There was a fifth blackbird there this morning. Stuff the crunch! I'm taking this as a very good omen. In fact, the garden is buzzing with birds- a bullfinch, a collared dove, a wren, two huge fat pinkish pigeons (two more pies), a crow, a magpie, a mistle thrush and assorted weeny flutterers that come and raid the seed-tube.
The Song Club did their stuff at the Festive Christmas Show down at the school this morning. What a pity it's closing down! Barbara, from the Hyde Foundation (who fund the songwriting project) and myself were mourning its demise to the Deputy Mayor who looked mildly embarrassed and kept trying to change the subject to recycling, as it's the Worshipful Mayor himself who is shutting the school down. I am glad I did not put any money in the collecting box he was rattling outside the shops last Saturday. Other charities can have it instead.
The school is right on the estate, and that means that vulnerable children have a little loving school on their doorstep and don't have to walk a mile to the big school, where they will disappear into the masses of children from all over the place. For children from difficult homes, or refugee children, that has been really important. There has always been a lovely air of calm and respect inside it's doors and I was very happy for my children to go there and rub shoulders with others from different countries and different backgrounds; many schools in this borough have an exclusive air to them that seems to be more about keeping the oiks out than education!
Anyway, the Song Club group were great, and even sang the harmony part perfectly. There have been 14 of them this time, a lot compared to other projects I've done there, and their choir teacher had to help out because one of my potential employees forgot all about it and didn't turn up, and the other pulled out after one session, saying she could not work on a winter festival song that did not mention Jesus. Next time, I have invited Martin to work on it, as he won't let me down; there is going to be one final Song Club at the school before it goes.
There's a picture of Dan Whitehouse (who used to do these projects) and myself on the wall, with another Mayor and a bunch of children dressed in newspaper outfits from our previous Rubbish Rockers project, and I have asked for it in the summer when the school gets demolished. I remember going to the recycling centre with the children on public transport in the freezing rain (the school was too poor at that time to have its own bus) soaked to the skin with sopping wet trousers and squidgy feet, looking at piles of old paint cans, shoes, printer cartridges... the recycling men lent us an array of gigantic broken coloured umbrellas that people had thrown away. We were a dripping, yelling, bedraggled and colourful tribe, following the earnest man in his fluorescent jacket all round the site, his infectious pride in his job lifting our collected spirits.
On the day we performed our song at assembly, two children refused to wear the newspaper jackets I'm made for them, until one child tried one on, and then suddenly I had to make one for everyone!
The man outside fixing a wall has a radio which is playing Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer; I am as excited as I used to get when I was little!