go to lunch hour concert. Anton Hartman conducts Bob Borowsky and Ethné Seftel. Work in the afternoon and listen to Leslie G. I expect he’ll have Webster to tea next Tuesday. He has John Silver today.

Go to choir at night. Gill, Iris and Winkle? are there so I chat to Winkle and she tells me about her singing teacher. Johan works us hard and we don’t finish till after 10.

16 November – Listen to Webster who goes on with the Pirates. He sounds so benign and sweet – which he isn’t. He’s a big tease.

17 November – Go to a performance in the morning and play quite well. Have coffee and then go to singing.

Anne arrives, telling me that she is really exhausted producing Merry Widow in Springs. They work in Brakpan all day and then go to Spring for rehearsals and the cast turns up half an hour late. She says they’ll never go to Springs again to produce another show.

We start on scales and she’s pleased about the way I’ve managed to cover the break in my voice. I go from bottom G to top B without any effort. We do Zion and then Webster arrives. His face is bright red and he informs me he had a big night last night. I say I went out too so that’s why I’m so woolly today as well. Anne tells me that they went to two dos last night and didn’t get in till about 2.30 this morning.

He says, “I’m going to make a good hot cup of black coffee. Would you like one too?” I say I’m not quite as bad as all that but I’ll take a white cup. He asks Anne what she wants and she says, “Well, I don’t happen to be in a state where I require black coffee, thank you, darling.”

We go through Zion once again and if the last two movements are hurried up I can get through the run with enough breath.

We do exercises and I get into a bit of a fandango as to where I must breathe in one of them. Into the bargain, the keys in the piano stick and I can’t help laughing at that too!

He brings me a cup of scalding coffee and says, “I really need this or else I shan’t be able to get through today.” Anne says, “I must say, you look simply awful today. Perhaps it’s that yellow shirt you have on.”

“No, it’s the way I feel today after last night.”

“Well, the fact that you drank too much is nothing to be proud of!” says she.

I do Ein Schwan and it goes much better apart from the fact that I don’t cover the vowels sufficiently. In Zion he says I sound a bit hooty on the top notes and gives one of his amusing imitations. Do first study as well and it is not at all bad.

He continues to emote about late nights and alcohol and says that he can’t stand them any more.

He sees me to the door and says goodbye in most affable fashion. The funny thing about him is that he is at his nicest self when he has a hangover.

I go back to Mrs S and sing in the ensemble. I walk down the road with Margaret who tells me she’s not very fond of the Parktown girls. She thinks they are a bunch of little snobs.

Have lunch in Capinero and then we see Surprise Package with Noel Coward.

18 November – Dad has a dreadful pain in his leg today so we have a worrying time. I fetch prescription at chemist and there is an improvement.

19 November -Dad better today.

Go to SABC and we work hard with Johan and Peggy Haddon (who played in Drawing Room) accompanies us. Gideon Fagan proves more cheerful this week and seems quite pleased with us.

I tell Ruth that Leslie G might have Webster to tea tomorrow. It would be fun to listen to that with Anne. She has a laugh about the bad hangover.

20 November – Go to singing and Ruth answers the door telling me that they are listening to Webster on Tea with Mr Green and that Anne is feeling sick.

Gary Allighan writes about the forthcoming oratorio season

Webster talks to Leslie about Bloemfontein and the chimp, and says that the grenadilla vines in their garden are dripping with fruit at the moment, and how long he has been in South Africa.

Ruth goes after telling Anne that she’ll pay her for this month next month. Anne tells me she feels very sick and doesn’t know whether she has apricot sickness or gastric ‘flu. She has a running tummy and feels sick and miserable and can’t eat a thing. She should really be in bed but doesn’t like to leave him in the studio to cope with the piano playing as he isn’t very good at it.

We start on Zion and it goes fairly well but I feel miserable at inflicting my voice on her when she feels sick. He arrives, fresh from his Leslie Green interview and is pleased that we think it was nice. He asks in most concerned tones how she is feeling. She says she is feeling dreadful and will go to bed the minute she gets home. He asks if he should call the doctor. She says she’ll wait till tomorrow and see how she feels in the morning. He suggests a gin and tonic but she says she couldn’t look at one – he mustn’t talk nonsense.

We do the studies and I lose bottom C. He says, “What did you do with that one, dear? Swallow it?” They don’t go too badly but my feeling of concern persists.

I tell her before he arrives about Dad and his cramp on Sunday with neuritis. She says she’s troubled with a slipped disc and has dreadful pain with it and always has to soak in a hot bath for 20 minutes every morning to relieve the stiffness.

Afterwards I talk about Messiah. He says he is very friendly with Leo Quayle and he’s good. Webster is going to PE to sing in Messiah and Elijah soon and the excerpts are to be broadcast on the 16 December between 5.30 and 6.30 pm. We talk about Rudi Neitz and he says that although he’s got a great voice his range is limited and last year he sang Messiah up an octave on the low notes.

I say goodbye eventually and tell Anne that I really hope she will feel better soon. She is shivery and cold and in a very bad way. She has only had a cup of black coffee and two boiled eggs all day and her tummy feels swollen.

Anne’s programme is lovely She plays recordings from Waltz Time and Laughing Lady. The next programme is her last.

I saw a poster there advertising an Elijah in Britain – Gladys Ripley, Harold Williams and Webster.

21 November – Have lunch with Mum in Ansteys – this reminds me of Cecil Williams who has flown the country rather than endure house arrest. He’s going to the UK.

Go to SS studio. Gill is there, recovered from her misplaced vertebrae – it’s in its right place once again. She’s teaching Corrie and I look at a South African Stage Who’s Who? My two pals are featured most prominently in it with pictures – he’s wearing a white tie and evening suit. It says he was considered the greatest oratorio tenor of his generation, and talks about their appearances at the Palladium, the Royal Command performance of 1945 and their private visit to the Royal Lodge.

When Gill finishes teaching I mention all this to her and she laughs derisively, saying it’s all nonsense. She says, “He can’t sing any more.”

I inform her that he’s going to sing Messiah and Elijah in PE. She says, “Oh, no! He should give up singing and stick to teaching.” She does make me sick when she runs him down.

Have a good lesson and try to phone Anne to see how she is but no one answers. Either she is all right or else she is alone and sick.

22 November – Work hard and then go to lunch hour concert. Jill Tonkin (from Lace on Her Petticoat) is there. Anton Hartman conducts and Aubrey Rainier is the cello soloist. He plays beautifully.

Webster finishes Pirates and starts on HMS Pinafore. In this recording he is still under the influence of his hangover but he gets through without a mistake even though his speech is rather thick.

23 November – Go to SABC for an orchestral rehearsal. Gideon Fagan is a grand and sensitive conductor and everything goes really well.

At interval Ruth, Hester and I go to Campbells and have a cold drink. Ruth pays. Gé Korsten, who is singing solos in Messiah, is also there. He certainly is a good looking man.

Ruth says that Anne told her she was very bad at Latin and scripture at school and was so naughty that they asked her to leave. She learnt singing with John Tobin and used to blush throughout her lessons. Ruth says she thinks she was putting on a big act on Tuesday. I don’t really think so.

We go through the Ninth after interval. It really sounds grand. Gideon F is a real gentleman.

24 November – Get a lift to town from Mr McKenzie in his Jaguar. Go to singing in the morning. Anne arrives and is quite well again. I tell her about the Ninth and say that I thought Gé K strained his voice a lot. She says that he isn’t really a tenor – merely a high baritone – and it must take a lot out of him to do the high solo part in the Ninth.

I say that I think Graham B has a glorious voice. She tells me a story about him. At one time he was a hopeless alcoholic but through some religious organisation, he was helped back to sobriety. He was very thankful and consequently became very religious.

A few years ago he went with Webster to sing Messiah in PE and when they were all gathered in the dressing room, Graham remarked, “This is such a beautiful work – a glorification of God – I think it would be very fitting if we all said a prayer before we sing. Shall we all kneel down?”

The others, including Robert Selley, were horrified but they could do nothing else but kneel down while he prayed. The next night, the cynical performers decided not to go into the dressing room if Graham Burns was going to be there so they spent their time waiting to go on stage huddled in the cloakroom.

Robert Selley took about three years to ask Graham back. Anne thinks that Graham was stupid to force religion on to everyone. I laugh to please her, but it doesn’t seem so very silly. I admire him for giving up alcohol.

We do some scales and she gives me a new exercise – a chord and a third up to mee-ee-ray-ay-fa-a-a-a-a-. It is to cover the break. It is very good.

During the first study Webster comes in and he makes me do it again to correct the timing. I tend to drag it.

We do Zion. She says I must make the sound richer. I sing the legato exercise for him. He says I’m putting ‘hs’ in and I must get rid of them.

Ruth is waiting for her lesson when I go so we talk about the Ninth and he says, “Oh, were you working last night?”

I tell him that Gé K had a face like a beetroot and I thought he was going to burst a blood vessel. He tells me derisively that he’s not really a tenor anyway. “I used to be a very high tenor and I found that work difficult to sing – it’ll ruin him. Why, he finds it difficult to sing top G!”

I get my certificate for the singing exam today.

25 November – I hear Geoffrey Parsons accompanying Erick Friedman and he is excellent.

26 November – Don’t feel very well but manage to final rehearsal at City Hall. Gideon Fagan is excellent. I meet Ruth’s sister, Caroline and see her mother. Mr O is in bed with virus ‘flu.

27 November – Go to singing in the afternoon and I sit in the studio for about five minutes before Webster notices me. “Did you really come in with Anne?” he asks. Anne sorts out the various eccentricities connected with my lessons and he gives me a cup of tea. He tells me he has some ghastly things to cheer me up today – the pieces for my diploma.

We start on the studies for which he plays. He doesn’t play the first one too badly so I manage to sing it well and he admits this at the end of it. He plays the second one so badly that I start to laugh in the middle of it. I think he is slightly insulted and when he gets to the end, he says, “Well, it was almost right. If you can sing to that accompaniment you can sing to any accompaniment!”

Anne returns from the office after telling someone coldly on the phone that it is not enough notice to call an hour before a lesson to say that they can’t come. She is not sitting in the studio waiting for them to arrive.

I go through the exercises and songs for the diploma – Purcell and Fauré. She spent an hour in Kelly’s this morning trying to get them for me. They are particularly stupid there, according to her. Next time she’ll try Charles Manning. I recommend him for his son Howard was jolly decent when I went in for the syllabus.

Webster goes through all his oratorios to find a suitable recit and aria for me. He asks if I’d like to do Father of Heav’n with a recit following the aria. I have always thought it most beautiful since I heard Kathleen singing it.

Anne is not fond of it but I persist and so does he. He says to her, “Ah, but you must listen to Kathleen’s recording.” He always says her name in hallowed tones – it gives me a shock every time I hear it. Anne looks very black about it.

For no reason at all, she says, “For heaven’s sake, stop fidgeting and fussing, Boo. You make me quite sick!” He looks very hurt but continues to inform me that I simply must hear Kathleen’s singing of it.

I tell Webster that I hope he’ll do very well with his oratorios in PE. He says in teasing tones, “And I certainly hope you’ll do well in your concerts too, Jean!”

I laugh at the way he says this. He says that he knows Gé K will never do these solos properly tonight. “He’ll probably have to belt it all out to sing at all!”

He gives me his own copy of Judas Maccabeus to look at Father of Heav’n. She says, “Won’t you need it at all, darling?” and he replies, “No! I’ll never sing that again in this world. The only time I shall probably sing it again is in the next world!” It is a very high role so I presume he means that he can’t reach the top notes any more. Poor Webster.

I depart cheerfully with enough work to keep me going for years. I go through his score – his name is signed on the cover and he has listed his appearances on the front cover – 1933 somewhere in Wales. Imagine it – over ten years before I was born.

Dad takes me (in long white dress) to Symphony concert in City Hall. We all stand around in the foyer looking particularly wraith-like. Ruth and Hester have had their hair set. Ruth tells me that Caroline and her mother adore me. We go up to stage door entrance and march onto the stage where we see a full house before us.

Gideon Fagan conducts beautifully and with great feeling. At interval we go and sing scales in the mayoral chambers. I tell Ruth about the Graham Burns incident. She doesn’t think it funny either. Her father is much worse and has sinus trouble on top of everything else.

The Ninth symphony goes very well and our singing is excellent. Gideon has such a lovely feel of the music. The soloists are good although Gé is a little off the beat and there is the usual great applause, bouquets and everything. They bring Johan on stage and the applause is thunderous. I always leave occasions like these with red hands.

Outside, while waiting for Dad to arrive Pieter DeV comes up to me and tells me it was grand and, “U het mooi gesing!” I say, “Dankie, dankie!” and all is most convivial.

28 November – Crits of concert are faily decent. I work at ATCL pieces in morning in a slightly haphazard and gloat over Webster’s Judas.

Go to music in afternoon. Gerrit Bon told Gill that the orchestra was bad but we were fairly good. Have lesson with Mrs S and get my certificate.

Go to hear Margaret sing at Teachers’ Training College. Meet Ann, Leona and the Spargos. Choral work isn’t bad, recorder group quite painful. Margaret is sweet but very nervous.

29 November – Have lunch in Ansteys with Mum. We meet Sue Johnson from the rink with her hair cut short. She is just the same but never has time to go to the rink now that she’s at ‘varsity.

I go to lunch hour concert. Anton H conducts overture from Norma and Cecilia Wessels, a soprano of at least sixty sings. Her top notes are still good but bottom notes poor. It seems a pity she should have to go on singing when she is so old. Pieter de V is sitting with Yonti Solomon in a box.

Webster goes on with HMS Pinafore at night.

30 November – Go to SABC. Leo Quayle comes and is a real honey – he’s about 50 – very gentle and sweet and certainly gets good results from the choir. He’s South African. He tells us about conducting God Save the Queen at Covent Garden. The Scotsman from PE tells me at interval that he’d love to be singing with Robert Selley’s Festival choir this year too.

Hester tells me that Ruth came last night with her mother but they’re having a cocktail party for her sister’s engagement tonight.

Daddy fetches me. I must say that I think Leo is my favourite conductor so far.

The Booths’ film Lord Oom Piet starring Bob Courtney, Madelaine Usher and Jamie Uys is on at the Capri so I must try to see it sometime next week.

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES – SEPTEMBER 1962

Anderson T is in a less jovial mood today. Anne plays beautifully and my studies and songs are perfect, but my exercises! He can’t give me two marks for them. My nerves go to pieces and my voice trembles. My sight-singing isn’t too startling either but the ear tests and viva voce are fine. He says goodbye affably enough and I come out a nervous wreck.

Ruth sings very well but she cannot answer her questions so perhaps the results might balance. Anne and I talk to the woman in charge. Anne tells me that I sang beautifully but my exercises were a pity. She tells the woman in charge that it is a soul-destroying job, teaching, apart from a few pupils. I say, “I expect it must be most soul destroying to teach me.” She says, “Oh, darling, of course not. You’re one of my best pupils!”

1 September – Beat all my other unearthly hours by going to SS studio at 7.30! Elaine (in a great state of nerves) is there already practising like mad. I work with Svea Ward for a bit. Eventually I go in for my exam with the reputedly terrifying Anderson Tyrer but he is rather sweet and says, “Jean McIntyre Campbell – that’s a fine Scots name.” I play quite well – only make a mistake in one study. Scales aren’t so hot and sight reading rather ghastly but ear tests and viva voce excellent. I think I pass – I hope so. He thanks me most effusively for coming.

Margaret gives me coffee and a bun after my ordeal and then I come home. We see A Pair of Briefs which is excellent – Mary Peach, Michael Craig and James Robertson Justice. We have supper in the Galaxy afterwards.

Sylvia Sullivan

2 September – Go to Sunday school and play the piano. In the afternoon I sing and listen to Leslie G. I phone Ruth to find out about her school exams – they’ve been fine so far apart from science and Afrikaans. She didn’t enjoy the Commerce Ball terribly and had a beer shandy when she was there. On Saturday she couldn’t sing at all and kept giggling at Webster. He said, “If I make you laugh I shan’t look at you next week!”

Her parents left yesterday for three weeks in Scotland with her grandparents in Glasgow. She succeeded in “getting rid of” Trevor, the unfortunate drippy youth!

We decide to have lunch and see a show after our singing exam to celebrate – or mourn! She says, “I hope you won’t mind going around town with me in my school uniform!” We rave about each other’s voices. She isn’t going for a lesson on Tuesday because of exams so I probably shan’t see her till the day of our singing exam.

I do get on well with her and I am so glad Anne told us about each other. I understand her quite perfectly and she’s a real honey.

3 September – Settlers Day. Spend a quiet day at home. Gill V phones to make arrangements for me to go to the Indian eisteddfod. I sing my ‘exam to my parents at night and they like it.

4 September – Go to studio in the afternoon. Anne is there by herself and tells me that Webster has had to do his two extra programmes before he goes today. She told him to go home and have a rest after them if he’s tired so I might not see him. She asks if I’d like to listen to Tea with Mr Green because her girlfriend, Babs is going to be on today.

We do scales and exercises. The chemist phones and she arranges to have a silver Wellaton (hair rinse) sent up! She says her hair is a dull mousy grey and she has to do something to liven it up and stop her from looking old!

We listen to Leslie G and she tells me that Babs Wilson-Hill is her very best friend in Britain. She and Babs were in panto together in 1934 and she is very fond of her. They write to one another every week and tell each other all their worries and troubles. She is very well off – she’s been married three times and her husbands left her a fortune every time so she has a lovely home and garden in Godalming. She shows me a picture of her on the wall. She says she misses her more than anyone else in Britain.

Leslie G introduces the programme and says that it was due to Anne Ziegler that he is there because she had told him about Babs. He talks about the lovely garden – laburnum, willows, larkspurs, snapdragons… Babs sounds very like Anne, only more so – same laugh, same intonation of words, very pleasant and slightly “county”. Anne says that Babs wrote to her and said she made a terrible botch of the whole thing but she sounds terribly self-possessed to me. After it is over, Anne says that one can only have a friend like that once in a lifetime and she thinks everyone needs someone like that to confide in and tell all one’s troubles to.

We go on with singing and it all goes fairly well. I’ll damn well do this exam properly. She advises me to hum before I sing the exercises. “You should see what some people do backstage before they sing. “Richard Tauber – God rest his soul – used to spit before he went on stage. Filthy old pig! Harold Lake, who could have been a grand singer if he hadn’t taken to the bottle, used to moo all over the place before he went on. I just sit back and have a laugh.”

She says she feels as though she’s getting old – always losing her glasses and getting absent-minded.

“But I’ll never admit to middle age!” says she. The chemist sends the hair rinse and the order reads, “Mrs Ziegler”! “The girl in the chemist is one of our biggest fans but she will never call me Miss Ziegler. I don’t think she thinks it’s decent to have two different names in one home and still be properly married!”

She says she thinks I’ll do well in these exams – I mustn’t worry. “We’ll have to take you and Ruth for a tranquilliser!” I say goodbye – I was there for an hour today. What fun!

5 September – Have lunch in Ansteys with Mum and then go up to SS studio for Gill. We go out to Benoni following the two organisers of the eisteddfod – Mr Abdul and Mr Scott. We arrive at the school where there are literally hundreds of children waiting to sing for us. We sit at a table in a large classroom with teachers sitting behind us, and listen to numerous choirs ranging from Grade 1 to Standard 6. The singing is rather lovely. Some of the older girls, who do part-singing, sing very well indeed. I advise Gill on suitable marks and add them up. She gives a very good adjudication. Evidently Johan vd M adjudicated last year and was very cutting about the choirs.

We come home via Bedfordview and, on the journey home, Gill runs Webster down saying she has evidence that he is an alcoholic. I say that he may drink but I don’t think he is an alcoholic and he is a very nice and kind man. She says, “I wonder!” She is horrible about him. Poor Webster.

6 September – Go to Indian eisteddfod again. We have Mr Scott’s wife to help us and she is very sweet. Choral work isn’t too bad although the singers tend to be a bit breathy. The soloist section is not very good with only about two children with very good voices. Gill wades into them no end!

I hear Lucille singing on the radio with her Piet Retief neighbour’s Boere Orkes (Hendrik Susann).

Listen to Webster and he goes on with Iolanthe. I enjoy the music although he is certainly spinning it out. He sounds a bit muddled and breathy and makes a lot of false starts. He must have made this recording on Tuesday when I didn’t see him. I expect he was still feeling the effects of the opening night of the Civic Theatre!

7 September – Go for the last session of the Eisteddfod. Singing is of a much higher standard today and at the end of the event there are duets by some of the teachers and they are really very good.

8 September – Go for singing lesson. Anne arrives with Lemon and informs me that she and Webster have very heavy colds. We start on scales and Webster arrives with his cold very much in evidence. He asks about my music exam and I tell him about it and he says that seeing I liked it so much and Anderson T obviously liked me, I must make sure that he recognises me. “Wear the same dress,” says he.

I sing fairly well – we go through everything and he says that I mustn’t worry about anything. I shall do very well.

When I sing My Mother I pull a face and he says, “Don’t pull faces, Jean.” He makes me smile when he says this. Lemon sniffs around my legs and he says, “Lemon, leave Jean’s legs alone!” About his range he says, “I’ve got about two notes in my range today!” I say that I was out late last night and he says, “I’d like to have gone out late last night too but I wasn’t in a fit state to go!”

He wishes me all the best of luck for Tuesday. “I won’t be seeing you on Tuesday because I’ll be at the SABC recording my programme.” I thank him and wish him a happy holiday and we part on very good terms.

He looks awful today – red face, cold in the nose and throat – shame!

I meet Tufty in John Orrs waiting to go for her singing lesson with Bruce Anderson so we both go to the café in Rand Central and have a cold drink and discuss the horrors and otherwise of singing.

I go up to Mrs S’s and copy out words for her (The Skye Boat Song) The choir arrives with Margaret Masterton and we practise all the pieces.

Afterwards Margaret and I are talking when I hear Ruth’s name mentioned. I ask what they’re saying about her and they tell me that she was singing last night.

I say, “How nice. Where?”

“In Stars of Tomorrow.”

I am horrified to hear this – not the fact that she sang in the programme but the fact that she never breathed a word to me about it.

After lunch we see Counterfeit Traitor with William Holden and Lilli Palmer.

9 September – Go to Sunday school. David Dury draws beautifully. Doreen, who takes S School, wishes Peter Spargo all the best for his trip abroad. I’m quite sorry to see him go.

Ruth phones about 6.20 and tells me the Booths knew nothing of the recording which she had made six months ago. She didn’t tell a soul about it because it was really awful. They were quite angry about the whole matter. They just heard Howard Sacks announcing her name at the end. She had an awful lesson on Saturday and sang dreadfully and is terribly worried about sight-reading and ear tests. Because I feel quite relieved at her version of Stars of Tomorrow I give her a few tips about sight-singing. I tell her that Webster won’t be there on Tuesday but he wished me luck. She says, “He didn’t say a thing to me. He can’t love me any more!”

We decide to go to see Sweet Bird of Youth at the Metro on Tuesday and part affably. I’m so glad there was an explanation for Stars of Tomorrow and that Anne didn’t know about it.

10 September – Go into town today feeling nervous and grim. Go up to studio and Anne is practising My Mother. I go in and we discuss nervousness. We go through the works and I sing very well indeed and she is pleased.

Ruth comes and has her lesson. I wait in the kitchen feeling even worse! After this, we all have tea together. When Anne goes out, Ruth asks me to play the piano and I oblige. It is a lovely piano and I play nicely. We look at the pictures on the wall when Anne returns and giggle over the Webster ones. How I adore them! We help Anne to get the tea and have a nice little chat.

Ruth talks about her parents being in Glasgow at the moment and how they are going to stay at the Savoy in London. She says, “But I like Johannesburg. It has everything!” Anne and I burst out laughing and Anne asks, “Such as?” Poor Ruth is quite affronted by our laughter. We spend a jolly time running down the Civic Theatre and I tell them of the argument I had with Peter S about it. We all get on famously and feel a little less nervous.

We walk down to Edinburgh Court and every second person stares at Anne and when we arrive the others there all whisper about her to one another. She tells me to take a deep breath and I do so.

Anderson Tyrer goes out of the studio and Anne says, “I don’t need three guesses to know where he’s going!”

Anderson T is in a less jovial mood today. Anne plays beautifully and my studies and songs are perfect, but my exercises! He can’t give me two marks for them. My nerves go to pieces and my voice trembles. My sight-singing isn’t too startling either but the ear tests and viva voce are fine. He says goodbye affably enough and I come out a nervous wreck.

Ruth sings very well but she cannot answer her questions so perhaps the results might balance. Anne and I talk to the woman in charge. Anne tells me that I sang beautifully but my exercises were a pity. She tells the woman in charge that it is a soul-destroying job, teaching, apart from a few pupils. I say, “I expect it must be most soul destroying to teach me.” She says, “Oh, darling, of course not. You’re one of my best pupils!”

We come downstairs together and discuss the exam and wish her a happy holiday. Ruth says, “I’m going to phone Webster tonight.” I say, “Why, is he ill?” She says, “No! Just to say goodbye.” Anne says, “Oh, he will appreciate that!”

We part and wish her a glorious holiday then Ruth and I go to Ansteys for lunch.

We decide that Anne is quite natural with us and very stiff with everyone else. We have a lovely lunch (for which Ruth pays). “Since my mother won £40,000!” says she, rather vulgarly. We look around John Orrs and then go to the Twentieth Century to see The Inspector because we are afraid that in school uniform she won’t be allowed in at the Metro. I enjoy it again and we decide that Dolores Hart resembles her.

On the way home she suggests that she and I should do some duets together when the Booths come home. That would be fun. I tell her to give Webster my love when she phones him and we say that we’ll see one another on Monday at the SABC. She tells me that Webster told her to tart up her hair for the exam!

I listen to Anne at night. She plays music from The Count of Luxembourg, Show Boat and Sweet Yesterday. She plays Life Begins Anew, her solo Sweet Yesterday and Webster’s Morning Glory. A lovely end to the day. I remember Webster playing them a year or so ago and I did adore them then. I hope they have a wonderful holiday – they deserve it.

12 September – Go to SS studios and see Gill. She heard Ruth on the radio and thought her very feeble. I get my theory certificate from Mrs S. I only hope I do as well in the practical. We work on Advanced Junior theory and I give Corry Bakker a lesson. Rita Oosthuizen is doing her LTCL tomorrow.

13 September – Listen to Webster and he finishes Iolanthe and includes Nightmare Song by John Reid who has really excellent diction. Next week he is going to start Cox and Box. He plays the Captain Shaw song from Patience – the one they teased me about last Saturday.

15 September – Go to Mrs S’s studio in the morning. Elaine, Carol and I discuss exams in morose fashion and decide that we have all done badly. Margaret M has German Measles today.

Before lunch, I meet Patricia Webb who is going home for a month. We lunch in Capinero and then go to the Metro to see The Boys Night Out.

At night, while reading Cry Havoc and immersed in the horrors of the armament factories, I hear familiar voices on the radio singing I’ll See You Again on Freddie Carlé’s programme. It is lovely. I wonder how I shall survive two weeks without them.

16 September – Go to Sunday School – not too many there – possibly due to German Measles epidemic. Continue reading Cry Havoc by Beverley Nichols and find it excellent.

In the guild service at night four of us sing the alto part in the anthem.

17 September – Go to SABC at night. When Ruth arrives Gill tells her that she thought her rendering on Stars of Tomorrow nauseating. (Rather nasty comment, I feel.)

Johan works us mercilessly on Messiah and there is an improvement. Ruth tells me that last Tuesday she had fibrositis when she got home and was in great pain. She phoned Webster despite it and he was sorry to hear about it. He said, “I believe you and Jean sang very well indeed today!”

We decide that we miss them terribly and that Jo’burg is a meaningless place without them. We discuss our exam with Gill and Tufty and Gill says we are sure to pass. She’s heard our voices and our teachers know what they are doing. Results will probably be waiting for us.

19 September – Work in the morning and have lunch in Ansteys with Mum. I go up to SS studio and Gill is going shopping so I go with her. We see a grumpy Anderson Tyrer entering Edinburgh Court. Exams finish this Friday so the results are imminent.

We see Cecil Williams, who has recently come out of jail owing to his communist tendencies. He gives me a half smile of vague recognition. Gill is horrified about his left-wing ideas.

We go up to the studio where Rita is practising for the LTCL exam tomorrow. We have coffee and then work. I have a good lesson with Mrs S who tells me to come early on Saturday morning to do theory.

20 September Take it into my head that I simply must see the Booths’ house. Weak-mindedness, I guess, but the urge is irresistible! I get a connection to Craighall and a rather good-looking boy directs me to Buckingham Avenue. The suburb is idyllic. There are hardly any people around and the only noise is the birds twittering in the trees. Have a long walk along Buckingham Avenue to find their house.

It is much smaller than ours with a few steps leading up to the stoep. The door is bright yellow and the walls are white. The roof is corrugated iron, painted black. The garden is quite large. To think I always imagined them living in a long, modern house. The house next door looks rather awful and the garden is a shambles but the houses across the street are very nice. It is a lovely spot and I think they deserve such lovely scenery. It’s quite surprising that they should have such a small house after all the money they’ve earned. I walk back to Parkwood, have a cold drink in a café there and come home.

Go to bed and listen to G and S. Webster plays Cox and Box. It is very good and I enjoy it. Then he plays a record by Martyn Green in America – The Judge’s Song from Trial by Jury. He burlesques it a good deal. As Webster says, “D’Oyly Carte would have had something to say about it!” Next week he’s starting on a full-length recording (with dialogue) of Patience which we heard about five months ago. Ah, well. If he can get away with it, why worry!

After this programme, the station announcer says, “That fascinating, scintillating star of the musical stage and screen, Anne Ziegler will present a programme on Tuesday at 8.15!”

22 September – Go into SS studio and meet Yvonne Compton (from the bank) on the bus, evidently recovered from her car crash and looking no worse than I remember her. She tells me that Mr Ford has had another heart attack and was off work for three months and the French lady who lives in Craighall Park is off work with a nervous breakdown. I tell her to give everyone my love.

When I arrive at Mrs S’s Elaine and I morosely discuss exams once more and then get a pleasant surprise. The results have arrived – Elaine has 71% and I have 78% ( a pass with merit). We are delighted.

Have choir – Margaret is back, recovered from the German Measles. Have lunch in Capinero with parents and then see Lovers Must Learn.

I am quite happy with the result and hope singing is not too bad. If only I could find out the result before the Booths return from their holiday.

24 September – SABC at night. I talk to Ruth and we worry about our results. Evidently we can’t hear the results until they come home because Arnold Fulton has no record of the marks. We ruminate over what we will do if we fail. I know what I shall do – give up!

Pieter de Villiers takes us because Johan is sick in bed. Maybe he has German Measles as well?

At interval, Ruth and I talk once more and she says if she fails she’ll cry on Webster’s shoulder. Even that delight wouldn’t make failure much fun. I say I shall give up singing and she is quite worried about it. If I’ve done badly in this mouldy old singing exam, I shall know I’m no good and I’ll have to give up.

25 September Work very hard and hear that Arnold F is going to give Mum my results tomorrow – oh, Lord!

Listen to Anne at night and envy her. She plays Die Fledermaus and somehow manages to talk about singing Marguerite in Faust in 1934 where she met her husband, and seeing Rachmaninoff and Tetrazzini in Liverpool. She plays an extract from The Platonic Nymph and excerpts from records made by friends of theirs who appeared with them at the Palladium – Max Miller, Vera Lynn, Rawicz and Landauer, and of course themselves singing Love’s Last Word is Spoken, Cherie.

It is a lovely programme and she is a lovely person. However, the way I feel at the moment is very amateurish and far removed from Anne.

26 September – Get singing result today – at least, I hope it’s my result and Arnold F hasn’t made a mistake. I get 76% (merit) and he tells mum that it is very good. I can’t wait to get the report and see what Anderson T has to say. I have lunch with Mum in Ansteys and feel much happier.

27 September – In bed waiting for Webster and G and S. Poor pet has his terrible cold and talks in very nasal accents which emphasises his brogue. He starts on Patience and when talking of aestheticism says that it is just the same as the Bright Young Things of the 1820s – “I mean 1920s,” says he. I enjoy it again and he is in a very good mood and makes me laugh.

Only three or four days to go till I see him and Anne again.

30 September – Really sick today so I don’t go to Sunday School or Church.

I feel better at night so I phone Anne. How lovely it is to talk to her again. She answers the phone and recognises my voice before I tell her who is calling. She sounds delighted to hear from me and asks how I am. I ask about their holiday and she says it was a lovely rest but the weather was really terrible. She says that at least Lemon enjoyed the holiday.

I tell her about Mum phoning Arnold Fulton and my 76%. I ask if I can come up for Ruth’s and my card tomorrow night at 6.00. She tells Webster who is standing by the phone the whole time about my marks and he is also pleased. She says in hallowed tones, “Webster sends his congratulations.” She says she is very proud of me. “God bless you, darling,” she says. She is pleased with piano results as well. We say goodbye till tomorrow and I feel refreshed and exhilarated with our chat. They are such good fun, both of them.