EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES: MAY 1963

He is going to Lord Lurgan’s for dinner tonight and tells me all about him. He makes a right carry on about getting himself “tarted up” for the occasion. Tomorrow is probably my last accompanying day. I am sad.

1 May – I wallow in “advanced depression” today. How will I manage after these two halcyon weeks are over? Have lunch with mum and then go to the studio and sing in that hallowed atmosphere. Go to Mrs S, chat to Elaine and teach Corrie Bakker.

2 May – Go to the studio, have lunch there and go to the lunch hour concert. I meet Webster in town and he asks me to put money in the meter for him which I do while he panics and goes to the AA to renew his subscription. He tells me he really enjoyed himself on Tuesday night. I’m so pleased. Colleen sings well but the next two are not so good. He sings duets with the last pupil. He is going to Lord Lurgan’s for dinner tonight and tells me all about him. He makes a right carry on about getting himself “tarted up” for the occasion. Tomorrow is probably my last accompanying day. I am sad.

3 May – Webster phones in the morning to tell me that Lucille isn’t coming this afternoon – I am glad! I go into the studio and entertain Mr Knowles-Lewis (who won the hymn competition last year) until Webster arrives. We have Norma and Selwyn. Anne phones to say that she is home safely and quite exhausted. . The others come and go and then all the heaven of two lovely weeks is finished. Webster thanks me and says he loved having me play for him and if Anne doesn’t feel up to coming in tomorrow he’ll phone me. He takes me home in his car for the very last time. He says quite pensively that, “I’ll miss my Sylvia Pass next week.” We part until Tuesday when I will return to being an ordinary pupil once again.

4 May – I feel sad that my two wonderful weeks are over. I go into Mrs S and have a theory lesson. The choir arrives and we are stooges for two people endeavouring to pass the class teachers’ exam. I have a chat with the TCL secretary and see dear old Uncle Mac for the last time.

I phone Ruth in the afternoon and she says Webster raved and raved about me during her lesson this morning, saying how good I was at accompanying and how the experience has boosted my ego and how he loved having dinner with me and my parents. She says Anne regarded him very coldly when he spoke so fulsomely about me! I phone Anne in the afternoon and we talk for a whole hour about everything under the sun. She tells me that they would have loved to retire to a smallholding in Devon but there wasn’t enough money to do so. I don’t have the impression that she is annoyed with me in any way. I listen to Webster at night.

7 May – Webster phones to remind me to fill in my form for the Trinity diploma exam which I have already done. Go to singing and Anne is looking a little tired. She says she didn’t like all the self-centred South African people she met on her trip around the country with Leslie Green. She says she will be a step-grandmother soon as Webster’s son’s wife is going to have a baby in December. We work at the unaccompanied folk song. Webster tells me that Uncle Mac is going to be doing the exams in September. They had him to dinner on Sunday.

8 May – Work at harmony and go to town and lunch in Ansteys with Mum. Go to SS studios and have a harmony lesson. Mummy phones in the middle of it to say that Webster phoned and wants me to audition at the Brooke on Saturday morning. There is a picture of them in the paper. Phone Anne at night and she says that BB is interested in hearing me but as this is a private audition I mustn’t breathe a word about it to anybody. She says she felt she had to do something for me after our chat on Saturday.

10 May – Go to dentist and have lunch with Mum and then a gruelling harmony lesson. Go to singing and Webster gives me tea. Anne and I go over Gypsy Moon for the audition. Anne says, “You’re a beautiful girl and if you were my daughter I’d be very proud of you.” Go over Father of Heav’n and Webster says he’s playing Kath’s record of it tomorrow night. Anne wishes me a lot of luck and is pleased to hear that I enjoyed their autobiography. She tells me to phone tomorrow night.

11 May – Go for audition at the Brooke Theatre and give Colleen a lift there. We go in and feel nervous. Colleen sings well and should get a part. I sing fairly well and Brian Brooke says I could have a small part which will give me some experience. I go to Mrs S afterwards and sing in ensemble. We see A Touch of Mink. I phone Anne at night and she is pleased and thinks I should take up his offer. I listen to Webster’s Great Voices – he plays Kath and Harry Lauder and talks about Bel Canto.

13 May – Work hard and go to SABC at night. See John Steenkamp and Mrs S. Ruth is there and we work hard with Chris Lamprecht.

Great Voices 13 May 1963

14 May – Work hard. Go to singing in the afternoon. Little boy is having a lesson before me. Anne comes into the kitchen on the verge of tears to moan to me about the child. Webster is more tolerant. She tells me to watch out for Brian Brooke as he’s a wolf – the younger, the better! Sing Massenet and go through the unaccompanied song with Webster which goes well. Norma comes after me looking heavenly and theatrical.

15 May – Have lunch in Ansteys with Mum and we meet Mrs McDonald-Rouse and Mrs Moody. Former tells me to give her love to Webster and Anne. Go to Mrs S and have a long lesson. I chat to Elaine (newly recovered from mumps).

16 May – Lunch with Mum and then go to hear Adelaide Newman and Hans Mommer. Anne arrives rather late and first gives an audition to girl, Heather. I go through all my songs and when Webster arrives he records Father of Heav’n. I feel miserable about it. He makes tea and I wash up afterwards.

18 May – Go to Brooke theatre in the morning and he and Bill Walker audition a few more people. In the end there are 8 of us trying for 4 parts as nuns. Bill Walker’s wife is my rival so I can only hope for the best. BB is quite sweet and calls me darling. Go back to Mrs S afterwards and chat to Suzanne Bilski. I get Betty home on the bus. We see Days of Wine and Roses in the afternoon. I meet Ila Silanski there.

21 May – Work. Go to singing in the afternoon. We go through Love’s Sickness and Webster makes tea. Evidently Colleen didn’t get any part at all for BB was disappointed with her speaking voice and advised her to take speech lessons. They are not pleased about it. I tell them of my experience with Bill Walker’s wife! More or less at the last minute, Webster is going to take the part of Colonel Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard for JODS as they do not think the man currently doing the role is up to it. Should be fun. I do the French song well and am there for ages.

22 May – Work and lunch in Ansteys with Mum. I go to Mrs S for harmony lesson and chat with Gill. I do ear tests with Edith Sanders and we decide to go to the studio regularly in the mornings to do ear tests in preparation for the forthcoming diploma exams. Edith has perfect pitch!

24 May – Go to singing. Anne is there by herself as Webster is rehearsing madly for The Yeomen so I make tea for us all – Lucille is there too, having had a lesson before me. Anne tells me that she and Webster had indigestion after eating a sheep’s heart casserole! We decide to do some Landon Ronald songs for a change – she sings them for me in her heavenly voice. They are too gorgeous for words.

25 May – Go to Mrs S and then to Brooke theatre where some of the people don’t turn up. BB tells me to come back again next week but I’m not sure if I shall. We see Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Webster plays duets by Dennis Noble and himself and a song by Bennie Veenemans, the boy soprano. He played that record to me in the studio when I was playing for him.

26 May – Go to church and copy and transpose Anne’s Landon Ronald songs.

27 May – Work. Go to SABC and we have Mr Tyler once more. We work at English folk and traditional songs.

28 May – Go to dentist, lunch hour concert and library. I see Michael Newell. Go to singing and Webster is back again. Norma arrives too early and upsets things. We do the Landon Ronald songs and he is delighted with the transposition. They are disgusted about Brian Brooke.

29 May – Go into SS studio early and Elaine and I do some theory together. Mrs S comes in and tells us that Stan’s mother has died. I lunch with Mum in Ansteys.

30 May – Go to SS studios again and work hard. Lunch with Mum and come home on the bus with Margaret. She tells me that Peter Lynsky (Jack Point in the Yeomen) is a lecturer at Teachers’ Training College.

31 May – Republic Day. We see To Kill a Mocking Bird with Gregory Peck. It is very good indeed.

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES – APRIL 1963

My mother says, as he is leaving, “Thank you for looking after Jean,” and he gives me a fond glance and replies, “I think it’s Jean who’s looking after me.” He gives a short hoot of farewell as he drives over the Juno Street hill on his way home. What a heavenly day.

1 April – Work. Go to SABC at night. Ruth is there and we have a chat. She is coming to visit me next Monday. Mr Tyler takes us through the Creation.

2 April – Work. Go to singing with a touch of laryngitis. When I arrive I hear Webster and Anne practising the duets for the SABC concert and their voices blend gloriously. They are most sympathetic about my laryngitis. I sing a little, but not much. Webster gives me a lecture on all my inhibitions. He tells me that I am most musicianly and will do well in the exam for I have improved so much.

3 April  – Work and lunch in Ansteys with Mum. Go to SS studios for my piano lesson and talk to Elaine and Gill. Ruth phones and tells me she’ll be here at about 11.45am on Monday.

4 April – Have yet another ghastly day feeling ill. Listen to Leslie Green. Only a few weeks to go before he and Anne tour the country and I work with Webster – Hurrah!

5 April – Go to singing. Webster is trying to teach Lucille the bass clef. My throat is still a bit odd. Webster tells me it’s my imagination and microphone nerves! I manage to sing everything softly. He says that Ruth and I imagine a lot. I phone Betty to arrange to go to the Cinerama.

6 April – Go with Dad and book at Piccadilly as Cinerama is crowded out. We take Betty to see Cloak and Dagger with Gary Cooper and Lili Palmer. Webster plays all South Africans in his Great Voices and includes a record by himself, saying, “Seeing I’m South African too!” which is by far the greatest voice of the evening!

7 April – Go to Sunday school and play the piano. Dad fetches me and we go to town to look at the Presbyterian church. Phone Ruth and she says she had a lovely birthday. Webster kissed her and they gave her a card and a scarf. They managed to get into the Cinerama and saw How the West was Won. She says Anne was most concerned about my throat.

8 April – Ruth comes to the house and has lunch and we work at all our exam pieces together. Evidently Webster got sloshed on Saturday night but sang the Resurrection at the Presbyterian Church beautifully. After supper Dad takes Ruth and me to choir where we hear a recording of The Creation (in German). Webster and Anne sing with Edgar Cree and orchestra on the radio.

9 April – Go to singing and Ruth is there before me. When I go in Webster says he likes my hair. Ruth mentions how much she enjoyed their recording so I say that it was lovely. He says, “Not too bad for a couple of old fogies!” Ruth goes and I sing very well indeed for a change and they both like it. Anne tries on my glasses and I try on hers and Webster’s. He has a new pair with black frames – looks most distinguished!

10 April – Go to town and buy some clothes. I meet Mary Harrison in John Orrs. Have lunch in Ansteys with Mum and then go up to Mrs S. She tells me to tell the Booths how much she enjoyed their performance on Monday evening. She says they are very great people and she remembers how excited she was at seeing them at Broadcast House in 1948. Such a good looking young couple. I go to the library with Dad at night and meet Liz Moir there.

11 April 1963 – Work and go to singing in the afternoon. Ruth has her lesson before me. I sing everything very well and tell Anne and Webster what Mrs S said about their broadcast. Webster says that I should write to the SABC and tell them how much I enjoyed their performance and perhaps they’ll ask them to do another broadcast. I promise to do so. He gives me a list of music for accompanying and says he’ll run me home after we finish at the studio each evening.

13 April 1963 – Easter Friday. Have restful morning and we go for a run in the afternoon. I sing and play exam pieces to parents and they are impressed, contrary to the last time they listened to me. I hope all goes well.

14 April 1963 – Go into Mrs and work with Margaret and Mrs du P. Sing in the SS choir and then come home with Margaret. We see Elvis in Kid Galahad. In Great Voices Webster plays the voice of actor, John Barrymore. They went to the same tailor, and George Formby.

15 April 1963 – I work hard but am so strung up about the exam the following day that I don’t sleep all night!

16 April – Singing Exam. I meet Anne on the lift in Edinburgh Court and we go into the SS studio together. Lucille is quite nervous and makes a few mistakes. Guy Magrath is terribly sweet and apart from shaky studies my singing isn’t too bad. The questions and ear tests are a cake walk as Webster would say! Ruth sings nicely and Anne is very pleased with us. Let’s hope we do well. Afterwards Ruth and I go and have lunch together and see a silly film to relax after our ordeal.

17 April – I work at the piano and go into Mrs Sullivan’s studio where I see Svea, Margaret and Gill. We do musicianship and ear tests.

18 April – Work. Have lunch with Mum and then go to SS studio and practise hard. We see Guy McGrath leaving the studio wearing a navy bowler!

19 April – Go to Mrs S and work with Margaret. Afterwards I go to singing and Webster makes tea while Lucille sings gorgeously. I get my results after much teasing on part of Anne – 78% for Higher Local singing (with merit) which is jolly good, considering that I skipped a grade. I sing Father of Heav’n beautifully due to the elation of doing quite well and make arrangements for Monday. Ruth phones at night – she got 72% for Senior exam and Lucille got 72% for Grade 5.

Grade 8 singing report.

20 April – Piano exam. Mr Magrath remembers me from the singing exam and is a honeybunch. He tries his best to put me at my ease. I think I will pass. He says I sang well in my singing exam and he is sure I will make a good teacher. Mum phones Anne to congratulate her on my result. Anne is thrilled and says that while she’s away, “Webster will look after her.” (ie ME!) See We Joined the Navy.

21 April – Have a fairly quiet day to recover from yesterday’s excitement. We go for a run in the afternoon to find Webster’s best route home from our house via Sylvia Pass.

22 April – Go into the studio to work for Webster at last. He gives me the key to the studio and tells me I can come in at any time to practise. He also shows me where the key to Chatsworth – his name for the outside toilet – is kept! and makes me coffee. Mary H, John S, Piet van Zyl and others come and I have a glorious time playing for them and listening to Webster’s advice to them.

My mother had told me to go out at lunchtime to give Webster a chance to have a rest, so I do so and return in time for the afternoon session. He takes me home in his car and before he leaves Juno Street I ask if he would like to come to dinner with us one night and he is touched.

23 April – Go into the studio early and practise on the lovely Chappell piano before Webster arrives. During the course of the day he tells me that they wrote an autobiography called Duet and he will lend it to me to read. Doris Bolton (a fabulous singer), Lucille, and Dudley Holmes come for lessons during the morning. When I return from lunch, Webster asks what I was doing when I was out and says that I mustn’t dream of going out for lunch again but must have lunch with him in the studio. We have a long talk in the afternoon and he tells me all about holidays in Switzerland and Monte Carlo. Norma Dennis (Diane Todd’s understudy) has a lesson in the afternoon. Webster takes me home and tells me all about Lincoln and promises to bring their autobiography in on Thursday. Heavenly day!

24 April – Have lunch in Ansteys with mum. Phone Webster to ask if I may practise in the studio when he’s not there and he says, “But of course, darling. That’s what I meant when I gave you the keys. Take some tea and biscuits if you want some.” He says he got home easily last night and then, “Goodbye, darling.” I practise singing and it goes well. I go to Mrs S for a lesson. Elaine is back from her holiday and Gill is in a grumpy mood.

25 April – Work in studio. Webster arrives, complete with his autobiography, Duet. I am delighted. Colleen McMennamin is the first pupil and she sings well. The other three are pretty hopeless and Webster says it should be a boost to my ego to see how frightful they are! Takes me home in the Hillman and tells me all about how they continued writing their autobiography after the ghostwriter began putting in his own pacifist views and they had to get rid of him. He also gives me a lecture on Bel Canto singing, which merely means beautiful song. I start reading their book when I get home – sheer heaven!

26 April – I get honours for all three piano exams! I read the autobiography at the studio and am quite fascinated with it. What an eventful time they had. Webster arrives with Lucille and we have tea. Other pupils prove rather uneventful. He warns me not to laugh at one particular one. He brings me home in the car and we talk about Ruth and her depressions. He is coming to dinner on Tuesday evening – what fun. Life is heaven at the moment.

Grade 8 piano report

27 April – Webster is there when I arrive and makes coffee for us. Ruth phones to say she is sick and can’t manage in today. Quite a few people don’t come so we finish early. “The devil looks after his own,” says he! He takes me home and says that he might take me out to dinner on Monday. We have a jolly, inconsequential conversation – fun. I listen to his Great Voices at night.

28 April – Quiet Sunday. Go for a drive and listen to the villain of the piece – Leslie Green! I miss seeing my darling Webster today.

29 April – Go to studio and Webster is there and makes us coffee. We get through the morning and have lunch together. He puts his feet up after lunch and goes to sleep and snores gently. His cheeks grow pink and looks very dear, sweet and vulnerable.

Anne sends me a postcard but hasn’t written to him so he is cross. One of the pupils asks what Anne is doing while she’s away and he says, “That’s what I’d like to know!” We have pupils in the afternoon and he tells me on the way home that he intends taking me out to lunch tomorrow. He had been thinking of going to the café opposite Show Service in Jeppe Street, but if there is enough time maybe we could go to Dawson’s Hotel instead. All is heaven.

Anne’s postcard to me from Kalk Bay.

30 April – Go to the studio. Webster is there already and then Lucille, Mrs Smith and Dudley. Dudley is the last pupil before lunch. Webster tells Dudley that he is blowing the family savings and taking me out to lunch. Dudley says wistfully, “And I have to go back to the office on an apple!”

Webster takes me to lunch at Dawson’s Hotel and we have a heavenly sophisticated time there. He and Anne stayed at Dawson’s for several months when they first arrived in Johannesburg. He is rather disappointed that I refuse a drink!

In the afternoon he goes to sleep for a while and then plays a tape of his religious songs for me and makes me cry – they are so beautiful. We have one last pupil and then he comes home to dinner with us. He has two drinks and is so sweet to me and my parents. He keeps Shandy on his knee and calls her, “my girlfriend.” He tells us lots of theatrical stories and is absolutely charming.

Shandy – “my girlfriend”!

My mother says, as he is leaving, “Thank you for looking after Jean,” and he gives me a fond glance and replies, “I think it’s Jean who’s looking after me.” He gives a short hoot of farewell as he drives over the Juno Street hill on his way home. What a heavenly day.

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES – FEBRUARY 1963

I phone Mum at lunchtime and she tells me that Webster phoned and wants me to help him in the studio for two weeks while Anne is away with Leslie Green in April. He wants me to play the piano for him! I am simply amazed and delighted at this unexpected surprise. Imagine seeing him every day for two weeks!

1 February – Work very hard at recording exam songs and pieces. Parents listen to them at night and my father is rude and hurtful about my singing – particularly Father of Heaven. I feel awful about it and cry for hours.

2 February – I go to Mrs S and do ear tests and then go to singing. I return Webster’s record and he gets the story of my father’s unkindness out of me. He tells me that his own parents were always horrible about his singing and he would never have become a singer had he listened to them. It is kind of him to compare himself to me and my poor efforts. Anne is furious about Dad’s unpleasantness and I nearly cry all over again, but don’t. She says that we’ll make a tape in the studio for him to hear. I sing, not too badly. He says I must bring the offending tape next week and let them hear it. He also says that he used to have a strong Birmingham accent but it never came over in his singing. I’m the opposite as far as Scots is concerned. I see Ruth afterwards and we see The Phantom of the Opera in the afternoon – very good.

3 February – I go to church in the morning and make arrangements with Betty for the Old Girls Reunion and My Fair Lady. Peter Marsden is most affable.

Ruth phones at night and tells me that Anne and Webster were terribly upset yesterday because my confidence had been so severely shaken and that I was so hurt. They kept saying, “Poor Jean,” and Webster said, “These damned relatives.” She says they felt awful about it and were very sorry for me, which was sweet of them and I appreciate their kindness.

4 February – I go into Mrs S’s studio to teach a child, Gail who doesn’t turn up! I come home on the bus with Gill McDade who has been doing her teaching prac. We talk theatre, which is fun.

5 February – Go to singing. Webster tells me he loved the shortbread. He has eaten some of it and still has some left. Says, “Bless you,” again and is sweet. They listen to my recording of Father of Heav’n and Anne asks me rather sharply who was playing my accompaniment. I tell her it was me. We record Father of Heav’n on my tape again and he sings it for me as it should be sung. It is so heavenly when he sings it that I want to cry. He says I must forget vowels and just think on singing the aria. Lunch in Ansteys with Mum. Dad has ‘flu when we return home – it has probably come on because of his unkindness!

6 February – I go into SS studio and work hard in the morning. I “get” Father of Heav’n! I phone Mum at lunchtime and she tells me that Webster phoned and wants me to help him in the studio for two weeks while Anne is away with Leslie Green in April. He wants me to play the piano for him! I am simply amazed and delighted at this unexpected surprise. Imagine seeing him every day for two weeks! I manage to survive ear tests with Elaine and Elsa and a lesson with Mrs Sullivan.

I come home and phone Anne who tells me that she’s got an offer to go away either on 20th or 27th April and Webster would like me to help him in the studio. I say I’d love to do it. She says we can talk about it all nearer the time, and thank you. I am thrilled to pieces. I wonder what Ruth will say.

7 February – Work hard, thinking intermittently of yesterday’s surprise with alternating delight and horror! Mum and I go to the lunch hour concert. Alfred Schenker plays the violin well.

8 February I work. Mum, Dad and I go to see Mrs P and I enjoy it just as much as I did the first time. Anne is charmingly bitchy; Webster is a honey, and Jane Fenn is sweet and amusing. I think Anne sees me in the audience but I don’t think he does – I shall know tomorrow. We have supper in the Galaxy.

9 February – Go to singing in the morning. I work with Webster and he tells me that the reason he can’t play the piano properly is his bifocals! He tells me about the music I’ll need to be able to play for the little time I’m going to help him. We do exercises and studies and when Anne appears I say how much my parents enjoyed the show. Webster says that he soaked George Moore in the second show last night. We work hard and all goes well. I see Ruth before I leave.

I go with Betty to the Old Girls Reunion at Quondam – Helena Tomes is there and Miss Mclarty talks about her trip to America. Webster’s Great Voices are good tonight – Owen Brannigan, Richard Tauber etc.

10 February – I go to church in the morning – Harvest Festival. Doreen asks me to take a class next Sunday.

I phone Ruth in afternoon after listening to Leslie Green. She says that Webster told her that Anne is going away with Leslie Green for two weeks and that I’m going to help him with accompanying! She says I must go and swim again soon – we talk for over an hour!

11 February – Work hard in the morning and go to the music library in afternoon to procure reams of music for sight reading purposes.

12 February – I go to singing. We do Ein Schwan and after the final attempt at it Webster says that it is good and I am a musician. Lucille has left a present, “To dear Uncle Boo and Aunt Anne.” – I ask you! I am made to sing in front of the mirror and halfway through I stop for some reason or other. He says, “God bless you, dear – you and Ruth should be put in a box together!” Have lunch and see Cape Fear with Mum.

13 February Work at SS studio in morning and then lunch in Rand Central. Have a lesson with Mrs S in the afternoon and work with Elaine. Talk to Gill V who is as morose as ever.

14 February – Work and lunch in Ansteys with Mum. Lunch hour concert with Bryden Thompson conducting, and Lionel Bowman as soloist is great. Edgar C, Anton H and Adelaide N are there to hear the concert. Come home and listen to Leslie Green.

15 February – Go to town with Mum and buy a lot of new clothes. Betty phones about My Fair Lady and Dad phones from Warmbaths. Webster phones later to say that Anne is sick so would I like to help him in the studio tomorrow. I say yes, for better or worse, and he says, “Don’t worry, dear. There’s nothing too difficult!” I only hope there isn’t and I can do it properly!

16 February – I go into studio to play for Webster who is very charming. My sight reading isn’t too bad. The first pupil sings Sylvia by Oley Speaks. I’m sure I’ll never forget that first song I played in the studio! One of Ruth’s songs has a difficult accompaniment but otherwise I manage fairly well. He makes me sing with Kath (on record) and we really work hard at it. Lottie (one of the pupils) says she heard me singing a few weeks ago and thought it was lovely! Lucille has an hour lesson and he makes a great fuss of her. He sings Only a Rose with her and puts his arm around her waist! This makes me feel quite jealous! He thanks me very much and says that my playing is well up to standard and I’ll do fine in April. His show of affection for Lucille dampens my good mood somewhat.

I go to the Empire to see My Fair Lady with Doreen and Betty in the afternoon and it is very good. Great Voices is very good too.

17 February I go to Sunday School and take the class. David D begs me to come again next week! Webster phones to ask me whether I will come tomorrow for three hours as Anne is still ill. I agree and he is very pleased.

Ruth phones and we discuss the happenings of yesterday. She says she adored her lesson yesterday and wishes I’d play for her all the time. She doesn’t quite know what to make of the Lucille episode. We don’t like it!

18 February – I go to the studio to play for Webster again and I get through everything fairly well. Margaret Linklater, a girl from the Orkneys is sweet. Her family run a bakery in Benoni. She tells me she’s scared of Webster. Mary Harrison from My Fair Lady has a lesson. She is an absolute scream and also sings a duet with him but there is no canoodling in that one! A tenor, John Steenkamp with a fabulous voice sings operatic arias and he thanks me very much for playing and says – rather condescendingly – that I did well.

19 February – Anne phones to ask me to come at 12.00. I do so. Lucille has a lesson before me and, despite her excellent voice is most unsuccessful! Anne says she’s not very bright musically. I sing Father of Heav’n and she says she thinks it might be a good idea for her to stay away from the studio for I have improved a lot with Webster! Webster makes me do Zion and Open thy Blue Eyes and they both go well. Anne thanks me very much for “holding the fort” while she was ill!

20 February – I work at SS studio all morning – I have to admit that it is rather a dull thud after the excitement of the past week. Have lunch in Ansteys. Mrs S saw Mrs P on Saturday and is non-committal about Anne and Webster! Unfortunately, Jane F has a broken arm and is playing Mrs Puffin wearing a plaster. Webster was trying to tell me this the other day but I didn’t quite follow what he was saying. I have an interesting piano lesson and then do more ear tests with Elaine.

21 February – There is a story in the paper about Diane Todd (who plays Eliza Doolittle) going off to the North Coast for a break. At least I know the inside story on that count. I go to town for the lunch hour concert only to find that it isn’t on this week. I feel rather disgruntled after the heaven of the past week.

23 February – I go to a ghastly performance day at Mrs Sullivan’s and to singing afterwards. They decide that I should sing Softly Awakes My Heart as a change from the exam setworks. I do this fairly well and they are pleased. I tell them about having my eyes tested and Webster says he’s not surprised because he thought I was straining them. I try on his glasses and he says that as he’s about 50 years older than me we can hardly compare our eyes with each other. Anne and he say they are simply sweating on the stage – especially him. I have a fabulous lesson and sing well. I see Ruth, sing in the SS choir and see Gypsy – a bit raucous. Listen to Webster’s Great Voices – it’s like having an old pal in the lounge – the pet!

24 February – Anne phones to ask if I should like to come at 12.00 on Tuesday and I say, “Yes, thank you.” Go to church and Gail asks me to act in another play. Mr R’s sermon is fairly good. Phone Ruth in the afternoon and she says she feels very depressed with singing and Anne and Webster. She says my singing sounded so good yesterday that she didn’t think it was me! I tell her that I’m going to sing soprano at the SABC tomorrow and she is pleased.

25 February – Work. I have my eyes tested and I am to have glasses! Go to SABC and sing soprano and have a lovely time with Ruth. Chris Lamprecht works us on the Creation and we get paid. Bryden Thompson looks in on us. At interval Ruth, Hester and I chat to one another!

26 February – I go to singing and Webster shows me all the decorations for the studio and he says that he worked yesterday wearing only underpants and overall! I sing fairly well apart from “er” vowels but Anne is in a bad mood today (Mrs Fordycey). She goes to the phone so Webster and I talk about the ear tests and Lincoln Cathedral. He is a darling and so sweet.

Ruth phones at night and we talk for an hour and cheer ourselves up!

28 February – I get my glasses today and look like a regular bluestocking. I have lunch with Mum in Ansteys and go to the concert. Bryden Thomson is simply fabulous and Philip Levy is good. I go to the library with Dad and listen to a play on the radio in which Michael Newell (who is in Mrs Puffin) acts.