Letter to a Sister : 50 -Will Todd

Thanks for your letter, I was so glad to hear that my nephew is like me (and I expect that he is delighted too.) I was a bit surprised to hear that you were eating sandwiches at the airport though. When I got home I checked how many scones were left in my freezer…….hmmm, hope you enjoyed them.

Have you had any good laughs lately? The funniest thing I saw recently was a friend’s post on Facebook. A lot of churches at Easter like to do feet washing (reminds them that Jesus taught us to be humble, serve others, etc. Has never appealed to me.) Anyway, one church decided to change it slightly, so decided to wash wellington boots instead. Unfortunately they got the sign wrong and advertised to do “Willie Washing”! Made me laugh for ages. There are a number of jokes that could be added to this, but Mum reads these letters, so I’ll hold back.

Do you remember listening to Dad play the piano at night while we were trying to go to sleep? – I could always tell what kind of day he’d had by what he chose to play! I love it now when I hear the kids playing the piano, it takes me right back.

Last week we went to cousin Will Todd’s music performance. He is quite well known now amongst people who like classical music (he composed the music for the Queen’s Jubilee, stuff like that.) Our children seem to have inherited something of the music gene, though it bypassed husband and me.

I have evidence of this in husband’s case, because we own a cassette recording from his childhood, when his talented cousins came to visit. They are all playing various instruments. Husband is playing the drum/biscuit tin. You hear the adults dutifully applause and say how good it was, then one tactfully wonders if “we could hear it again without the drums….?” Will is now an (almost famous) composer, husband is an accountant. Figures.

I didn’t really know Will until we were living in the US and he came to visit. We had just bought a clunky old piano for Daughter to have lessons on. Will arrived and started to play and the three children all crowded round him. They asked him to “play something happy/sad/princess music/tree music,” and Will dutifully modified his tune to whatever they called out, composing as he played. It was brilliant!

The recital in London was lovely. We started with champagne, so I was slightly worried that Husband might become talkative or (worse) fall asleep during the performance. But he behaved very well. Actually, falling asleep was unlikely because the seats were very hard. Uncomfortable seating is a feature of music concerts I feel. They tend to be held in over-crowded school halls or stuffy concert halls. Perhaps it’s done on purpose to stop reluctant fathers from having a sneaky snooze.

I do think that singing at that level must be the MOST scary job ever. They stand there, watched intently, and they have to just open their mouths and blast forth the correct note. Sometimes two of them started at once, no accompanying music, nowhere to hide if one of them was slightly off key. They weren’t, it was perfect, but I cannot imagine the pressure that they must be under. Such potential for big time embarrassment.

It must also be difficult to know what facial expression to adopt. The men tended to go for serious expressions, only their eye-brows really changing. The women tended to more ‘act’ the music, their whole posture reflecting what they were singing. Difficult to not over-do it I would imagine.

Being a conductor must also be a bit weird. Everyone watches your back. I must mention this to Will next time I see him – checking your face in the mirror is fairly unnecessary, much more important to ask someone to check that your collar is straight at the back. And that you have combed the back of your hair.

Not that I am ever likely to be asked to do either. I well remember that sad day when my daughter grew old enough to appreciate music and whispered, “Please don’t sing mummy.”

Take care,
Love, Anne x

PS. Some eggs hatched. The ‘early cracker’ actually took two days to hatch. The duckling then helped the next one out of the egg, lots of cheeping and pecking. So cute. They look much bigger than the eggs when they dry off and fluff up a bit.



They are folded up so tightly inside the egg, it takes them a while to straighten up.

IMG_4083They look a bit dead when they first emerge.

IMG_4089Two ducklings fluffed up after an hour and started running around.

IMG_4092 IMG_4096Two chicks hatched the following day.

I think the other eggs had died, so I waited a day and then threw them away.

You can read my sister’s letter at :



Thank you for reading.

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