"The choir is going to rehearse tomorrow night at 7:30, do come and listen if you can."
Readers dear, if you are ever in Cornwall, and if someone says something like this to you, accept the invitation!
It was a Cornish Men's Choir, 80-strong. I was very interested in going, but how to get there? And at night? I had walked up there yesterday morning for church, but that wouldn't do, at night. I am learning, though, that in England if you want to get to somewhere, you can generally do it by bus. There is always a bus to somewhere.
So I found I could take the bus up, and a cab back. I included eating a bowl of homemade soup and bread at the pub across the road, and finished in good time for the rehearsal. (And, by the by, the soup was excellent. Tomato Basil!).
Expecting to hear good singing, I was bowled over by terrific singing! Stupendous singing! Absolutely eye-wateringly great, in fact. You should just hear those Cornish men burst into song at the direction of their worthy leader. It caused immediate chills.
Just before they began, an elder gentleman slipped into the pew behind mine and readied himself for the music. "It takes me 3 hours to get here, but I come whenever I can," he cheerfully intoned.
"Oh? Where do you travel from?" I asked.
While I didn't quite catch what he said (I'm not too good with the Cornish accent yet), I did hear him say that there are several train stops, then he comes the rest of the way by bus. "I have to catch the 8:30 bus back down the hill, though, so I don't get to watch the whole thing." He would not be getting home until about midnight, so this is a man of true dedication.
We two sat there and reveled in the music. They practically raised the roof!
"They are GOOD," I said to him.
"Oh? I wouldn't really know. I'm tone deaf," he said.
"Really?" I asked, astonished.
"Yes, I don't know one note from another. I just like the way it makes me feel."
At 8:20, he struggled to his feet and bid me goodbye. "Were they really good?" he asked me one last time.
"Oh yes, sir, they are splendid! Never heard better." He looked pleased, and then waved, and went out the door.
It was soon time for my taxi to come and carry me off down the hill as well. I reluctantly gathered my belongings, gave a quick wave to the man who had invited me, and went on out the door.
The great thing about travel is the people that you meet along the way. Who would have ever guessed yesterday that today I would be inside of a beautiful church, next to a kindly elder gentleman, surrounded by a Cornish Men's Choir who are singing out as if their life depended on it?
I may be able to tell one note from another, but I'm in absolute agreement with that kindly man: I just like the way it makes me feel.
See you along the way!